I love concrete cleaners because they mean you don't need to invest in a pressure washer — or worry about where you're going to (try and) store it. There are some seamless solutions that work with a pressure washer, but many can do the job without. You won't even need a hose. Yep, I took one for the team as some of these cleaners have been tried and tested by me ~you're welcome~. For anyone who has been putting off this job, you'll be pleasantly surprised to see just easy it is to perk up your patio with these concrete cleaners and how dramatic the results can be.
I have a patio at my apartment where my cute pug spends his days sniffing around. (and peeing on walls). During summer, it's where I spend my weekends, whether flipping burgers on my portable grill with good friends (and even better wine) or catching some vitamin D while working outside. So a concrete cleaner is necessary for keeping this outdoor space fresh. Some cost as little as $20 — which isn't too bad since they'll rejuvenate your space in minutes.
Once you've settled on a solution that suits your needs, prep yourself with tips and tricks on how else you can clean your patio and make it ready for the warmer months.
The 4 best concrete cleaners to buy this year
Why you can trust Real Homes
Note: Some of these concrete cleaners work instantly, and you'll see results once dry. However others take a few weeks — or sometimes even a month — to do their magic, so it's worth buying now in preparation for warmer weather.
The best concrete cleaner for removing mold
Size: 64 fl. oz.
Application: Dilute 1:5
+ Easy results
+ Biodegradable formula
+ Goes a long way
- Not instant
In my opinion, the best concrete cleaners are the ones that don't offer instant results. Instead, this one will work its magic and make a noticeable difference within a week or two. The solution will remove mold and lichen from your space. In testing, results were visible within one week and afterward, it managed to keep mold and lichen at bay for an impressively long time. It may have been slower than others, but it made the space look brighter and was simple to use. All you need to do is dilute it 1:5, pour it over your patio, and leave it to work. You will get better results if you're willing to scrub, but it's not necessary. Patience is a virtue and a clean patio is a must-have.
Real Homes rated: 4.5 out of 5
An easy-to-apply concrete cleaner
Size: 64 fl. oz.
Application: Spray and leave
+ Comes with the applicator
+ Easy to apply
+ Rapid results
- You'll need a lot for larger spaces
Reviewers love this one simply because of how easy it is to use, especially if you have a smaller outdoor space. If you want something you could do blindfolded (not recommended, but you know what I mean) then this is the stuff. It'll banish mold, algae, and moss, and it works to give fast results. It comes with a spray head attachment so that you can dispense the solution directly onto your patio. Then hose it off or chuck some water over it. Best of all? It won't harm the beautiful look of any shrubbery or plants you might have, so it's a win-win.
The best for use with a pressure washer
Size: 1 gallon
Application: Dilute 20:1
+ Can cover a huge space
+ Versatile solution
- Pressure washer required
- Needs to be diluted
This one does require a pressure washer, so if you don't have one or have no desire in getting one, then keep on scrolling. Otherwise, reviewers love how it can clean all of your surfaces at once — think wood, composite, vinyl, metal, fabric, plastic, wicker, concrete, stone, brick, and asphalt. It's safe to use around pets and wildlife. Though it's an extra step to dilute it, it's more cost-effective as you'll need less of it to cover a larger space.
Your go-to concrete cleaner for fast results
Size: 1 gallon
Application: Dilute 1:1
+ Safe around plants
+ Fast results
- Not for super dirty patios
- Larger spaces will need more than 1 bottle
- Needs to be diluted
This product really lives up to its name. It works fast, which is ideal if you have people coming over this weekend and cleaning the patio is still on your list. It requires pretty minimal effort to apply; all you need to do is spray it on, scrub down problem areas, and then hose it off (or chuck a bucket of water or five on it) for a lovely clean finish — no pressure washer required. It's best at making a difference when it comes to the appearance of mold, mildew, dirt, and grime. If your patio has been neglected for quite some time, then you might need something a little stronger.
5 things to consider when choosing a concrete cleaner
1. Think about safety — and when you're going to apply it
If you have kids or pets, it goes without saying that you will need a non-toxic concrete cleaner. Check the product information to see what the guidance is on using the product you've chosen near animals and people. Most are safe for use after several hours, but it can be easier said than done to keep pets away. Also, check and see how long it takes to dry.
2. How versatile is the solution?
Some concrete cleaners are not just for stone but can also be used to clean your patio furniture and other materials. For wood, you will want something that kills algae, which is prone to showing up on damp wood. Metal will need to be treated with a non-corrosive liquid. It's handy to buy an all-in-one solution if you have multiple surfaces to clean.
3. How does it need to be applied?
There are lots of ways to clean a patio and the one you choose will depend on how big your outdoor space is — and how hands-on you are prepared to be. Concrete cleaners have different levels of involvement, some you can pour over and leave to act (these are the easiest kind for sure). Others need a pressure washer or sometimes a scrub with a broom for the best results.
4. How much comes in a bottle?
You'll want to work out the amount of solution that comes in the bottle and compare it with the price to see if you're getting good value. In some cases, where dilution isn't needed, you might need to buy more than one bottle. Solutions you need to dilute will obviously be able to cover more space than those you pour straight onto your patio.
Do I need a pressure washer to use a concrete cleaner?
The majority of concrete cleaners can simply be applied and left to do their work (and any forecasted rain can rinse it off). The only situation where you might need a pressure washer is if the solution is strong and you don't like the smell lingering (or the idea of your pets walking over it). Otherwise, if there's a lot of algae build-up, it might be quicker to initially remove this with a pressure washer before using a solution. You can always do two applications of the cleaner for better results. Other than that, an application with a brush or stiff broom is enough for most situations.
Real Homes review process — how we test concrete cleaners
It's on our to-do list to test all of the concrete cleaners featured in this guide, but our team of writers and editors only have so many patios and balconies between us. While testing these solutions, we like to use them on an entire patio, which means that this testing process is slower than most. This means that currently, we've had hands-on experience with only one of these solutions, however, in our UK guide we've tested everything we recommend.
As we've mentioned, while some concrete cleaners work instantly, others can take months to work but they provide long-lasting results. As always, we update our buying guides with new products as soon as they've been reviewed — and once we've managed to come to a verdict.