8 Best Concrete Cleaners (for Garage Floors and Driveways)

Concrete has a long history of use in garages, driveways, sidewalks, and even homes. Unfortunately, it also has some notoriety for holding onto stains no matter how much scrubbing you do.

The best concrete cleaner will help remove motor oil, grease, transmission fluid, and other unsightly messes with minimal work, leaving your concrete looking almost as clean as the day it was poured.

Our 8 Favorite Concrete Cleaners

 ProductSizeFormulaBest For
best-concrete-cleanerACT Concrete Cleaner2.5 lbDryOil/Grease
concrete-cleaner-reviewsGP66 Miracle Cleaner1 galLiquidAll Purpose
best-concrete-oil-stain-removerOil Eater1 galLiquidOil/Grease
concrete-degreaserEXIMO Concrete Cleaner3 lbsDryOil/Grease
cleaner-for-garage-floorChomp! Pull It Out32 ozLiquidOil/Grease
concrete-driveway-cleanerSimple Green Pro HD1 galLiquidAll Purpose
rust-remover-concreteRid O' Rust1 galLiquidRust
best-driveway-cleanerTerminator-HSD2 lbDryOil/Grease

Concrete Cleaner Reviews

#1 – ACT Microbial Concrete Cleaner

best-concrete-cleanerThe more we begin to understand the world around us, the more we find Mother Nature has already found solutions to our problems, such as the little microbes that make ACT the best concrete cleaner out there.

Safe around plants and animals, these little guys remove odors and literally eat the contaminates, leaving behind only water and carbon dioxide as waste products.

If you’re new to bioremediation (cleaning contaminants using microorganisms), it’s similar to how plants are being used to absorb radionuclides from Chernobyl’s surroundings.

The microbes work on almost any surface and against most stains and even mold and mildew. It’s incredibly easy to use. Just brush on with a push broom and walk away while nature does its thing. Repeat every two weeks as needed.

Skeptics of this product have been pleasantly surprised by its effectiveness. Consumers have used it to clean up even the oldest stains effectively with no scrubbing.

Requiring only a broom and some water, the higher price tag has been almost universally deemed worth spending. The lid is even designed to make shaking out the product easy without the risk of spilling.

Whether you need to clean motor oil off your driveway, garage floor, patio, parking garage, or apartment parking lot, ACT concrete cleaner is easy to use and just plain works.

Just about all of the complaints revolving around this product are down to unrealistic expectations. You’re working with living critters here, so it takes little time for them to eat all the contaminates. In addition, you may need to reapply every two weeks until particularly nasty stains are gone. For an all-natural remedy, it’s worth the wait.

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#2 – GP66 Miracle Cleaner

concrete-cleaner-reviewsSwitching gears to a more artificial but no less eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner, GP66 (Green Power invented in 1966) meets OSHA, EPA, USDA, Department of Health and Human Hygiene, and even Aviation Administration standards.

Originally developed for industrial use, this water-based cleaner comes in a concentrate capable of making 64 spray bottles per gallon but for especially tough oil and grease stains, you can use it at full strength.

It works by breaking the surface tension of water, allowing the cleaner to penetrate stains that other cleaners can’t reach. Best of all, it’s so safe people even use it for their dishes and laundry!

The majority of people who buy this product are amazed at how well it works. Diluted bottles of GP66 find their way into the garage, kitchen, and bathroom pretty quick, making the high price tag a steal compared to the cost for all those cleaning products it replaces. It isn’t just a concrete floor cleaner, it’s an all-around cleaning solution!

This product doesn’t seem to work for everybody. A few users have reported issues with removing recent oil stains. Additionally, the fumes are strong with this one, so be sure to use your force powers and open a window if using indoors.

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#3 – Oil Eater Cleaner & Degreaser

best-concrete-oil-stain-removerAnother eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner, Oil Eater is USDA approved for non food surfaces. It safely dissolves grease and oil without the use of abrasives, acids, or other harsh chemicals. Just dilute as needed and take comfort in knowing this product is fully biodegradable.

