The Best Way to Clean a Concrete Basement Floor

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best way to clean concrete basement floor

If you’re new to having a basement, you may be confused about the best way to clean an indoor concrete floor.

Fortunately, it’s very easy – even if you haven’t sealed your concrete floors or if there’s no drain in your basement.

Here’s the best way to clean a concrete basement floor.

How to Clean a Concrete Basement Floor

To clean a concrete basement floor, start by sweeping with a broom and dustpan or a large dry mop. You can use a damp mop and gentle ph-neutral cleaner to wash the floor if you have sealed concrete. If you have unsealed concrete floors, use water very sparingly. Instead of mopping the entire floor, spot clean where needed and then dry the floor.

Top Tips for Cleaning Concrete Basement Floors

top tips for cleaning concrete basement floors

The best way to clean concrete basement floors is to sweep them regularly. This will keep them from building up a dusty layer. If you have sealed concrete basement floors, you can mop them with a gentle cleanser as needed.

However, if you have unsealed concrete floors, they are not waterproof. 

Unsealed concrete is porous and will absorb liquid. This is why you should avoid wet-mopping your unsealed concrete.

Here are a few other smart tips for cleaning a concrete basement floor:

Sweep with a Dry Mop

Dry mops are fantastic for concrete basement floors. They pick up dirt easily and are wide, so you can cover large areas with one sweep.

Sweep your basement floors at least every couple of weeks or as needed with a dry mop.

Use PH Neutral Cleaners

Since concrete is porous, it’s essential to use gentle cleaners when mopping it. Acidic cleaners can etch the concrete, causing discoloration and small divots.

One of the best mopping solutions for concrete floors is dish soap and water.

If you prefer store-bought cleaners, try Zep ph-neutral or Simple Green multipurpose cleaner.

Never Use Vinegar on Your Concrete Floor

There’s no denying it – vinegar is a great multi-use cleaner on most types of flooring. However, concrete is not one of them.

Vinegar is too acidic for concrete. On sealed concrete, it can eat through the topcoat; on unsealed concrete, it can cause divots and discoloration.

The only time you should use vinegar on concrete is if you’re trying to remove rust stains.

How to Clean a Concrete Basement Floor Before Painting

When you paint concrete floors, any dirt or imperfections that exist will show you through the paint.

So, the first thing you should do is fill in any cracks or imperfections. (If they don’t bother you, it’s not a big deal – just know that they will show through the paint.)

Afterward, you need to clean your floors thoroughly.

If your basement floors aren’t very dirty and you’ve never exposed them to grease or other harsh spills, simply sweep and mop with a gentle cleanser. Then, allow your floors to dry for at least 24 hours before you paint.

If your floors are filthy, clean them with a concrete degreaser appropriate for indoor use. Then allow the floors to dry before painting.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to clean a concrete basement floor

How do you clean concrete basement floors after a flood?

If your basement has flooded, the first thing you should do is remove any standing water. You can do this with a pump or wet/dry shop vac. After you’ve removed standing water, dry your concrete basement floors with towels.

Place dehumidifiers and fans in the basement to help everything dry quickly. 

What kind of cleaning machines can I use on a concrete floor?

There are many commercial-style floor buffers you can use to clean and polish your concrete before sealing. Polishing your concrete will make it look shiny.

There are also floor cleaning machines you can use on concrete. However, since most of these use water, they’re best for sealed concrete.

Does vinegar ruin concrete?

Yes, vinegar can ruin concrete. You should avoid using harsh cleaners like vinegar, bleach, and ammonia unless you’re spot treating a stain. Otherwise, they can eat through the topcoat and soak into the concrete, causing discoloration and damage.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the best way to clean concrete basement flooring, just keep it simple. All you need to do is sweep regularly and occasionally mop the floor with a gentle cleanser. A large dry mop makes the job quick and easy.

If you have unsealed concrete floors, you can skip the mopping and spot clean as needed.

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AUTHOR

Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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