There are several basement flooring options like, vinyl, tile, carpet, wood, etc. Still, in most homes you will find that the basement has unfinished concrete flooring. This is because a concrete basement floor can be conveniently used for storage, making it easier to drag stuff around without causing extensive damage compared to other kinds of flooring. However, over a period of time, it becomes the most neglected part of a house. It is exposed to heavy foot traffic and doesn't receive enough light or air. All these factors leave the flooring dusty, damp, moldy, and mildewed. Cleaning the basement floor does not require any specialized skills, but you do need to invest in enough time to do this.
How to Clean a Basement Floor before Painting It
An excellent way to make concrete flooring look brand new, is by painting it; the paint can hide imperfections effectively. Before you apply the paint over the concrete floor, a thorough cleaning is a must. Here's how you can do it.
You'll have to remove furniture, equipment, and other items that crowd the basement, so that every nook and corner is accessible. It is likely that foreign bits and pieces will be strewn here and there like, scrap paper, coins, toy parts, candy wrappers, and the like. Dispose of these first using a broom.
Next, you have to clean the floor surface from dust and grit. You can simply use a hand broom for this job, or a vacuum cleaner. Give special attention to the corners of the basement floor where dirt and grime tend to accumulate.
Stains on a concrete basement floor are a common feature. You have to clean up those ugly stains or they'll only worsen post painting. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) can be used to remove stubborn stains. It will be available in a local hardware store or one that supplies cleaning products. Mix one cup of water to an ounce of trisodium phosphate, and apply this paste over the stains. Wait for 24 hours before scraping the hardened residue of the TSP. Pour water over these areas and scrub it thoroughly with a stiff bristled brush. If you are not interested in using a harsh chemical mix, then you can opt for lemon juice or vinegar.
Prepare a soapy solution by adding any commercial cleaner to a bucket of warm water; mop the basement floor properly with this solution. Rinse the floor with clean water to remove any leftover soapy residue. Keep the basement area well-ventilated for the next few hours so that the floor dries up quickly, or you'll be dealing with mold pretty soon. You can then apply concrete floor paint on it.
How to Wash a Basement Floor after a Storm
If the basement gets flooded with rainwater, it is bound to carry an unpleasant odor. Moreover, the chances of experiencing a mold infestation are high. In such a case, the technique for cleaning the concrete floor is slightly different. The first step is to move furniture and other items out of the area. Any kind of carpeting (if any) must be removed and hung out to dry. To remove mold, you have to use a bleaching solution made from a cup of bleach and gallon of water; mop the floor with this. If required, you may have to repeat it a number of times before you get rid of mold and mildew. Then mop the floor with a solution made of detergent and a bucket of warm water. Take a bucket of clean water, using a different mop to get rid of leftover soapy residue. If there's a fan in the basement, turn it on while you perform this step, or leave the windows open to help the floor dry faster.
If you've neglected the basement's concrete floor for a long time, then you may not be able to clean it up on your own. In that case, you have to hire professionals for the same if the job is worse than previously imagined.