Oil Eater works incredibly well on new spills, but also has shown great effect against older spills. The product is safe enough to use without worrying about killing plants, and does an increasingly good job the longer you let it soak in. Because you don’t have to let it sit for weeks, this is probably the best concrete driveway cleaner for rainier climates.

garage floor concrete before after

To use for surfaces other than concrete, simply dilute according to the chart on the bottle. Not only is it good for automotive fluid spills in the garage (for those lacking a good parking mat), it works well on carpet, bathroom tile, decks, machinery, and even as a laundry spot treatment among other uses.

It’s worth noting that Oil Eater concrete degreaser does take a little bit of elbow grease when getting rid of oil or grease. That said, there have been some indications that not all batches are equal from long-time users. As such, your mileage may vary when using this product. There’s enough product to treat even larger garage sizes.

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#4 – CAF Outdoor Cleaning EXIMO Concrete Cleaner

concrete-degreaserUnlike the other eco-friendly products we’ve covered so far, EXIMO is a waterless concrete cleaner. This microbial cleaner is safe around flora and fauna, working hard to break down hydrocarbons so you don’t have to.

Since this product works on the microscopic level similar to the ACT cleaner above, it gets much deeper than chemical cleaners, given a bit of time.

As with the other bioremedial products on this list, consumers have found the only thing they need to eliminate stains is some patience. It works well against both new and old stains. Just sweep on and walk away, reapplying every few weeks as needed.

The single biggest complaint about this product is actually the size. While working almost on par with ACT, you need a decent amount for heavier stains and may find yourself buying additional packages before a stain is taken care of.

While a 12 ounce package of EXIMO cleaner is available, we recommend going for the larger, three pound container. For commercial applications, a 36 pound tub of EXIMO is also available.

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#5 – Chomp! Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover

cleaner-for-garage-floorThis amazing oil and stain remover is perfect for your garage floor. The formula goes on wet and brushes away (like chalk dust) once dry, making cleanup a breeze. It contains no bleach or abrasives, pulling petroleum-based contaminants from concrete, brick, and other porous surfaces.

Simply cover the entire stain and allow the solution to dry (a few hours to a day, depending upon the humidity), then sweep the powdered remnants off to leave a stain-free floor.

Unless you’re expecting a total miracle, this product is sure to impress. Consumers have removed most or all dark petroleum-based stains with ease, significantly lightening even the toughest spots.

It also works really well on “dirty” stains where a petroleum product is mixed with another substance, although you may need to go back over with a different product to finish the stain off completely.

Unlike a lot of other products on this list, Pull It Out doesn’t work so well against non-petroleum-based stains, so you might need a second product to handle other substances.

Another complaint that arises on occasion is the appearance of “phantom stains” a while after the original stain was removed, leaving some consumers to wonder if some of the deeper stain is making its way towards the surface over time.

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#6 – Simple Green Pro HD Cleaner

concrete-driveway-cleanerSimple Green has been around for a while now, earning a pretty good reputation for its eco-friendly products. This professional-grade multi-purpose cleaner is safe on a variety of surfaces, including painted and carpeted floors.

It’s an excellent cement cleaner, removing dust, transmission fluid, oil, and even rust stains! The 1-gallon bottle can be diluted to create up to 14 gallons of as-needed cleaning power although you can use it at full strength to cut through tougher stains.

For best results when cleaning concrete, follow it up with a pressure washer (or add the cleaner directly to the pressure washer or other cleaning equipment).

Being an all-purpose cleaner, it’s surprising how well this product works on concrete surfaces. It does an excellent job of removing stains and users often mop their garage floors with it regularly to keep the surface looking and smelling nice and clean.

Much of the disappointment in this product comes from it being labeled as a “heavy duty” cleaner. Many consumers have found it works more like a standard cleaner, lacking the power for some of the major tasks they’ve put it to. It is also known to leave behind a film of residue.

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#7 – American Hydro Systems Rid O’ Rust Stain Remover

rust-remover-concreteCapable of treating up to 400 square feet per gallon, this eco-friendly cleaner is safe for most painted and unpainted surfaces. As the name suggests, it excels at removing rust stains.

You simply spray it on and rinse once the stain is gone. The product is safe around plants, so it works great on sidewalk stains and not just in the garage or on the driveway.

