How to Remove Stains From Concrete Like an Expert

Read time: 6 mins

Want to learn how to remove stains from concrete? The experts at COIT have the answers you need.

Concrete is no longer limited to outdoor use. The strength and durability of concrete have always made it the perfect surface for roads, sidewalks, and driveways, but those characteristics also prove useful inside the home. 

Concrete is now regularly used for indoor flooring and in some cases countertops, but many homeowners with indoor concrete surfaces don’t know how to properly care for it. Sure, you can power-wash a driveway or garage floor, but how do you care for indoor concrete finishes

Here’s how to give your concrete surfaces the attention and care they deserve:

Indoor Concrete Stain Removal

Indoor concrete surfaces typically require less maintenance than outdoor concrete because the surface of indoor cement is usually sealed. Stain removal for indoor concrete is needed less frequently since sealed surfaces are nonporous and therefore more resistant to staining.

The best way to keep your indoor concrete clean is to regularly dust, vacuum, and mop. This will help prevent any lasting damage from dirt or grit. 

You also have to be careful about what products you use to clean your sealed concrete. Harsh cleaners can break down the sealant or paint, which could lead to lasting stains. 

Check out the spot removal guide to combat tough stains or contact COIT for concrete cleaning services. 

Contact COIT for a professional cleaning!

Outdoor Concrete Stain Removal

Cleaning outdoor cement surfaces can be trickier because the stains often sit for longer periods of time and set in before they are cleaned. This is what makes outdoor concrete stain removal so difficult, often requiring the equipment and training of an expert COIT technician.

If you do attempt cleaning outdoor concrete yourself, the first step to removing any stain is to clean debris or dirt off of the surface. Once the surface is clean, you can then determine how to best clean the remainder of the stain.

Safety Precautions 

  • Always wear gloves and eye protection when handling cleaning chemicals.
  • Use a mask or respirator if using strong or fume-producing cleaners, especially in poorly ventilated areas.
  • Keep children and pets away from the area until cleaning is complete and the area is dry.


1. How to Remove Rust Stains from Concrete

Patio furniture, garden tools, and other metal objects will leave rust stains on a concrete patio or driveway. 

Here’s one cool trick to remove those ugly rust stains: unsweetened Kool-Aid


  1. Mix unsweetened Kool-Aid lemonade with hot water, or use vinegar.
  2. Apply the mixture to the rust stain and scrub with a brush.
  3. Rinse the area thoroughly with water.

2. How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete

If there is an oil or grease stain, you’ll have to treat the area carefully. Cleaning oil from cement is much more difficult than it is to remove oil from the carpet.

The main reason it can be difficult to remove old oil stains from concrete is that the surface is porous, but it can be done. The stains will need to be brought back to the surface in order to remove them.

3. How to Remove Motor Oil from Driveways

Motor oil from cars is a common stain found in most driveways. To remove the motor oil, cover the area with kitty litter or cornstarch and grind it in with your feet while wearing old shoes. 

Sweep up and rinse the area and repeat as many times as necessary. If this does not work, you can try spraying a generous amount of WD-40 or oven normal cleaner on the stain. Let the substance sit for 5-10 minutes and use a high-pressure hose to rinse it off.

For older grease stains, you might want to consult a professional cement cleaner like COIT.

4. How to Remove BBQ Grease from Concrete

To remove BBQ grease from your masonry, make a paste of powdered laundry detergent and water. 

Cover the stain with 1/4 inch of your paste mixture and securely tape plastic wrap on top. Leave for 24 hours, scrub, and rinse away.

5. Removing Stains from Leaves & Potted Plants

Scrub a mixture of dish soap and water onto the stain and rinse it off using the high-pressure setting on a garden hose with a nozzle. You can also use hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners instead of dish soap. 

Let it sit on the wet stain for about 10 minutes or so, then scrub in a circular motion until the stain is removed.

6. How to Remove Tire Marks from Concrete 

If you need to remove tire marks from your concrete, spray the area with a hose and then wipe with a degreaser. 

Leave the solution for several hours, and scrub it with a stiff brush to remove the stains. Rinse well and repeat if necessary.

Contact COIT for a professional cleaning!

Preventative Measures for Preventing Stains on Concrete

There are a few preventative measures you can take to avoid stains on your concrete surfaces:

  • Seal your concrete surfaces to make them more resistant to staining.
  • Clean spills immediately to prevent them from penetrating the surface.
  • Place mats or trays under plant pots to catch water and prevent rust and foliage stains.
  • Use drip pans or absorbent mats under vehicles to catch oil drips.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Stain Didn’t Come Out Completely

Reapply the cleaning solution, allowing it to sit longer before scrubbing.

Discoloration After Cleaning

This can occur with harsh chemicals. Test cleaners on a small, inconspicuous area first. If discoloration occurs, a concrete stain or paint may be needed to cover it.

Sealant Damage

Some chemicals can strip sealants from concrete, making it more susceptible to staining. If this happens, reseal the area after cleaning.


How often should I clean my concrete surfaces?

Regular cleaning every few months is recommended, but you may need to clean more often if the area is heavily used or exposed to staining materials.

Can I use bleach on my concrete?

Bleach can be effective for certain stains, like mold or mildew, but it should be used cautiously. Always dilute bleach and rinse the area well after cleaning.

What should I do if DIY cleaning doesn’t remove the stain?

For stubborn stains, it might be best to consult a professional. Sometimes, professional-grade equipment and chemicals are needed to remove deep-set stains.

Is power washing safe for all concrete surfaces?

Power washing is effective but can damage the surface if the pressure is too high or if it's used on weakened or damaged concrete. Always start with the lowest pressure setting.

How can I prevent tire marks on my driveway?

Regularly cleaning your driveway and applying a sealant can reduce the appearance of tire marks. Also, try to avoid turning the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary.



In some cases, over-the-counter cement cleaners can make a difference in removing stains from concrete, but this is definitely not a guarantee. The main reason concrete stains are so stubborn is due to how it can be difficult to bring set-in stains to the surface. 

Our Concrete Floor Care aggressively attacks tough stains by removing stains that are trapped deep within concrete floors. If normal cleaning and maintenance is not effective, we can help you handle the tougher stains.

Remember, whenever you find yourself feeling frustrated with a concrete stain, give your local COIT franchise a call for a free estimate! 1-800-367-2648

Contact COIT for a professional cleaning!

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