2024’s Best Concrete Cleaners for Removing Dirt and Stains

Don’t put up with a cruddy driveway or a moldy foundation when one of these quality cleaners may be able to get it looking like new.

Best Overall

Bottle of Zep Floor Cleaner on a white background

Zep Neutral pH Floor Cleaner Concentrate

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Best Bang for the Buck

Sunnyside Trisodium Phosphate All Purpose Cleaner

Sunnyside Trisodium Phosphate All Purpose Cleaner

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Best Eco-Friendly

Container of ACT Concrete Cleaner

ACT Concrete Cleaner

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Concrete is porous and tends to soak up substances like oil, mold, mildew, and grease, and once they penetrate deep into the surface, they’re especially difficult to dislodge without a concrete cleaner. Choosing the right concrete cleaning method is key—as is using the right cleaner for the job. 

The best concrete cleaners, both liquid and dry, attack stains deep below the surface. However, the variety of materials that cause concrete stains requires matching the cleaner to the type of stain. Read on for some of the best concrete cleaners that we thoroughly researched and/or tested as well as some considerations to keep in mind as you shop.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Zep Neutral pH Floor Cleaner Concentrate
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sunnyside Trisodium Phosphate All Purpose Cleaner
  3. BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: ACT Concrete Cleaner
  4. BEST FOR PRESSURE WASHING: Simple Green Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Cleaner
  5. BEST WATERLESS: CAF Outdoor Cleaning Eximo Waterless Concrete Cleaner
  6. BEST DEGREASER: Oil Eater Cleaner & Degreaser
  7. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: RMR-86 Pro Instant Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover
  8. BEST FOR MOLD: Wet & Forget Moss, Mold, Mildew & Algae Stain Remover
  9. MOST VERSATILE: Aunt Fannie’s Vinegar Floor Cleaner
Best Concrete Cleaner
Photo: iStockphoto.com

How We Chose the Best Concrete Cleaners 

We researched and/or tested the most sought-after concrete cleaners in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by the type of stains they can resolve, cleaner type, compatibility with multiple surfaces, form, working time, and other special features included by top brands.

To satisfy a range of preferences, we included liquid and dry options that have pH neutral, alkaline, peroxide, microbe, sodium hypochlorite, and water-based formulas to tackle a variety of stains and surfaces. Though each cleaner is formulated for specific stains, many of these concrete floor cleaners work on oil, dirt, mold, mildew, grime, moss, algae, and grease stains immediately or within a few weeks. 

While these cleaners are more than capable of cleaning concrete, many are also capable of being used on stone, wood, composite, metals, brick, fabric, and many more. For added convenience, some of these cleaners do not need to be scrubbed to work effectively, while others may require a power washer, sponge, or mop. Finally, some of these top products are recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice Program certified.

Our Top Picks

Before contacting garage cleaning services, take a look at the concrete cleaning products listed below. These are considered among the most effective cleaners to combat the toughest stains, including oil stains on the driveway, garage floor paint, and foundation mildew. Each of our tested or thoroughly researched concrete cleaners comes with a vetted list of pros and cons as well as a summary of its most notable features. 

Best Overall

Zep Neutral pH Floor Cleaner Concentrate

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Product Specs 

  • Compatible stains: Unlisted 
  • Cleaner type: pH neutral cleaner 
  • Liquid/dry: Liquid 
  • Working time: Immediate

Pros

  • Neutral pH formula is able to maintain a floor’s natural luster without stripping any finish or coating 
  • 1 gallon of formula can make over 128 gallons of cleaning solution 
  • Versatile construction is suitable for concrete, marble, granite, vinyl, and stone 
  • No rinsing is required after application with a microfiber mop 

Cons

  • Recommended for use with a microfiber mop only; may not be suitable for floor-cleaning machines
  • Restores shine; may not be suitable for very stubborn stains 
  • Not suitable for use on wood or unsealed concrete floors 

Zep Neutral pH floor cleaner concentrate is a great choice for sealed concrete floors as well as marble, granite, vinyl, and stone (do not use it on wood floors). The neutral pH formula helps maintain the floor’s polish without stripping the protective coat. It cleans and restores shine without rinsing. 

