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How To: Using Vinegar to Remove Water Stains From Concrete
Wednesday, April 17
Remember the lovely flower pot I talked about in this post? Before we moved in, it used to sit right by the front door, on the concrete walkway. However, after a few years of water and soil drainage, the concrete started to look like this:
So the pot was moved over to the side. But the damage was done.
I finally decided to try and tackle this ugly problem area. I Googled, and the first suggestion was to wash with dish soap and hot water. Didn't work. I tried it 3 different times. I even boiled the water to make it extra hot. But the stain had been set for too long - way too long. So I went with suggestion two: vinegar.
I poured the vinegar, let it sit for a few hours, then scrubbed it before I rinsed it off. At first, I didn't think it worked. And then I spotted something.
Do you see the TWO square stains on the left side? Well, after the scrubbing and rinsing and drying, there was only ONE square left. I was so excited! The vinegar was actually working! So I kept at it and did a few more rounds. And lo and behold, I'd say about 93% of that stain is now gone.
So if you have water stains that have been sitting around for a while and dish soap + hot water won't take it out, here's a play-by-play on how to use vinegar to treat it.
Step 1: Soak entire stain with vinegar. Let sit for 1-2 hours (I let it sit for 2 hours each time). Add extra vinegar if the sun begins to dry it out. You can lightly scrub it into the concrete if the stain is particularly bad.
Step 2: Add a little bit of water (preferably hot water) and scrub vigourously over the entire stain. Keep scrubbing - use some elbow grease and really dig into the concrete. I actually used a stiff-bristled pool brush. It was the best thing I could find. Totally worked like a charm.
Step 3: Use an outdoor sprayer hose to rinse off the vinegar. Scrub a little bit more for good measure.
Step 4: Let water dry. There may be some white spots where the vinegar wasn't scrubbed and/or rinsed off properly. Use a brush and some additional water to scrub it away. Rinse the area off and let dry again.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 until desired effect is achieved.
Here are my personal results with the vinegar:
Not too shabby, eh? I was pretty amazed at how well it worked. There are a few stubborn spots that haven't faded as much as I'd like, but it's so much better than where we started. The square spot where the planting pot sat is the most affected area; I doubt it will ever go away unless I use some hard stuff on it. But I do eventually want to move the pot back by the front door again. This time I think I'll use a cork mat or something that will hopefully help soak up most of the drainage. And obviously, not letting a stain sit for a few years will make the clean-up a lot easier if we do start to see some spots again.
So there you have it! Cleaning water/soil stains from concrete. Vinegar will, most likely, do the trick. But honestly, if your stain hasn't been there all that long, try liquid dish soap and some hot water first. It should work. On the flip side, if it's been there for a while (i.e. a few years or so), check out this article for some more powerful options.
And now I leave you with a closer, up-front shot of our flower pot. It just makes me so gosh darn happy to see those bright colors out there everyday.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 17 and is filed under cleaning,outdoors,spring cleaning,tips and tricks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.