How to Clean Exposed Aggregate Concrete

To clean exposed aggregate concrete, start by sweeping away any loose debris and dirt. Then, use a pressure washer with a low-pressure nozzle to remove stains and discoloration from the surface.

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Preparing For Cleaning

Before you start cleaning exposed aggregate concrete, it’s important to properly prepare the area. This will ensure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment, as well as a clear space to work in. Additionally, performing a thorough inspection of the surface before you begin will help you identify any damages or stains that may require additional attention. Here are the steps to help you get started.

Gather The Necessary Tools And Materials

To clean exposed aggregate concrete effectively, you’ll need to gather a few essential tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

Tools Materials
  • Pressure washer
  • Durable scrub brush
  • Stiff bristle broom
  • Garden hose
  • Mild detergent
  • Clean water
  • Bucket
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Old towels or rags
  • Patching compound
  • Concrete sealer

Clear The Area Of Any Furniture Or Obstacles

Before you begin cleaning, make sure to remove any furniture, plants, or other obstacles from the area. This will ensure that you have enough space to work and that no items get in the way of the cleaning process. If you have any large or heavy objects that are difficult to move, consider covering them with a tarp or plastic sheet to protect them from debris or cleaning solutions.

Perform A Visual Inspection For Damages Or Stains

Take a close look at the exposed aggregate concrete surface to identify any damages or stains that may require special attention. Look for cracks, chips, or other signs of damage that may need to be repaired before cleaning. Additionally, identify any stubborn stains, such as oil spills or rust marks, that may require a more intensive cleaning method or specific cleaning products.

Check For Any Loose Or Damaged Aggregate

Inspect the surface for any loose or damaged aggregate stones. Gently tap on the surface with a rubber mallet or broom handle to check for any loose stones that may need to be repositioned or replaced. If you notice any significant gaps or holes caused by missing aggregate, you may need to apply a patching compound to restore the surface’s uniformity.

Choosing The Right Cleaning Method

Cleaning exposed aggregate concrete can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t use the right method. Different concrete surfaces require different approaches, depending on factors such as dirtiness, stains, and the condition of the concrete.

Consider The Level Of Dirtiness And Stains

Assessing the level of dirtiness and stains on your exposed aggregate concrete is the first step in determining the right cleaning method. Is the surface lightly soiled or heavily covered in grime? Are there stubborn stains that need special attention?

If the dirtiness is light or moderate, a gentle cleaning approach may be sufficient. Gentle methods, such as soap and water solution or a mild detergent, can effectively remove surface dirt and grime. However, for more stubborn stains or heavily soiled concrete, a more aggressive cleaning method might be required.

Assess The Type And Size Of Aggregate

The type and size of aggregate used in your exposed concrete can also play a role in choosing the appropriate cleaning method. Large aggregates, such as pebbles or crushed stones, can be more resistant to certain cleaning techniques than smaller aggregates, such as sand.

If you have small aggregates, you can opt for a gentle cleaning method without worrying about causing any damage. Whereas, if your concrete surface has large aggregates, you might need to consider a more aggressive approach to effectively clean between the stones without compromising the structural integrity.

Evaluate The Condition Of The Concrete Surface

The condition of the concrete surface is another crucial factor when selecting the right cleaning method. Is the surface intact with no visible cracks or damage? Or does it show signs of wear and tear?

If your concrete surface is in good condition without any visible cracks or damage, a gentle cleaning method should be sufficient. However, if there are cracks or other signs of deterioration, you need to be cautious about the cleaning techniques you use. Aggressive cleaning methods can further damage the concrete, so it’s important to consult a professional to determine the best course of action.

Taking all these factors into consideration will help you determine whether a gentle or more aggressive cleaning approach is needed for your exposed aggregate concrete. Remember to always test the cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface to avoid any potential damage.

Tools And Techniques For Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning exposed aggregate concrete, having the right tools and techniques is essential. With the right approach, you can restore the natural beauty of your concrete surface and keep it looking fresh for years to come. In this section, we will explore the various tools and techniques that will help you achieve effective cleaning.