This concentrated formula makes up to 128 gallons of cleaning solution, saving on storage space. Zep recommends using a microfiber mop with this product instead of a traditional string mop for improved maneuverability and more efficient cleaning without leaving a residue. 

Get the Zep concrete cleaner at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Bang for the Buck

Sunnyside Trisodium Phosphate All Purpose Cleaner

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Product Specs 

  • Compatible stains: Dirt, grease, mildew, and soap scum
  • Cleaner type: Alkaline 
  • Liquid/dry: Liquid 
  • Working time: Immediate 

Pros

  • Heavy-duty trisodium phosphate–based cleaner is suitable for tough stains
  • Can be used as a cleaner, degreaser, and paint remover; suitable for preparing concrete for painting 
  • 1 pound of product can create hundreds of gallons of cleaning solution 

Cons

  • Limited versatility compared to other products; safe for indoor concrete floors only 
  • Can cause irritation or burns if used incorrectly; gloves and protective gear should be worn when in use 

The active ingredient in Sunnyside TSP all-purpose cleaner is trisodium phosphate, a powerful alkaline cleaner, degreaser, and paint remover that is safe for concrete surfaces. It’s about one-third the cost of many other cleaners, yet effective at removing dirt, grease, mildew, and soap scum from a wide range of soiled surfaces. It’s also a solid choice to prep concrete surfaces for paint. 

Mix between ¼ and ½ cup of this powdered concentrate with a gallon of hot water for a powerful cleaning solution. TSP is best used for indoor cleaning of basement and garage areas, as the high phosphate content is problematic if it leaks into streams and other water sources. Use caution and protection when mixing and using this all-purpose cleaner, as TSP is highly alkaline and capable of causing severe skin irritation or burns.

Get the Sunnyside concrete cleaner at Amazon.

Best Eco-Friendly

ACT Concrete Cleaner

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Product Specs  

  • Compatible stains: Oil, grease, antifreeze, gum, animal waste, mold stains, and more 
  • Cleaner type: Enzyme  
  • Liquid/dry: Dry 
  • Working time: 3 to 4 weeks 

Pros

  • USDA-certified enzymatic formula is safe for homes with children and pets 
  • Removes bioremediate petroleum hydrocarbons and proteins to remove a wide variety of tough stains 
  • Works on concrete, pavers, wood, soil, plastic, and more 

Cons

  • Should not be rinsed off after use; cannot be used on outdoor surfaces before a potential rainfall 
  • May take some elbow grease upon application 

ACT concrete cleaner effectively releases oil, antifreeze, gum, animal waste, mold, and grease stains from concrete, pavers, wood, soil, plastic, and other surfaces without scrubbing. It uses the same effective processes employed by the oil and gas industry and commercial warehouses to break down and bioremediate petroleum hydrocarbons as well as proteins (it does not remove paint). Stain materials are converted to water and carbon dioxide. 

Simply apply this USDA-certified dry cleaner to the stained surface, work it into the stain with a broom or scrub brush, and let it sit; you should see full results in three to four weeks. This product is environmentally friendly and safe for use around people, animals, and plants. 

Get the ACT concrete cleaner at Amazon, The Home Depot or Walmart.

Best For Pressure Washing

Simple Green Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Cleaner

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Product Specs 

  • Compatible stains: Dirt, grime, mold, mildew, moss, and algae stains
  • Cleaner type: Peroxide 
  • Liquid/dry: Liquid 
  • Working time: 3 to 5 minutes 

Pros

  • Biodegradable formula is recognized by the EPA’s Safer Choice Program 
  • Safe for wood, composite, vinyl, metal, fabric, plastic, wicker, stone, brick, and asphalt
  • Can be used in a pressure washer’s reservoir for heavy-duty cleaning projects 

Cons

  • Some users report a strong chemical smell while using 

Use Simple Green Oxy Solve outdoor cleaner before pressure-washing as a pretreatment to weaken the bond of stains to concrete, or use it in the pressure washer’s cleaning solution reservoir for one-step cleaning. This cleaner employs the power of peroxide to deep clean dirt, grime, mold, mildew, moss, and algae stains. 

