When to use them:
The newest types of concrete cleaners are those that use organic chemistry and active enzymes to attack, break down, and in some cases digest stains and contamination. They are also known as "oxidation cleaners," with the most popular brand being OxiClean. Generally, they are formulated to break down very specific soils, such as starch-based stains, hydrocarbon-based stains, and protein based stains. For example, eliminating pet urine stains on concrete is a common problem. Using an enzyme cleaner that targets protein (the odor and stain in urine is comprised mostly of protein) is the best way to remove these types of stains. The other type of active cleaner is bacterial. These cleaners use genetically engineered bacteria that actually feed on oil, grease, or hydrocarbons.
How they work:
A major benefit to using these types of cleaners is that most do not require water for activation, and there is little or no residue to wash away. The enzyme or bacteria simply consumes the contamination until it's gone. The biggest drawback is that they require time to work. Depending on the size of the contamination or stain, the enzyme or bacteria may require days or weeks to do its job. Most of these types of cleaners are applied directly to the stain with little or no agitation required. For large or stubborn stains, additional applications may be required.
Where to get them:
Active cleaners can be a bit harder to find than the other types. Some hardware and home-improvement stores and specialty janitorial supply outlets carry them. I have found that buying a cleaner targeted for the specific stain you're removing yields the best results.
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