How do I remove stains on concrete?


Hey y’all! I’ve got a concrete patio by the pool. I stained it years ago with Sherwin Williams concrete stain (went on so easy and looks more like paint). Before I settled on a simple design, I did a checkered board look using painters tape. My husband hated it so I stained over it, not considering that the tape left a residue. We are getting ready to have a pergola built but I’d like to repaint my patio. Due to the fact that we had a metal framed pergola and table set, I’ve got rust spots all over and I have to patch the spots where the old pergola was anchored in the concrete. How can I remove or smooth out the stain so I can redo it? There are a few spots where the stain has peeled off too from where I had taped off. I really don’t want to restrain the entire patio since I’ve got a flower bed along one edge and have a deck coming off the back door on top of the area. The areas that have spots peeling off is too big to cover with a outdoor rug.

q concrete stain removal

Peeling from tape residue.

q concrete stain removal
q concrete stain removal

Rust staining from existing pergola.

  7 answers
  • Ajohnsonfamily Ajohnsonfamily on Apr 23, 2019

    Why don’t you blotch areas with a new darker concrete stain and give it a design! Or even buy a stencil and start your pattern from your problem areas! Keep in mind a color that closely resembles the rust color ( maybe)!

    • Tabitha Tabitha on Apr 23, 2019

      I’m assuming I would need to sand the areas where the stain has peeled? I have been thinking about painting a design to resemble a large rug to help mask the rust and peeled areas.

  • Ajohnsonfamily Ajohnsonfamily on Apr 23, 2019

    I would sand down around the chipping areas or take a scrappper and clean up loose ends! Then I would add new stain probably test a small area first see if stain takes! I think your idea would be very neat hope you post your project results for us to see....

  • K. Rupp K. Rupp on Apr 23, 2019

    Hi Tabitha, to start over I would get a pressure washer and try to take off the tape residue with that. If that doesn't do it, I would use a goo gone product to try to get the residue completely off. Or start with the goo gone. Then the pressure washer! If you are worried the goo gone will leave oil stains, maybe try a vinegar instead. Any peeling areas I would use the pressure washer to try to even the surface out. Check out my post

    In that post I did a (unpaid) review of 2 products to get stains out of concrete! Deep set stains in concrete are definitely hard to get out. I had oil stains though so rust stains may be easier to get out with that product that I used.

    We used a sherwin Williams brand to paint our patio too!! I loved that paint. I don't know if it is the same type you used but it hasn't peeled on us. I show what paint we used in this post: (it's probably the same though since you said Sherwin Williams)

    I hope one of these ideas will work for you. Good luck!

  • Raeann Raeann on Apr 23, 2019

    Try Simple Green. I used it on my concrete garage floor. Just pour in on and use a push broom to scrub it in. It was actually pretty easy!

  • Mary Mary on Apr 23, 2019

    use a pressure washer to clean the spots or use Orange Peel cleaner (DIY store has this) Concrete is not forgiving when it comes to stains. The stains can go deep below the surface. Hope this helps

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Apr 23, 2019

    I've used simple green to clean my painted driveway before repainting (forced to by the HOA lol!). I've also used Dawn dish soap. Try both and see which works for you. I pour stuff on and scrub with a stiff bristled house broom (I'm small). You could also try Barkeeper's Friend if either of those aren't effective. It works on rust but I've never tried it on concrete. (Try not to spray stuff into the flower bed but none of these things will kill off the plants).

    Careful with the pressure on the power washer. If it's too high with a tight stream you could keep removing more and more paint.

    I suggest you read up about painting concrete and do the watered down wash prior to anything. I wish I had known about that before painting the driveway - it may have saved me from the constant parts that lift in the heat.

  • William William on May 06, 2019

    WD-40. Did a leaky oil pan leave a big ugly spot in the middle of your concrete driveway? To get rid of an unsightly oil spot, just spray it with a generous amount of WD-40 and then hose it down with water.

    Soda (Coca Cola). Here’s how to remove oil stains from concrete drive-ways and garage floors: Gather up a small bag of cat litter, a few cans of cola, a stiff bristle broom, bucket, laundry detergent, bleach, eye protection, and rubber gloves. Cover the stain with a thin layer of cat litter and brush it in. Sweep up the litter and pour cola to cover the area. Work the cola in with a bristle broom, and leave the cola for about twenty minutes. Mix 1/4 cup laundry detergent with 1/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water and use it to mop up the mess.

    Oven Cleaner. Get those unsightly grease, oil, and transmission fluid stains off your concrete driveway or garage floor. Spray them with Easy Off No Fume Oven Cleaner in the BLUE can. Let it settle for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse it off with your garden hose at its highest pressure. Severe stains may require a second application.

    Kool-Aid. Nasty rust stains on your concrete? Mix unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid with hot water. Scrub and the rust stain should come right out.

    Baking Soda. Salt and commercial ice-melt formulations can stain — or actually eat away — the concrete around your house. For an effective, but completely innocuous, way to melt the ice on your steps and walkways during those cold winter months, try sprinkling them with generous amounts of baking soda. Add some sand for improved traction.

    Ammonia. Tired of those annoying discolorations on your concrete work? To get rid of them, scrub with 1 cup ammonia diluted in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Hose it down well when you’re done.

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