This biodegradable concrete cleaner for pressure-washing meets the criteria of the EPA’s Safer Choice Program, and it’s safe for use around pets, landscape plants, and wildlife. It is suitable for concrete and other materials including wood, composite, vinyl, metal, fabric, plastic, wicker, stone, brick, and asphalt. Use it on driveways, foundations, siding, and more. 

Get the Simple Green concrete cleaner at Amazon.

Best Waterless

CAF Outdoor Cleaning Eximo Waterless Concrete Cleaner

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Product Specs  

  • Compatible stains: Gas, diesel, oil, grease, and petroleum-based materials
  • Cleaner type: Microbes 
  • Liquid/dry: Dry
  • Working time: 4 weeks 

Pros

  • Natural and eco-friendly formula restores luster and cleanliness to surfaces 
  • Can be used as either a wet or dry cleaner for excellent versatility; wet application takes very little time to work effectively 
  • Comes in multiple quantities depending on the size of the project
  • Suitable for residential and commercial use; perfect for garages and driveways 

Cons

  • May take some elbow grease to apply when dry
  • Takes some time to clean compared to other options 
  • Can only be used on concrete surfaces; not as versatile as similar options 

Eximo concrete cleaner uses microbes to break down hydrocarbon chains in oil to lift away concrete stains caused by gas, diesel, oil, grease, petroleum-based materials, and more. It is a powerful, eco-friendly, natural, waterless cleaner that is highly effective against stains but completely safe for surrounding landscape plants and grass as well as people and pets. It is suitable for wet or dry parking areas, sidewalks, concrete patios and stairs, pavers, and other similar surfaces. 

Apply by working the dry or wetted product into the stain with a broom, and leave it on the surface; no need to sweep it up or wash it off. Apply weekly for four weeks for complete stain removal. Living microbes in the cleaner follow stains and spills deep below the surface, consuming petroleum through tiny crevices in the concrete and even into the subsoil below.

Get the CAF concrete cleaner at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Degreaser

Oil Eater Cleaner & Degreaser

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Product Specs 

  • Compatible stains: Grease and oil 
  • Cleaner type: Water-based 
  • Liquid/dry: Liquid 
  • Working time: Immediate 

Pros

  • Biodegradable formula is USDA-approved for reliability and peace of mind
  • Appropriate for indoor and outdoor use; can be used in residential and commercial spaces 
  • Concentrated formula is suitable for light to heavy-duty grease and oil stains
  • Works as a light-, medium-, and heavy-duty concrete degreaser 

Cons

  • Some users report poor oil stain removal; may require more than 1 application to work effectively 

Oil Eater cleaner/degreaser is formulated to safely dissolve grease and oil on most surfaces. It is nonacidic, noncorrosive, nonhazardous, contains no abrasives or petroleum solvents, and is USDA-approved for nonfood surfaces. The water-based and biodegradable product is concentrated, so follow the dilution chart on the label to use it as a light, medium, or heavy-duty degreaser. 

In addition to removing oil stains and grease on concrete, it can be used on household floors, carpets, tubs and tile, grills, decks, stoves, boat hulls, tires, siding, asphalt, and many other surfaces. 
What our tester says: Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila product tester and writer, notes in The Best Deck Cleaners that “choosing an in-between ratio of 1:5, I mixed it up in a bucket and brushed it on my test board with a nylon-bristle brush. After a few minutes, I rinsed the board—both the mud and the grease stain was gone.”

Get the Oil Eater concrete cleaner at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Heavy-Duty

RMR-86 Pro Instant Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover

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Product Specs  

  • Compatible stains: Mold and mildew 
  • Cleaner type: Sodium hypochlorite 
  • Liquid/dry: Liquid 
  • Working time: Immediate 

Pros

  • Professional-grade cleaner is suitable for both residential and commercial garages 
  • Does not require any mixing or dilution before use; simply apply it straight out of the bottle 
  • Suitable for cleaning and removing mildew on concrete, wood, brick, plywood, and drywall surfaces 
  • Bleaching effect without any harmful or acidic ingredients 

Cons

  • This formula should not come in contact with metals 

RMR-86 Pro Instant mold and mildew stain remover is a fast-acting solution that utilizes deep penetrating surfactants with a unique blend of pure sodium hypochlorite to remove stubborn stains. Surfactants loosen the bond between the soil and the concrete’s surface, while the powerful bleaching properties of sodium hypochlorite kill mold and mildew on contact. 