Using A Pressure Washer For Effective Cleaning

A pressure washer is a powerful tool that can make quick work of cleaning exposed aggregate concrete. It uses high-pressure water to remove dirt, grime, and other contaminants from the surface. To effectively use a pressure washer, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by attaching a suitable spray nozzle to the pressure washer.
  2. Adjust the pressure settings according to the condition of the concrete. Be careful not to use excessive pressure, as it may damage the surface.
  3. Start from the highest point and work your way down, making sure to cover the entire area.
  4. Hold the nozzle at a consistent distance from the surface, usually around 12-18 inches.
  5. Move the nozzle back and forth in smooth, overlapping motions to ensure even cleaning.
  6. Pay special attention to areas with stubborn stains or dirt buildup.
  7. Allow the surface to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Applying A Cleaning Solution For Stubborn Stains

In some cases, a pressure washer may not be enough to completely remove stubborn stains from exposed aggregate concrete. This is where a cleaning solution comes in handy. You can use a commercially available concrete cleaner or make your own using household ingredients. Follow these steps to apply a cleaning solution:

  1. Mix the cleaning solution according to the instructions on the product label.
  2. Pour the solution onto the stained areas, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  3. Allow the solution to penetrate the stains for a few minutes.
  4. Scrub the stains using a stiff brush.
  5. Rinse the surface thoroughly with a pressure washer to remove the cleaning solution.

Using A Surface Cleaner Attachment For Even Cleaning

A surface cleaner attachment is a useful tool that attaches to your pressure washer and provides even cleaning across the entire surface of exposed aggregate concrete. Here’s how to use a surface cleaner attachment:

  1. Attach the surface cleaner to the pressure washer wand.
  2. Adjust the pressure settings according to the condition of the concrete.
  3. Start from one end of the surface and move in a straight line, overlapping each pass.
  4. Continue this process until you have covered the entire area.
  5. Pay extra attention to areas with heavy dirt or stains.
  6. Allow the surface to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Scrubbing The Concrete With A Stiff Brush

In some instances, manual scrubbing may be required to remove tough stains or dirt. A stiff brush can be used to effectively scrub the surface of exposed aggregate concrete. Follow these steps for manual scrubbing:

  1. Dampen the concrete surface with water.
  2. Apply a mild cleaning solution to the stained areas.
  3. Using a stiff brush, scrub the stains in a circular motion.
  4. Rinse the surface thoroughly with water to remove the cleaning solution.
  5. Allow the surface to dry completely before applying any sealants or coatings.

By following these tools and techniques for cleaning exposed aggregate concrete, you can keep your outdoor spaces looking fresh and vibrant. Remember to always prioritize safety by wearing protective gear and following the manufacturer’s instructions for any tools or cleaning solutions you use.

Cleaning And Maintaining The Concrete

Proper cleaning and maintenance of exposed aggregate concrete is crucial for its longevity and aesthetic appeal. Regular cleaning not only keeps the surface looking clean and fresh but also prevents the buildup of dirt, stains, and grime. In this section, we will explore the necessary steps to clean and maintain exposed aggregate concrete effectively.

Applying The Cleaning Solution Properly

When it comes to cleaning exposed aggregate concrete, applying the right cleaning solution is essential. First, carefully examine the surface to identify any stains or areas that require special attention. For general cleaning purposes, a mixture of water and mild detergent can be used. However, for tougher stains and grime, you may need a more powerful cleaning solution.

Important: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any cleaning solutions you use.

Adopting The Right Pressure Washing Technique

Pressure washing is an effective method to clean exposed aggregate concrete. However, it is important to use the right technique to avoid damage to the surface. Start by adjusting the pressure washer to a low setting. Begin cleaning at a distance of about 12 to 18 inches from the surface, gradually moving closer if necessary.

Caution: Avoid using excessive pressure, as it can cause the aggregate to loosen and result in damage to the concrete.

Removing Stains Effectively With Targeted Methods

Stains can be a common issue with exposed aggregate concrete. Depending on the type of stain, different methods may be required for effective removal. Here are a few targeted stain removal techniques:

Stain Type Removal Technique
Oil or grease Apply a degreaser or absorbent material, like cat litter, to soak up the stain. Scrub gently with a brush and rinse thoroughly.
Rust Use a rust remover specifically designed for concrete. Follow the instructions and scrub the affected area with a brush. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
Organic stains Create a mixture of water and vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Apply it to the stain, let it sit for a while, and then scrub gently. Rinse thoroughly.

Rinsing And Drying The Concrete Thoroughly

After cleaning and removing stains, it is important to rinse the concrete surface thoroughly. Use a hose or pressure washer to ensure all cleaning solution residues are removed. Pay extra attention to areas with stubborn stains. Once rinsed, allow the concrete to air dry completely before using or applying any sealant or protective coatings.

