How to Remove Cement Stains

How to Remove Cement Stains

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 18 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-15

While making home repairs, installing concrete floors, or pouring concrete countertops or patios, it's normal to get a touch of cement on your clothes, shoes, or carpet and upholstery. While these stains can be tricky to remove, if you act quickly, you can tackle these stains at home using everyday household products you likely already have in your cupboard. Removal methods typically depend on whether the cement stain is wet or dry. Never dry a still-stained garment in a machine dryer, as the heat can set the stain and make it very difficult to remove.

Stain type Acrylic-based, acid-based, metallic-based, lime-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty detergent and Lime-A-Way or CLR
Water temperature Cold
Cycle type Varies depending on type of fabric

Before You Begin

When cleaning cement stains, it's best to wear clothing you don't mind dirtying with cement and concrete materials. You may also cover surrounding items using a plastic tarp. Always wear rubber gloves and a face mask when handling wet or dry cement.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Firm-bristled brush
  • Kitchen spatula or dull kitchen knife
  • Washing machine
  • Protective gloves (optional)
  • Vacuum (for carpet or upholstery)
  • Clean, white cloths (for carpet or upholstery)
  • Scissors (optional for carpet or upholstery)


  • Water
  • Lime-A-Way or CLR (optional)
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Saddle soap (optional)
  • Leather conditioner (optional)
  • Dry-cleaning solvent (optional)


materials for removing cement stains

The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

How to Remove Cement Stains From Clothing

Removing cement stains from clothing can be daunting, but as long as you act quickly and follow cleaning directions closely, you can successfully remove these stains at home.

  1. Remove Dry Particles

    Avoid re-wetting dry cement, so use a firm-bristled clothes brush to brush away as much dust as possible from both sides of the fabric. After all dry cement matter is gone, wash as usual. Use plenty of water in your washing machine, and do not overcrowd the washer to ensure all cement is flushed away.

    brushing away dry cement

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  2. Remove Wet Particles

    For wet concrete stains, first, use a plastic spatula or dull kitchen knife to lift away as much of the solid matter as possible

    removing cement solids with a dull knife

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  3. Use Lime Remover

    Use Lime-A-Way or CLR to remove the stains from fabric left by wet cement, as cement is a lime-based substance. Rinse immediately and repeat if necessary.


    Be aware that lime removal products may cause color loss and fade fabrics. Test the product by applying a few drops to an inconspicuous area, then rinse promptly.

    adding lime remover to the stain

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  4. Wash as Usual

    Wash the clothing as you usually would, using a heavy-duty detergent. Make sure to wash the stained garment alone to prevent spotting on other items.

    washing the garment as usual

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

How to Remove Cement Stains From Shoes

Cement is very corrosive to fabric, synthetic leather, and natural leather shoes, which is why construction workers wear rubber boots. Treating stained shoes promptly is essential to successful stain removal. 

  1. Scrape Away Solids

    Use a dull edge to immediately remove as much wet cement as possible, and then flush the shoes with water. It can feel counterintuitive to use so much water on your shoes, especially leather, but if you do not, you will ruin the shoes if the concrete hardens. Use saddle soap on leather shoes to remove the stains and finish with a leather conditioner.

    removing cement solids from shoes

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  2. Wash or Clean as Usual

    Flush away as much cement as possible, and wash tennis shoes or sneakers as usual. Dry your shoes with a soft cloth and allow to finish air-drying away from direct heat or sunlight. 

    using a soft cloth on shoes with cement stains

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

How to Remove Cement Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

The cleaning technique you use on cement-stained carpet and upholstery depends on whether the cement is wet or dry. Be careful not to over-wet upholstery while cleaning, as excess moisture in cushions can create mold and mildew.

  1. Vacuum Dry Cement

    Vacuum dry cement dust immediately. Repeat the removal process several times to ensure all the dry cement is removed. Avoid getting the area wet.

    vacuuming dry cement dust

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  2. Apply Solvent

    Use a dull knife or plastic scraper on wet cement to lift as much of the solid matter off the carpet or upholstery as possible. The longer the cement rests on the fibers, the higher the chance of discoloration and staining. Treat the area with a few drops of dry-cleaning solvent on a white cotton cloth. Each time an area of the cloth becomes dirty, move to a clean section until the stain is entirely transferred out of the carpet or upholstery.


    When using a dry cleaning solvent, we highly recommend wearing protective solvent-resistant gloves or other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

    removing dry cement with a dull knife

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  3. Rinse and Air Dry

    Blot the area with a white cloth dipped in plain water once the stain is removed to absorb as much moisture as possible. Allow the item to air dry. Do not dry with direct heat.

    using a damp cloth to remove stains from a carpet

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

  4. Scrape Away Dried Cement

    Scrape and vacuum any remaining dry cement pieces. For longer carpet fibers, you may be able to carefully clip away the dried cement using small scissors.

    scraping away dry cement stains

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

When to Call a Professional

If your garment is marked as dry clean only, visit professional dry cleaner and point out the stains as soon as possible. This is not a stain you should attempt to treat at home on dry clean only garments. If cement or concrete gets on silk or vintage upholstery, consult a professional cleaner.

Additional Tips for Handling Cement Stains

In addition to the methods mentioned above, you can lightly use fine-grade sandpaper to remove dried cement residue. If cement gets on a hard surface, such as a wood floor, it may be best to keep the substance wet. You can apply a bit of petroleum jelly to the cement. If the cement stain is very small, you can begin the removal process by scraping it away with your fingernail, but be sure to wash your hands when you're done thoroughly. If the stain persists, feel free to repeat cleaning methods as many times as you see fit or contact a professional cleaner for more specialized advice.