Cleaning Stained Concrete Floors With Vinegar – 3 Easy Steps

cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar flagstone concrete patio Middle Class Dad

Many of us have stained concrete floors in our homes because they look amazing. But it’s not always clear how to clean them. Here are the steps on cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar:

To clean stained concrete floors with vinegar use a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and warm water. But you can use undiluted vinegar for tough stains or mix a little baking soda for mild cleaning and whitening. Just be aware undiluted vinegar can etch the concrete if not wiped up quickly.

When it comes to cleaning, it’s not always easy to know what to use. This is especially true of floors with a water-based sealer or waxed floors.

Many cleaning products are readily available on the market. However, many of them contain chemicals that will weaken the durability of concrete floors over time if used frequently or excessively.

This may also be harmful to the environment as well as to your family. Thus as concrete floors have risen in popularity, many have searched for a cost-effective and non-damaging solution.

Vinegar is found in almost every household. Its uses are many, including its ability to be used as a cleaning solution. Concrete floors look great when they’re first stained. But pets peeing on them can have them looking bad pretty quickly. You just have to train and stop your dog from urinating on it.

In this post, however, we’re exploring the little-known solution of cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar.

co-authored with Anthony Trinton, home expert and founder of the blog Equipment Area.

Can you use vinegar to clean concrete floors?

Yes. Vinegar makes a great cleaner for stained concrete floors. Because of its acidity, you should dilute it 50/50 with warm water to avoid damaging the floors. However, you can use small amounts of full-strength vinegar for touch stains, followed by a quick water rinse.

Vinegar is great on stained concrete due to it being non-toxic with no harmful fumes.

It’s also really good for getting up baked-on grease spills or any mold or mildew that may appear. Dilute it with warm water for better cleaning.

Then use a long-handled scrub brush to rub it into the concrete and let it sit for up to 10 minutes, depending on how dirty the floor was. Because of the acidic nature, don’t leave the vinegar on the floor longer than 10 minutes.

When you’re done, simply go back over the floor with a clean damp mop to remove any remaining vinegar. 

Don’t want to scrub? Civil Clean has compiled a list of the best floor scrubber machines, so just click the link to know more.

Does vinegar hurt concrete?

Full-strength vinegar should not be used on unsealed concrete due to staining concerns or on stained concrete as it can eat away at the sealer or wax used. For best results, dilute the vinegar 50/50 with warm water, apply with a scrub brush, allow to sit, and then clean up with warm water.

Having said that, for really tough stains on stained concrete, it can work to use full-strength vinegar. Just apply it directly to the stain, scrub, and then rinse with warm water.

For a milder cleaner, you can also use baking soda which naturally starts to neutralize the acid in the vinegar. But it also gives more of a scrubbing feel to the cleaning solution and can help whiten also.

So now, let’s get into the . . . 

3 Simple Steps to Clean Stained Concrete Floors with Vinegar

1. The Making of the Vinegar Cleaning Solution

There are 3 choices for cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar:

  1. Use undiluted vinegar for extra tough stains. This option is very strong, and it may affect the strength of the concrete over time. So this should be used sparingly and only for extremely dirty floors. Most importantly, do not leave the vinegar on the floor for more than five minutes.
  2. A 50-50 vinegar and warm water solution is the most commonly used mixture. This is for general cleaning and removal of coffee and other food and beverage stains. This is highly recommended as the water neutralizes the acidity.
  3. A vinegar & baking soda paste solution is best for mild cleaning. It’s also more environmentally-friendly as well. This solution is the weakest as it is the least acidic because baking soda neutralizes the acidity of the vinegar. The combination of the 2 ingredients causes the solution to bubble.

Vinegar has a strong smell. To help neutralize the smell, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the solution. That way, the concrete floor will have a pleasant smell. Transfer the contents to a spray bottle for easier application.

This 100% pure lavender essential oil (click to see current price on Amazon) is less than $10.00 on Amazon Prime and has over 9000 reviews and almost 5 stars, so you know this is a great product.

More importantly, it’s a great way to get those floors smelling great after cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar

cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar lavender essential oil Middle Class Dad

2. Preparing Your Concrete Floor for Cleaning

  1. Sweep the concrete floor thoroughly. Starting with a clean base is good.
  2. Make sure that pets, other people, and animals stay off the floor.
  3. Protect the plants in the room. Vinegar is a non-toxic killer for weeds and algae, but it can have the same effect on plants. Wet them with water to provide them with a protective layer. You can also use a plastic sheet to cover the plants.

3. Cleaning the Concrete Floor with Vinegar

  1. Mop the area with water. This will get it ready for cleaning. For outdoor projects, you can use buckets for water. Warm water helps the cleaning process. You may also use soapy water to rinse the concrete floor. While you can use a regular mop, a spin mop works even better!
  2. Apply the vinegar solution to the concrete floor. Make sure that the floor gets covered thoroughly.
  3. After covering the floor, scrub the area with a long-handled scrub brush (click to check current price on Amazon) to get rid of dirt and grime that was stuck on the concrete floor.
  4. After scrubbing, it is best to wait at least five to twenty minutes before rinsing, depending on the concentration of vinegar in the solution. That allows the concrete to absorb the cleaning solution so the vinegar can work best.
  5. Lastly, rinse the area by mopping with clean, warm water. Leaving the vinegar on the floor for too long can weaken the durability of concrete. Thus, it is best to remove it within 25 minutes max.  Mop multiple times if you still notice that strong vinegar smell.
  6. For any remaining stains, use undiluted vinegar on the stain and scrub them with the short stiff brush.

Lucy’s Distilled White Vinegar (click to see on Amazon) is under 12 bucks on Amazon Prime making it one of the best deals around on vinegar for your cleaning projects!

cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar Lucy's vinegar 1 gallon jug Middle Class Dad

Over time, vinegar has proven its usefulness and importance in the kitchen, the beauty industry, the laboratory, and of course, the everyday household. However, we should note that even if it is organic, we must still use it with care as it can erode surfaces.

Despite that, it does not cause long-term damage to the environment unlike commercial chemical cleaners do. It is non-toxic and edible, making it a safer option to use for homes with pets and small children that may accidentally ingest the cleaner.

Vinegar also aids in killing bacteria like E-coli. which can cause diarrhea and other intestinal illnesses. It is also relatively cheap compared to chemical cleaners on the market today.

Interesting in learning how to stain your own concrete floors?

One of the most popular posts on the Middle Class Dad site walks you through the exact steps on How to Stain Interior Concrete Floors (click to read my detailed article).

If you’re considering that and aren’t sure how easy it is, I highly recommend taking a moment to check that out.

Did we answer all your questions about cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar?

In this post, we looked at the amazingly simple way of cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar.

Many cleaning products can strip the wax you put on your floor. Many may also compromise the sealer that was put on after the stain.  Vinegar, an incredibly versatile product, makes a great all-natural way to keep your stained concrete floors looking great.

If you want a budget-friendly, natural, organic, non-toxic, and environment-friendly cleaning product for concrete floors, vinegar is undoubtedly the cleaner you need.

About the co-author of this post:

cleaning stained concrete floors with vinegar Anthony Trinton headshot Middle Class DadAnthony loves to improve his home surroundings with little home improvement projects from time to time.

He shares his tips and experience in managing garage, home, and improvements to your health at Equipment Area.

Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.

And if you are from the state of Georgia and interested to have your concrete stained by a professional, Concrete Contractor Atlanta is more than willing to serve you.”

Photo credits which require attribution: Stained Concrete Flagstone Porch- Creative Concrete Coatings- Clayton, NC by Decorative Concrete Kingdom is licensed by CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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