The Day After: Removing Fireworks Stains from Concrete

The Day After: Removing Fireworks Stains from Concrete

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Regina Yunghans
Jul 5, 2011

If any of you set off fireworks on the sidewalk or driveway (if you have one) last night, you might wake up this morning to black powder and sulfur stains marring the concrete. Want to rid any concrete surface of them? Here's how:

We researched ways to rid concrete of stains left over from an Independence Day party and here's what we came up with:

  • Power washer: Power wash the stained area of concrete, being sure to keep the nozzle at least a foot away from the concrete to prevent damage to the surface.
  • Bleach: Apply a 3:1 bleach solution to the stain and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Scrub with a scrub brush and rinse with water.
  • Prevention: Apparently, there are chemicals in fireworks that may have a reaction with concrete and cause permanent staining. The best way to avoid this is to prevent staining in the first place. For next year: Try laying a piece of dampened plywood on the "launching pad" area of concrete. This will minimize fire hazard while protecting concrete surfaces.

When all else fails, time may just be the best answer here. The sun is often able to bleach stains from light-colored surfaces better than any chemical treatment. This "do nothing" approach is exactly what we did in the neighborhood where I grew up and we were known locally for our enthusiasm about fireworks so there may be something to this!

What do you do about black stains left over from celebrating the red, white and blue?

Image: Flickr member philscoville, licensed for use under Creative Commons

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