For a product aimed primarily at rust, consumers have noted quite a lot of success against stains both new and old. It works best on general rust discolorations, but can still have some decent effect on small, concentrated stains such as those left by nails.

Users have noted that it might take more than one application to completely remove tough stains, but the effects are obvious once the area’s dried. Rid O’Rust doesn’t always get rid of a stain on the first application, and some consumers have found themselves scrubbing at particularly nasty spots including those left by excess fertilizer landing on concrete.

See Also:  How to Remove Rust from Tools

As these complaints seem to be an exception and not the norm, it is quite clear that mileage may vary when using this product.

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#8 – Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner

best-driveway-cleanerThe last concrete cleaner on our list is far from the least. It’s far more concentrated than the competition, yet remains eco-friendly and 100 percent chemical free.

Simply apply to the stained concrete and mist occasionally with water to ensure it stays slightly damp. It works equally well in temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and will safely remove oil stains in just a few applications. Give it about a couple weeks to dissolve tougher stains.

The effects of this product become quite apparent after even the first use. Consumers note that it can completely remove stains in as little as two applications, which they applied about a week or two apart.

Keeping the product moist is important, although it will still work if it briefly dries out on a hot day. Users have also noted that it won’t blow away in a breeze after the first wetting, even if it dries out, giving you more control over when the product will be removed.

While all bioremedial products come with a mix of “worked” and “didn’t work” claims, this one seems plagued by a problem more sinister. Several consumers have received this product damaged, with the seal broken and signs that it had been previously used.

In some cases, the contents have spilled out of the bottle into the shipping package, wasting a lot of the product. When ordering online, please be aware of this issue and keep an eye on return policies before placing the order. Purchase from large, reputable online retailers to lessen the chance of this happening.

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Getting the Most from Your Concrete Cleaner

Just about all of the cleaners in this list follow a trend of bioremedial solutions. However, having the right type of cleaner for the job is more important than just trying to be eco-friendly. Read on to learn a bit more about concrete cleaners and their effects.

Types of Concrete Cleaners

Different kinds of cleaner have different effects, so knowing which one is best suited for your situation can go a long way to a successful stain removal. Understanding the five categories these cleaners tend to fall into will go a long way towards getting concrete-related spills and stains taken care of with the least amount of headache.

Acidic Cleaners

These cleaners work best against efflorescence but are also effective against many other types of dirt or stains. After using an acidic cleaner, it’s generally best to apply a good concrete sealer afterwards.

Alkaline Cleaners

When you need to remove oil stains, alkaline is the way to go. These not only break down the hydrocarbons in oil or grease, but can also restore the concrete’s naturally alkaline pH after using an acidic cleaner.

Bioremedial Cleaners

Using enzymes or bacteria to dissolve stains, these are by far the most eco-friendly cleaners out there. They take some time to do their magic, but are the best choice against pet urine and other tough to treat stains.

Combination Cleaners

Many products won’t fit into just one category, instead featuring a combination of two or more types of cleaner to create a more versatile mixture. These can be a little more difficult to find and are usually reserved for the toughest of concrete stains.

pH-Neutral Cleaners

These are the most basic cleaners, working best on indoor surfaces and unsealed concrete. They won’t work against major contaminants such as oil stains, but are a good choice for general cleaning applications.

How to Make Homemade Concrete Cleaner

The most basic type of concrete cleaner is good old baking soda and water, but did you know you can make a pretty decent concrete cleaner from other household ingredients? Here’s one of the more popular recipes:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup borax
  • 1 tbsp Dawn
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • 1 gallon water

Add the borax and washing soda to your bucket of water and mix. Next, add the Dawn and gently stir the mixture until everything is well-blended.

Using a mop for smooth surfaces or broom for rougher floors and driveways, spread the mixture and rinse. For tougher spots, try scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush and the cleaner first to loosen the stain.

Will Concrete Cleaner Kill Grass?

This is a tricky question, as it depends heavily upon whether you’re using a chemical or bioremedial cleaner. Note also that failing to follow the instructions can temporarily kill grass, no matter how plant-safe the product is.

Chemical cleaners are far more likely to harm grass and other ground cover, so be sure to always use a chemical cleaner away from plants unless the label marks them as plant-safe.

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