The DIY Designer: How to get your sidewalk sparkling clean


Authored By rainonatinroofblog

Since we purchased the beloved foreclosure over three years ago, there have been many improvements. We remodeled the kitchen, opened up the main living area, updated the bathrooms and more. We have finally started to work our way to the outside of the house. The screened-in porch got a very colorful makeover, the front porch has been painted, and I have finally tackled the disgusting sidewalk.

We hadn’t touched the sidewalk since we moved into the house. I’m pretty sure it also hadn’t been cleaned since, oh, maybe when the house was built.

In 1969.

“Dirty” and “gross” don’t even cover just how bad this sidewalk was. And really, I had no idea just how dirty it was until after it was cleaned.

I knew there were some stains and a strange funk growing on it, but I had no idea how it was really supposed to look.

Here’s how we cleaned this bad boy up.

What you need

  • Concrete/sidewalk cleaner (I used Thompson’s Oxy Foaming Action)
  • Tank sprayer
  • Large scrub brush with water hose attachment (I used my HomeRight Deck Washer)
  • Water hose

Step one
Give your sidewalk a light scrubbing with the scrub brush to remove any loose dirt or grass and loosen up any stuck-on dirt.

Step two
With the cleaner I used, you don’t want your sidewalk to be soaking wet, only lightly wet when you apply the cleaner. Let your sidewalk dry for a bit, and mix up your cleaner. The cleaner must be used within an hour of mixing it, so don’t mix it until right before you are ready to use it.

I filled up my tank sprayer with two gallons of hot water (hot water is recommended) and added in eight capfuls of the foaming cleaner. The directions say to use at least three capfuls per gallon, or four capfuls per gallon if you have a very dirty area.

As y’all well know, mine was ridiculously dirty.

Step three
Shake up your tank to dissolve all the cleaner crystals, and spray the cleaner onto your sidewalk.

Let the cleaner sit for five to 10 minutes, depending on how dirty your sidewalk is. I let mine sit for the full 10 minutes.

Step four
After the allotted time, give the area you sprayed a good scrubbing with just the brush. You will literally see the dirt and grime lift off the concrete. After you have scrubbed it good, hook up the water hose to your brush, turn on the water, and scrub some more while rinsing the sidewalk off.

Step five
Depending on how dirty your sidewalk is, you may have to repeat the cleaning process twice. I did. After the second cleaning, I still had some little black spots lingering just near the porch steps.

Since this sidewalk hadn’t been cleaned in the history of ever, they weren’t budging very easily. My husband did a quick runover of those spots near the steps with a pressure washer.

Why, hello, nice and pretty sidewalk! It’s nice to meet you.

I’m the one who neglected you for the past three years.

The cleaning and scrubbing removed a huge amount of dirt and grime and brightened it up like nobody’s business.

See more of this cleaning process here.

Want to tackle some more outdoor projects this weekend? Find out how to give your lattice a refresh in under an hour here and how to give your mailbox a quick makeover here. 

Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk décor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at [email protected] or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.