How to Clean & Shine Cement Floors

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While concrete floors are durable, the most durable kind is a polished one.
Image Credit: drewhadley/iStock/GettyImages

Concrete floors are a popular choice for modern industrial spaces, including residencies, restaurants, offices and loft spaces. They're durable, easily washable and contrast beautifully with several interior styles, from classical to modern. One of the benefits of concrete floors is that, unlike wood, laminate, vinyl and tile, they're easy to clean and polish. Concrete is also resistant to water damage, heat and humidity.

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Cement Floor Cleaner

While concrete floors are durable, the most durable kind is a polished one. A polished concrete floor requires only occasional maintenance versus a glazed or sealed floor, which would need to be sealed and resealed to prevent damage.

One of the most important parts of maintaining a concrete floor is keeping it free from the kind of grainy debris and dirt that can scratch its surface and remove its shiny luster. There's no need to buy a dedicated cement floor cleaner; however, there are such products available at hardware stores should you choose to use one. Instead, you can clean and shine your concrete floor with products you have at home.

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The one exception might be for removing stains from a concrete floor. The best way to clean stained concrete floors is by identifying the source of the stain. For most stains, there are commercial products that can be used. If you're resistant to using commercial floor cleaners, you can try bleach or ammonia, but be careful never to mix the two cleaning agents as it can cause toxic fumes.

Cleaning Concrete Floors

Cleaning the stain from a concrete floor with a natural remedy is also an option. Many people have successfully removed stains from concrete by applying a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and leaving it overnight. The baking soda paste should lift the stain and absorb it. The next day, remove the paste with a plastic scraper, taking care not to press the stain back into the concrete.

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Once you've removed all the stains from the floor, you can begin to thoroughly clean it. The best way to clean a concrete floor is through a sequence of steps. Doing this will ensure that your floor stays clean and the polish remains visible. Begin by sweeping the floor with a soft-bristle broom to clear off any dirt, debris and dust.

After you've cleared any debris from the floor, wipe the floors with a microfiber cloth. This will capture any loose hair, dust particles or other dirt that the broom may have missed. Finally, mop the floors with a neutral-ph cleanser, a concrete floor cleaner that can be found at home improvement stores like Home Depot or a few drops of mild dish detergent diluted with warm water. Be careful not to saturate the floors as this can lead to standing water and mildew. Instead, mop with a damp mop and allow to dry naturally.

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Concrete Floor Cleaner Machine

Beyond cleaning the concrete floors, you'll likely want to polish them. Polished concrete has an attractive glow without being very shiny, and polishing the concrete is a process that you only need to undertake once every two years. You can do it yourself with a buffing agent and a microfiber cloth, but it's much easier to do with a concrete floor cleaner machine or a concrete polisher.

You can rent concrete polishers or you can outsource the job to a contractor who works with concrete. Either way, the process is relatively simple. First, all the cracks in the concrete need to be filled in with epoxy or another kind of caulk that will expand and fill the holes.

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Once this is done, polish the floor with either a sander or a grinder with a very coarse abrasive. Repeat the grinding and sanding process with a finer grit of abrasive and then with a very fine grit abrasive. Once you've finished polishing, apply a floor polish solution to the surface and let it set.

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Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.