This is a professional-grade cleaner that comes as a ready-to-use concrete stain remover and is powerful enough to dissolve mold and mildew stains in seconds without scrubbing. It is safe for use on concrete, wood, brick, plywood, drywall, and other areas where mold and mildew grow.

Get the RMR-86 concrete cleaner at Amazon, The Home Depot (2.5 gallons), or Walmart.

Best for Mold

Wet & Forget Moss, Mold, Mildew & Algae Stain Remover

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Product Specs 

  • Compatible stains: Moss, mold, mildew, and algae 
  • Cleaner type: Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride 
  • Liquid/dry:  Liquid 
  • Working time: 1 week to 12 months 

Pros

  • 1 gallon of product is able to produce enough cleaner for 2,250 square feet of space
  • Safe to use on a variety of surfaces including concrete, wood, canvas, vinyl, aluminum, and upholstery 
  • Does not contain any acidic ingredients like bleach 

Cons

  • Should not be applied to areas that are close to wildlife or water resources 
  • Avoid use when rainfall is expected within 4 to 5 hours 
  • Does not come with a spray bottle and must be diluted before use 

Basements, garages, and driveways are prone to being near moisture, which is a great place for mold and mildew to grow. For removing this pesky buildup, trust the Wet & Forget stain remover. This versatile and effective cleaner is safe to use on concrete, vinyl, wood, canvas, aluminum, and even upholstery. The brand states that green stains will take 1 to 2 weeks to clear up, black or stubborn stains take a few months, and long-settled stains may take 6 to 12 months to fade.

The 1-gallon jug can produce enough cleaner for over 2,250 square feet, and the formula is made without the use of bleach or other acidic ingredients. To use, simply dilute at a 1:5 ratio with clean water in a garden sprayer. Be advised that this should be applied at least 4 to 5 hours before any expected rainfall. 

What our tester says: Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila product tester and writer, notes in our tested guide, “I waited until a bright morning with no rain forecast and sprayed the foundation thoroughly with Wet & Forget, following the instructions to let the solution soak in for up to 5 hours. Later that afternoon I returned and found the previously mold-darkened areas to look light and powdery. I used a stiff dry brush to remove the powder, and the concrete blocks beneath looked clean, with no dark or stained areas. To be sure, I went back a few days later, after it had rained, and the foundation was still free of mold.”

Get the Wet & Forget concrete cleaner at Amazon, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or Walmart.

Most Versatile

Aunt Fannie’s Vinegar Floor Cleaner

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Product Specs 

  • Compatible stains: Dirt and grime 
  • Cleaner type: White vinegar 
  • Liquid/dry: Liquid 
  • Working time: Immediate 

Pros

  • Suitable for use on a variety of surfaces, including concrete, bamboo, tile, hardwood, and more 
  • Can be used with a mop and bucket, floor-cleaning machine, or with a spray bottle and brush
  • Hypoallergenic, commercial-grade, and EWG A-Rated for safety and peace of mind 

Cons

  • Not as heavy-duty as other comparable options on the market 

Aunt Fannie’s vinegar floor cleaner is one of the most versatile cleaners on the market, capable of cleaning concrete floors as well as hardwood, tile, bamboo, vinyl, laminate, stone, or linoleum. This 32-ounce bottle can create over 16 gallons of concrete cleaning solution and can be used with a mop and bucket, in a spray bottle, or in a floor-cleaning machine. 

This option comes in multiple sizes and scent options, which a lot of concrete cleaners do not provide. The hypoallergenic, commercial-grade, and EWG A-Rated cleaner is also made with plant-based ingredients like white vinegar, which makes it safe for homes with children and pets or areas that are close to wildlife. 

