how to clean and sanitize concrete

Because clean concrete floors result in safer environments, we’ve written this guide on how to clean polished concrete floors and how to sanitize and disinfect them where cleanliness is paramount.

Polished concrete floors, renowned for their durability and cost efficiency, have gained recognition for another significant benefit in recent years: easy sanitation. As research suggests, polished concrete’s smooth, hard surfaces are more straightforward to sanitize, harbor fewer germs, and may even contribute to improved air quality. 

4 Sanitation Benefits of Polished Concrete Floors

At Runyon Surface Prep, we understand the importance of proper maintenance to extend the life and appearance of these floors. Our commitment is to provide education and the necessary tools and equipment at every stage of the concrete polishing process. 

Let’s explore cleaning and maintaining polished concrete floors effectively, starting with the sanitation benefits.

1. Resistant to Dirt and Dust 

Polished concrete floors stand out for their ability not to trap dirt and dust like other flooring types such as vinyl, carpet, and tile. This characteristic is vital for maintaining a healthy environment, as accumulated dirt and dust can cause various health issues, including allergies and asthma attacks. 

Polished concrete’s seamless nature means no crevices for contaminants to hide, making it easier to spot and clean spills or contamination. This ease of cleaning is in stark contrast to other flooring types that require extensive vacuuming and still may not be completely free from grime.

2. Inhibitory to Bacterial Growth

A significant advantage of polished concrete is its resistance to bacterial growth. Traditional flooring options like carpets and tiles can harbor millions of bacteria due to their tendency to trap dirt and dust. 

In contrast, the incredibly smooth surface of polished concrete, devoid of cavities, does not allow bacteria to latch onto it. This level of cleanliness is especially appealing to institutions that prioritize sanitation to ensure a safe working environment for employees or students.

3. Prevents Mold Growth

The smooth, seamless surface of polished concrete makes it resistant to mold growth, an essential feature for areas prone to dampness or at risk of mold issues. Mold and mildew can start to develop with just a little moisture, leading to various health reactions in individuals. 

Polished concrete’s non-porous nature means it doesn’t provide a conducive environment for these fungi to grow, thus mitigating the risk of mold-related health concerns and the associated remediation costs.

4. Ease of Cleaning

One of the most significant advantages of polished concrete is its ease of cleaning and sanitizing. This characteristic is becoming increasingly important for businesses prioritizing safety and efficiency. Simple maintenance routines like daily dust mopping and regular wet mopping with pH-neutral cleansers keep these floors in top condition, free from grime. 

For larger areas, using an automatic floor scrubber equipped with non-abrasive brushes simplifies and speeds up the cleaning process.

Tools to Disinfect Concrete

Dust Mop 

The dust mop is vital in maintaining the appearance and integrity of polished concrete floors. Regular dust mopping, ideally with a microfiber pad, removes surface dirt and prevents potential damage caused by small particles rubbing against the floor. 

This simple daily routine is effective in various settings, from private residences to high-traffic areas like retail stores and corporate offices.

Wet Mop

In addition to daily dust mopping, wet mopping is crucial in maintaining polished concrete. Regular wet mopping with water helps remove more stubborn, built-up grime. 

For a deeper clean, use a cleaner at least once a week. Choose a neutral-pH cleaner without caustic components to ensure the floor’s longevity and appearance.

Automatic Floor Scrubber with Non-Abrasive Attachments

An automatic floor scrubber is an invaluable tool for cleaning large surface areas. These machines are ideal for every day and more intensive deep cleaning tasks. Use the appropriate brushes and pads for polished concrete to avoid damaging the floor. 

We generally recommend white pads or soft white nylon bristle maintenance brushes for these machines.

How to Clean Polished Concrete 

We said polished concrete floors are easy to clean—but you’ll still need the correct tools and a regular maintenance schedule to ensure the integrity and longevity of an installation. 

  • Check your floor for damage
  • Set a cleaning schedule
  • Sweep daily
  • Use the right products and tools

Damage to a polished concrete floor, whether due to poor maintenance or an accident, can compromise its sanitary nature, so investigate and address any signs of harm quickly.

As for a cleaning schedule, daily cleaning is a necessity. Even if the space doesn’t see traffic daily, dust and dirt will still accumulate and can act as an abrasive to a polished concrete floor. 

A quick daily sweep or dust mop with a microfiber cloth will keep these loose particles from damaging and dirtying your floor.

Products to Sanitize and Disinfect Polished Concrete

Selecting the right cleaner is critical. The RSP Revive Floor Cleaner, for example, is an excellent choice for daily cleaning and maintaining the sanitary condition of these floors. 

Suitable for both manual mopping and use with auto scrubbers, this pH-neutral cleaner is effective against heavy soil without damaging the concrete. 

Insider tip: The key is to prevent the cleaner from pooling on the surface to avoid uneven cleaning and potential damage.

How to Clean Coated Concrete Floors 

With the choice of disinfectant depending on the type of coating, cleaning coated concrete requires a slightly different approach. 

Unlike polished concrete floors, concrete coatings mechanically bond to the surface of the concrete on top of the surface to form a protective barrier against anything that could damage the flooring, like equipment traffic or spills.

For resin-based coatings, a gentle, neutral-pH cleaner is recommended for daily cleaning, avoiding products with phenol to prevent damage. 

On the other hand, acrylic coatings need cleaners free from harmful solvents like alcohol or concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Suitable cleaners include those based on hydrogen superoxide, formaldehyde, or hypochlorite. 

Using an auto scrubber with the right brushes for large areas ensures a thorough clean without harming the coating.

Maintaining Polished Concrete Floors 

A consistent cleaning routine is essential for polished concrete to preserve its cleanliness and integrity. Daily dust mopping with a microfiber cloth removes surface dirt and prevents abrasion. 

Weekly wet mopping with a product like the RSP Revive Floor Cleaner tackles built-up grime and maintains the floor’s hygienic condition. 

For larger installations, where a mop may be insufficient, an auto scrubber with non-abrasive brushes ensures thorough and efficient cleaning. These practices help maintain the floor’s polished look and ensure its longevity.