What Does Baking Soda Do to a Concrete Patio?

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Concrete patios are an affordable and practical alternative to paving and with new coloring and stamping techniques, they can be more than just a boring gray surface.

Concrete is also very durable and able to withstand harsh weather, and with a little care, you can easily remove stains and marks, ensuring your patio remains in top condition for years to come. 

Baking soda is slightly abrasive and dissolves dirt and grease, making it ideal for cleaning rough surfaces such as concrete. A homemade solution containing baking soda and bleach will remove seasonal stains from a concrete patio and should be done once a year in Spring. For a more environmentally friendly approach, use a mixture of baking soda and distilled white vinegar.  

Is Baking Soda Safe to Use?

Yes, baking soda is a natural product that is ideal for cleaning many surfaces, including concrete.

It is environmentally friendly and when mixed with water will dissolve dirt and remove grease. 

How Often Do You Need to Clean a Concrete Patio?

If your patio is sealed, then once a year will be sufficient and prolong the life and appearance of the concrete.

Baking Soda and Bleach Paste
Cleaning process

It’s best to apply a cleaning solution in Spring, because Winter will have caused the most wear and tear (especially in zones with heavy snowfall). 

If you’re cleaning concrete around a BBQ or grill that has caused some oil stains, then it is recommended to clean at the end of Summer or early fall.

This will prevent oil from seeping into the concrete, making stains harder to remove in the Springtime. 

Sealed and Unsealed Concrete 

Depending on the sealant used, sealed concrete will be more resistant to stains and day-to-day wear and tear.

If your concrete surface is unsealed, it may take a bit more work to remove more stubborn stains and grease. 


Best Strategy: It is always best to clean concrete on a slightly overcast day with no rain in sight. This will ensure the cleaning products have time to work their magic and don’t evaporate too quickly. 


Preparing the Patio for Cleaning

Here is what you will need to prepare for cleaning your patio:

  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Spatula or mixing device
  • Plastic scraper
  • Soft bristle scrub brush (not metallic)
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Mask (recommended for people with respiratory issues)

Before you make the cleaning product, ensure the concrete area is swept and free of dust and debris.

You also need to use a plastic scraper (available from most hardware stores) to remove any stubborn dirt such as leaves, gum, or tree sap.

Ingredients Required for Baking Soda Cleaning Mix

There are a few different approaches to take when cleaning a patio with baking soda and they only require a few easy-to-source household ingredients. 

Preparation for cleaning concrete
Cleaning concrete

You can make a concrete cleaning paste using baking soda and bleach, or you can make a cleaning paste that is more environmentally friendly and better for spot cleaning of concrete surfaces.

What you’ll need and how to prepare the different cleaning mixtures. 

1. Baking Soda, Detergent, and Water

This cleaning solution is an excellent natural cleaner and allows for a gentle wash for concrete.

It is ideal for removing stains from leaves or plant debris, however, it may not remove tough stains such as grease without significant effort. 

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Water

Method:

  • In a large bucket, combine 1/2 a cup of baking soda with one gallon of water.
  • Slowly mix in 1/8 cup of liquid dish detergent and stir with a spatula.
  • Use a mop to apply the cleaning solution to the patio.
  • Use a soft-bristled scrubbing brush to lightly scrub any areas with more stubborn stains.
  • Use water to remove the cleaning solution and allow it to dry. 

2. Baking Soda and Bleach Paste

This powerful and easy-to-make cleaning agent works great on concrete and will remove stains from oil, leaves, and other debris that can accumulate on concrete surfaces.

Household bleach for cleaning concrete
Household bleach

Be careful when using this solution around plants as bleach is toxic to most plants. 

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Household bleach

Method:

  • In a large bucket, mix three parts baking soda with two parts bleach.
  • Mix the two ingredients carefully until you get a soup-like consistency. Always use rubber gloves and safety glasses.
  • Work the paste into any stained areas using a soft-bristle scrubbing brush.
  • Allow the cleaning solution to sit for 10-15 minutes and scrub again to remove the more stubborn stains.
  • Remove the cleaning solution with clean water and finally, mop the entire concrete area and allow it to dry. 

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar Paste

This is a natural cleaning mixture with ingredients you probably already have at home.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Paste
Vinegar paste

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar

Method:

  • Pour a small amount of the distilled white vinegar into a large bucket, slowly add baking soda and mix with a spatula. It will create some foam, so allow the foam to disperse and gently mix until you get a thick, paste-like consistency.
  • Add more baking soda to get the desired consistency. 
  • Cover any stains and give the affected area a light scrub with a soft-bristled scrubbing brush. Allow the mixture to sit for 15-30 minutes.
  • Finally, give the area a scrub again to remove any dirt or stains and remove the cleaning solution with water (a hose down works perfectly). 

The baking soda and vinegar mixture is more environmentally friendly and is safe to use around areas with plants.

Always use rubber gloves and eye protection when preparing and using the mixture as contact with the skin or eyes will cause irritation and discomfort. 

Summary

Baking soda is an excellent cleaner for any type of concrete surface, from unsealed patio surfaces to sealed concrete benchtops.

Baking soda is naturally abrasive and allows it to remove even the most stubborn stains from a concrete surface with little effort. 

Use a mixture of baking soda and water for a gentle wash, use baking soda and vinegar for a more powerful wash that’s also environmentally friendly.

For the most stubborn stains, use a baking soda and bleach cleaning solution to lift even grease stains from your concrete patio.

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