What our tester says: Katie Barton, a Bob Vila product tester, notes in The Best Kitchen Cleaners that “we filled our mop’s tank with the diluted solution and squirted just enough cleaner to damp mop our hardwoods. When finished, our floors were clean and streak-free. Since this product is kid-safe, we allowed our older kids to use it on their bathroom floors. In every instance—whether on hardwoods, ceramic tile, or linoleum—Aunt Fannie’s floor wash lifted dirt and dried without leaving a hazy residue.”

Get the Aunt Fannie’s concrete cleaner at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Concrete Cleaner

The Best Concrete Cleaners Option
Photo: istock.com

With many cleaners to choose from, you may wish to understand how they work to remove different types of stains on concrete. Read on to find out how stains are classified, which cleaners work on the different kinds of stains, and other useful tips that can help you choose the best concrete cleaner for your project.

Stain Type 

Biological stains are caused by living organisms such as mold, moss, and algae. They often appear as green streaks, film, or cushiony growth over a broad area on concrete surfaces that stay damp. This can be a recurring problem in humid areas, so it’s helpful to have a fast-acting, long-lasting solution. Home remedies like scrubbing with bleach or white vinegar are commonly recommended, but commercial cleaners do the job faster, more thoroughly, and can help prevent regrowth. 

Spills and leaks of hydrocarbons (petroleum products like motor oil), cleaners, paint, and solvents also cause unsightly concrete stains. These products penetrate the porous surface of the concrete causing discoloration, and in some cases chemical reactions that may physically degrade the concrete surface. 

Be sure to choose a cleaner that is recommended for use on the particular spilled product: Enzyme cleaners can neutralize many volatile compounds, eliminating their negative environmental impact, and absorbent cleaners pull the spilled product out of the worn or porous concrete

Ingredients 

In choosing an appropriate concrete cleaner, be aware that different cleaners act in different ways to banish stains, and they also react differently to the concrete surface. Cleaners may use pH neutral, alkaline, or acidic formulas to chemically lift stains. Concrete is made with lime, which is alkaline, so the surface must be neutralized after using acid cleaner. Enzyme and bacteria-based cleaners use biochemical reactions to digest or degrade chemical pollutants into inert substances.

  • pH neutral cleaners are often used to clean sealed concrete surfaces indoors without embedded dirt. pH neutral cleaners can also be used on unsealed concrete indoors or out, if the concrete needs only a mild cleaning.
  • Alkaline concrete cleaner is a powerful degreaser designed to remove burned oil, tar, soot, grease, and other petroleum-based stains.
  • Acid concrete cleaner is made with hydrochloric acid or phosphoric acid that reacts with the concrete surface. It is used to remove efflorescence, hard water stains, and other scaly mineral salt buildup.
  • Enzyme cleaners come in different formulations that attack, break down, and in some cases digest hydrocarbon, starch, or protein-based stains. These cleaners use genetically modified bacteria that feed on grease and oil.

Concentration and Form

Concrete cleaners come in either liquid or dry applications. Most liquid concrete cleaners are for biological or mineral stain removal. They are typically chemical-based cleaners, although some may be enzyme-based. Ready-to-use formulations are fast and convenient, while concentrates, which must be diluted with water before use, are often more economical. 

Dry concrete cleaners are made to separate hydrocarbon stains from the surface of the concrete and absorb liquids. Bacterial cleaners are applied dry. The microbes activate when they come into contact with hydrocarbons and then slowly consume the remnants of the stain until it is gone. 

Effectiveness 

Most of the concrete cleaners on the market are effective at cleaning grease, oil, dirt, grime, animal waste, and more either on application, with scrubbing, or even power-washing. While cleaning the surface is important, many cleaners are also capable of conducting deep-cleaning without damaging concrete by breaking down and dissolving dirt and grime deep within the surface. 

Cleaning Method

With such a variety of cleaning products, cleaning methods vary as well. Regardless of the product, be sure to read and follow all safety, application, cleanup, and disposal instructions.

