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Oct 25, 2021/Stone Care Guides

Tips for Removing Cement and Dirt from Natural Stone Floors

How to remove cement

Cement is very durable and has many uses. Unfortunately, the cement used to install new flooring or resurface an older one can sometimes be difficult to remove. The process can vary depending on the amount of cement you need to remove and the tools available to complete the job.

Cleaning Cement from Natural Stone Floors

If you are looking for ways to remove cement from your natural stone floor, follow these tips listed below: 

Water First Aid

One of the most effective ways for removing hardened cement is through water first-aid. All you need is some water and a brush by your side. 

Follow these steps:

  • Remove loose particles with a dry brush (this will keep bubbles down).
  • Wet brush and apply more water.
  • Let sit for approximately 5 minutes (this will allow the cement to soften).
  • Remove with a damp vacuum or squeegee (if you have one).

This process may need to be repeated. If so, re-wet the area and leave it for another five minutes before trying again. Water first aid is best used on small cement areas and works well to remove as much as possible before application.

Poultice Home Remedies

Another home remedy that works great for removing cement from natural stone floors is making a poultice paste. Using materials like flour, salt, vinegar, and even some gasoline mixed with hot water can help you remove cement from natural stone flooring.

However, it is essential to note that this method can damage the surface if not done carefully. Since poultices are made from so many different ingredients, it is best to test a small area first before using it on your entire floor.

Chemical Cleaners for Cement Removal

There are also chemicals available that will significantly assist in removing hardened cement from various surfaces. These types of cleaners come as liquids and powders and usually need only minimal mixing before being applied. One exceptional product is Disycott Concentrated Acid Agent.

After application onto a stone or concrete floor, you need to wait for about 15-30 minutes before rinsing with hot water and a stiff brush. Some chemical cleaners may cause damage when misused. Always make sure to read the warnings and precautions on the label.

Chemical cleaners can be a great help when removing cement from natural stone floors, but keep in mind that they may sometimes need repeated applications to take up all cement residue.

For larger areas of flooring or extremely tough surfaces, you might want to consider renting an industrial wet/dry vacuum when using chemical cleaners for cement removal. Just make sure to test any chemicals on a small area before applying them across your entire floor.

Step by Step Techniques

Removing cement and dirt from natural stone floors can be difficult, but there are ways to get the job done with the least amount of damage. Removing cement is more of a process than a one-time spray down.

It takes time and persistence to remove not just the cement but all of its residues off of your floor. Cleaning solutions may have some effect initially, but it's always best that you follow up with a good scrubbing agent by hand or machine if necessary.

Cement and dirt buildup on natural stone floors can cause several issues. When this occurs, it is time to remove the cement and dirt from your floor.

Cement and Dirt Removal:

  1. The first step in removing cement or dirt from stone floors is to use a grout sponge. You will want to make sure that you wet the surface prior before using the sponge. If possible, you should try and wet down the area with clean water.

If clean water is unavailable, you may need to use a little bit of vinegar mixed with water to wash away the buildup. After this process has been completed, you will want to remove any excess liquid used with a dry towel or rag.

  1. If the grout sponge did not remove all of the cement or dirt, you will need to use a floor scrub brush. You should find one that has soft bristles that are not too hard on your stone floors. Make sure that you get into all of the crevices when doing this process. 
  1. The next step in removing cement or dirt from stone floors is to use a damp rag or towel. This can be used with household soap and warm water to clean off any leftover residue left behind by the other cleaning agents. Be sure to squeeze out excess water so it does not take long for your floors to dry.
  1. If using the previous three steps, your floor still looks dirty or has a residue that won't seem to come off, you will need to use some floor stripper.

Warning: Some floor stains may be impossible to remove. Please test an inconspicuous part of the stone before using this method. 

To apply the stripper, you will want a bucket or bowl with a mixture of warm water and a little bit of household detergent. Apply the stripper in a circular motion and let it sit for about 15 minutes. After this period has passed, you can use a scrub brush to remove any remaining buildup from the floors.

  1. If your floors still look dull or have discolored areas after all these steps, you can use toothpaste with soda as a final cleaning agent.

Just apply the toothpaste to a damp rag, rub it on the floor of the discolored area and let this sit for about 5 minutes. After this period has passed, you can use a dry rag or towel to remove any remaining toothpaste residue.

Cement Removal:

  1. The first step in removing cement from floors is to use vinegar. You will want to have some warm water available as well so that you can clean up afterward.
Pour out some vinegar into a spray bottle, then dip your mop or sponge into it. Clean off any excess liquid with clean water. Be sure not to leave too much of either liquid on the floor because they could react together, creating an acid that could damage your stone floor.
  1. If vinegar is not working well enough, you will need to use a Floor Stripper.

Warning: Some floor stains may be impossible to remove. Please test an inconspicuous part of the stone before using this method. Follow all manufacturer precautions and cautions when using this product. It can cause skin irritation or damage certain surfaces if misused.

  1. If the cement buildup came from a concrete floor, you should use ammonia to clean up any excess moisture and residue left behind by previous cleaning methods. You will want to have some clean water nearby so that you can wash away any ammonia that might be left over after the cleaning process has been completed.
  1. For best results, you should clean cement floors using a wet vacuum. This will help eliminate any residue that may still be left behind after the other cleaning methods have been completed.

Getting Rid of Dirt:

  1. If dirt is stuck on your floor and you do not want to use any chemicals, we recommend using a mop. You can try out different types of mops until you find one that works best for your stone floor.  Just make sure that whatever method you use to clean it does not damage or scratch your floor in the process. Cleaning should take place every 1-2 months depending on how much traffic your floors usually receive. 
  1. If you decide to use some cleaner, we recommend using a damp rag or wet towel with a mixture of household soap and warm water. If you use a mop, you will want to dip it into the same mix and squeeze out any excess liquid before mopping. This will help to ensure that no extra residue is left behind after the cleaning process has been completed.
  1. An alternative to this step would be to use some soft scrubbing pads. These work well on many surfaces and can help remove dirt without scratching delicate stone floors in the process. Just make sure not to press too hard on the floor because these pads are abrasive enough that they could damage your stones if misused.
  1. For tougher dirt stains or to clean the stone floors in your home, you should try using a wet vacuum. This will help remove any dirt and debris without scratching or damaging your floor.

After trying out one of these home remedies, if you still have some hardened concrete left in cracks or corners in your stone floor, it is time to get serious about removing it with commercial-grade machines.

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