Regular Maintenance Tips For Keeping The Concrete Clean

To ensure the longevity and cleanliness of exposed aggregate concrete, follow these regular maintenance tips:

  1. Sweep or use a leaf blower regularly to remove debris and dirt.
  2. Periodically rinse the surface with water to refresh its appearance.
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the concrete.
  4. Consider applying a sealant to protect the surface from stains and weather elements.
  5. Inspect the concrete for any cracks or damage and repair them promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Note: It is always best to consult with professionals or follow manufacturer’s guidelines for specific maintenance instructions relating to your exposed aggregate concrete.

Safety Measures And Tips

When it comes to cleaning exposed aggregate concrete, safety should always be the top priority. Taking necessary precautions and following these safety measures will help ensure a successful and accident-free cleaning process. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Wearing Appropriate Protective Gear

Before you begin cleaning your exposed aggregate concrete, it is crucial to wear the right protective gear to safeguard yourself against any potential hazards. This includes:

  • Heavy-duty gloves: Protect your hands from harmful chemicals and sharp objects.
  • Safety goggles: Shield your eyes from flying debris and splashes of cleaning solutions.
  • Protective clothing: Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes to avoid skin exposure and injuries.
  • Respiratory mask: Prevent inhalation of dust and fumes while working.

Avoiding The Use Of Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals can not only be harmful to your health but can also damage the surface of your exposed aggregate concrete. It’s best to opt for mild and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions. Here are some alternatives:

  1. Baking soda: Create a paste using baking soda and water and gently scrub the surface to remove stains.
  2. Vinegar: Dilute vinegar with water and use it as a natural cleaner for general dirt and grime.
  3. Pressure washing: Utilize the power of water pressure to remove stubborn stains.

Preventing Damage To The Surrounding Areas

While cleaning exposed aggregate concrete, it’s essential to protect the surrounding areas to prevent any accidental damage. Consider the following precautions:

  • Cover nearby plants and vegetation: Use plastic sheets or tarps to shield plants and prevent chemicals or debris from reaching them.
  • Secure delicate objects: Move any delicate items, such as furniture or decorations, away from the cleaning area to avoid accidental damage.

Ensuring Proper Disposal Of Cleaning Waste

Once the cleaning is complete, it is crucial to dispose of any cleaning waste responsibly. Improper disposal can harm the environment and pose health risks. Remember the following tips:

  1. Do not pour cleaning agents down the drain: Instead, dispose of them in designated containers or follow local waste disposal guidelines.
  2. Collect debris and dispose of it properly: Use a dustpan and brush or a vacuum cleaner to gather any loose debris, and dispose of it appropriately.

Understanding Potential Risks And Precautions

Before undertaking any cleaning project, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and take appropriate precautions. Keep the following in mind:

  • Slick surfaces: Wet concrete can become slippery, so take caution to avoid any accidents while cleaning.
  • Electrical hazards: If you are using power tools or machinery, be mindful of electrical outlets and cords to prevent any injuries or damage.
  • Working at heights: If you need to clean higher surfaces, use proper equipment, such as ladders or scaffolding, to avoid falls.
How To Clean Exposed Aggregate Concrete


Frequently Asked Questions On How To Clean Exposed Aggregate Concrete

What Can I Use To Clean Aggregate Concrete?

To clean aggregate concrete, you can use a solution of water and mild detergent or a specialized concrete cleaner. Scrub the surface with a stiff brush or use a pressure washer. Rinse thoroughly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that can damage the concrete.

How Do You Clean And Reseal Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

To clean and reseal exposed aggregate concrete, start by sweeping away debris and dirt. Then, use a pressure washer to remove stains and grime. After the surface is dry, apply a concrete sealant with a roller or sprayer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Repeat this process every few years to maintain the appearance and durability of the concrete.

When Should You Wash Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

Wash exposed aggregate concrete when it becomes dirty or stained. Regular cleaning helps maintain its appearance and prevent damage. Use a pressure washer or scrub brush with a mild detergent and water to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that can damage the surface.

How Do You Make Exposed Aggregate Look Better?

To improve the appearance of exposed aggregate, consider using a sealer to enhance the colors and protect the surface. Regular cleaning and maintenance also help to keep it looking better for longer.


Maintaining clean exposed aggregate concrete is crucial to prolonging its lifespan and preserving its aesthetic appeal. By following the step-by-step cleaning process outlined in this blog post, you can effectively remove dirt, stains, and debris from your concrete surface. Remember to exercise caution when using cleaning products and tools, and always prioritize safety.

Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure that your exposed aggregate concrete remains in top condition for years to come.

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