  • Many of the concentrated liquid products are well suited for use as a pretreatment before pressure washing. You can use these products without a pressure washer, but serious scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush would be required for thorough cleaning, followed by a thorough rinse. After using an acid-based cleaner, it is necessary to neutralize the concrete surface with a wash solution of ½ cup of baking soda mixed with 1 quart of water, followed by a thorough rinse with clean water. 
  • Dry-product cleaning methods vary as well. Absorbent and enzyme cleaners typically get the job done within a few hours; afterward, they are swept up and reapplied if needed. Bacteria-based cleaners are meant to be left in place indefinitely, as it can take several weeks for the microbes to fully colonize the area. 

Working Time

Cleaning time could take as little as a minute or as long as several weeks. Biological stains like algae and mold are relatively easy to kill and clean, whereas cleaning deep-set hydrocarbon stains with an enzyme or bacterial cleaner can take a long time. The major difference in working time, as mentioned previously, is due to the way the product works. 

Chemical reactions such as the separation of grease from concrete by alkaline cleaners occur more quickly than bacterial digestion of petroleum. But the trade-off is that the fast-acting cleaner leaves petroleum pollutants intact, while the bacterial treatment converts the pollutant into water and carbon dioxide.

Safety

The environmental impact of concrete cleaning products varies based on the nature of the stain or spill being cleaned—and the product itself. Care should always be taken to remove and properly dispose of toxins, rather than dispersing them into the environment.

Pressure washing spreads debris from the concrete surface into the surrounding environment, so it is effective and safe for use on biological stains accompanied by eco-friendly cleaners. Potential environmental pollutants like oil or gas should ideally be remediated by enzyme or bacteria-based cleaners whenever possible.

While concrete cleaners are safe when stored and used properly, they pose inherent risks for skin contact, ingestion, inhalation, and other accidental exposure. Keep these products stored out of the reach of children and pets. Never store them in unmarked containers. Always heed the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, including the use of personal protective equipment, safe storage, and first aid in case of emergency. 

FAQs 

If you still want more information about concrete cleaners, read on for answers to several common questions about these products. 

Q. Can I use a concrete cleaner on all types of surfaces?


Certain concrete cleaners are made for a variety of surfaces and stains including bamboo, vinyl, tile, hardwood, linoleum, stone, and even upholstery. However, some of the options on the market are made for use on concrete surfaces only. Always read the instructions included on a product before applying it to certain surfaces.

Q. Are concrete cleaners harmful to pets?


Always keep children and pets away from the area while using concrete cleaner, and store the products out of their reach. Once cleaned, the area is immediately safe for normal use.

Q. What can I use to clean a concrete driveway?


Remove oil stains and other hydrocarbons with a bioremediation driveway cleaner. For tough algae or moss growth, spot clean with a contractor-grade hypochlorite-based cleaner. Use an acid concrete driveway cleaner to deep clean and remove efflorescence. For general cleaning of a dirty driveway, a pressure washing cleaner will do the trick.

Q. What do you spray on concrete before pressure washing?


The process of pressure washing is made easier and more efficient if the surface is pretreated with a concrete cleaner. Apply the cleaner at low pressure and allow it to stand for three to five minutes before pressure washing.

Q. What stops algae growing on concrete?


Frequent cleaning with an appropriate cleaner is the best way to prevent mold, mildew, and algae from growing on a concrete surface. One of the best options for fighting algae on concrete is the Wet & Forget concrete cleaner, which has a concentrated formula that slowly dissolves pesky mold and mildew over time while preventing any regrowth. Another way to prevent any mold and mildew growth is to use a concrete sealer.

Q. How often should I use a concrete cleaner?


Concrete cleaners should be used at least once a year to prevent deep stains from settling. However, garages, auto shops, or other commercial spaces with a lot of grease and oil could benefit from using a concrete cleaner once a week to keep all the old and new stains at bay.

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Mark Wolfe

Staff Writer

Mark Wolfe is a second-career freelance writer based in Georgia and has an extensive background in the horticulture industry. Since 2020, he has contributed numerous gardening and home improvement articles to BobVila.com, along with a variety of consumer product reviews.

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