How to Remove Mulch Stain from Concrete?

With some cleaning products, hard work, and patience, mulch stains can be successfully removed from concrete. This task does not require any special skills or large equipment and can easily be accomplished with just a few steps.

Mulch is a common agent to use when landscaping a garden or yard. This is often utilized in order to decrease the amount of maintenance required for the space, to add a decorative touch, revitalize unhealthy soil, or provide temperature assistance to plants in the area. With all of these benefits, however, mulch can also leave residue on areas of concrete and it’s important to know how to remove this when it occurs.

Don’t let mulch stains prevent you from enjoying the landscaped area you worked hard to design. Keep reading to learn more about the methods you can use to remove mulch stains from your concrete.

close up of mulch stain being removed from concrete

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How Does Mulch Stain Concrete?

In today’s market, the mulch you buy often contains a coloring agent to provide a deeper color to the mulch. When pressed against hard surfaces such as concrete, or when rained on, this coloring can hit concrete and stick.

Unfortunately, this leaves an unpleasant appearance that requires some effort to remove. There are multiple product options available to help you get rid of these stains once and for all:

  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Degreaser
  • Laundry detergent

But First, What NOT To Do…Pressure Washing

When you first see the stain, your instinct may be to immediately pressure wash the area. While pressure washing is typically a wonderful help in cleaning an outdoor hard surface, this will actually make a mulch stain WORSE!

The pressure can push the stain even deeper into the surface, creating a stain that is very difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Knowing this, stay away from the temptation to pressure wash your concrete when dealing with a mulch stain. Now, let’s get into what WILL help.


As an all-around effective and flexible cleaning agent, vinegar works wonderfully to help with many messy tasks. Vinegar is an acid that pulls out the stain it is charged to remove. To use this method, dilute the vinegar by using a mixture of 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water. Then, saturate the stained area with your vinegar mix.

Let the vinegar soak in for at least an hour. You may need to scrub the area if the stain is deep. Once you have soaked and scrubbed the area, wash the vinegar off with a hose or bucket of water.

Pro tip: Use gloves when using this method, as vinegar has a strong odor that will penetrate your skin and leave an unpleasant taste and smell that is hard to wash away.


Much like vinegar, bleach is a strong contender when it comes to stripping stains out of nearly any surface. Using a process called oxidation, bleach is able to remove harsh stains fairly quickly. Because this is a powerful chemical, you only need to use approximately one cap-full of bleach per one gallon of water. Once you have your bleach diluted, pour the mixture on your stained concrete for at least 30 minutes. Finally, wash the solution away using water.

Pro tip: Again, make sure to wear gloves when handling bleach, while also making sure not to touch your eyes or face while exposed. Additionally, avoid washing the used bleach solution into nearby grass and plants, as this may kill vegetation.


A commercial degreaser can be an effective solution to removing stubborn mulch stains. These products can be found wherever you shop for landscaping items or in big chain stores that market a garden or cleaning section.

With degreasers, the instructions for usage will vary depending on the product. It’s important to follow the instructions on the bottle itself for the best result. Remember, these degreasers also contain chemicals that may be unpleasant to the touch. It is always recommended to wear gloves when handling chemicals that may be harmful.

Laundry Detergent

A fantastic product that we regularly use to remove stains from our clothes, laundry detergent can also remove stains from concrete! To use this method, mix the detergent with water until you have the desired texture and liquidity. Pour this mixture onto the stained concrete, allowing it to soak in for at least 30 minutes. Once properly saturated, use a hard bristled brush to scrub the area. After you have given the stain a good scrubbing, rinse the area clean with water.

This method is less harsh than bleach and degreasers, but it is still a good idea to wear gloves to prevent the drying out of the skin or a possible reaction to the agent.

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Final Thoughts

Stained concrete is unsightly, unforgiving, and can look to be a difficult clean-up situation. Concrete is a hard, porous surface that is not easily scrubbed or washed. The nature of a stain on concrete can cause anyone to feel overwhelmed with worry about how to clean such an area.

With the solutions provided above, you have options to help you accomplish the job at hand. You might not even have to leave your house to purchase any items, as many of these solutions include only everyday household items!

Don’t let mulch stains induce stress in your day. Instead, follow the steps listed and take care of that stain today so you can move on to the more enjoyable moments in life.

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