How to Clean a Concrete Mixer: Everything You Need To Know

Cleaning a concrete mixer is crucial for both maintaining the equipment and ensuring the quality of the concrete mix.

Over time, cement can build up inside the drum, hindering the machine's performance. Regular cleaning prevents hardening of the cement, which is both challenging and time-consuming to remove.

Effective cleaning of a concrete mixer involves a series of steps to ensure that both the interior and exterior of the drum are free of debris, grime, and residual concrete mix.

It's a straightforward process that requires some basic tools and materials, such as water, brushes, and cleaning solutions.

Proper technique and timely maintenance can extend the life of the mixer and provide a consistent mix for construction projects.

Safety Precautions and Preparation

Before initiating the cleaning process for a concrete mixer, it's essential to prioritize safety and workspace preparation.

Choosing the Right Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital to ensure an individual's safety during the cleaning of a concrete mixer.

At minimum, one should wear:

  • Goggles: to protect against concrete dust and splashes that could cause eye injury.
  • Protective gloves: durable gloves to safeguard hands from harsh cleaners and prevent skin abrasions.

Affirmatively check that all PPE fits correctly and is suitable for the expected level of exposure to debris and cleaning agents.

Preparing the Workspace

A clean and organized workspace is key to maintaining safety while cleaning a concrete mixer. Here's a brief overview of workspace preparation:

  • Remove any obstacles from around the mixer that could pose a tripping hazard.
  • Position the mixer on a stable, level surface to prevent it from tipping over.
  • Ensure there is ample space for the user to move comfortably and safely around the mixer.

Call attention to the need for apt ventilation, particularly if chemical cleaners are being used, to avoid inhalation of fumes.

Initial Cleaning Steps

Before starting the cleaning process, it's essential to understand that removing excess concrete and thoroughly rinsing the drum are the first steps towards ensuring a clean and well-maintained concrete mixer.

Removing Excess Concrete

To prevent concrete buildup from affecting the mixer's performance, one must remove any excess concrete that's left behind after a pour.

It's best to do this while the concrete is still pliable. Using a shovel, they can scrape off the larger pieces.

A bucket can be handy to collect the concrete debris. For smaller pieces that are stuck, they might need to use a sturdy brush or a handheld tool designed to chip away concrete.

Rinsing the Drum

After the removal of excess concrete, the next immediate step is to rinse the drum.

They should use a hose with a high-pressure nozzle to wash away any remaining concrete residue.

It’s important to ensure that the water used is clean to avoid introducing new contaminants to the mixer.

The rinse cycle should be thorough, reaching all corners of the drum and focusing on areas where concrete tends to accumulate.

Deep Cleaning Process

The deep cleaning process for a concrete mixer involves two critical steps: applying an effective cleaning solution and rigorously working it with appropriate tools like a scrub or pressure washer. This ensures that the concrete mixer is free of stubborn residue and operates efficiently.

Applying Cleaning Solutions

One begins by disconnecting the mixer from any power source for safety.

The inner drum should be rinsed with water to remove loose debris.

For the deep cleaning solution, mix a potent concrete cleaner or create a DIY mixture of water with vinegar or a mild detergent.

When dealing with more challenging areas, one might opt for a diluted acid, though it's crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for both safety and to prevent damage to the mixer components.

  • Concrete Cleaning Solution:
    • Commercial cleaner: Use according to instructions.
    • DIY mix (Vinegar/Detergent): Blend in a 1:1 ratio with water or as needed based on dirt accumulation.
    • Diluted Acid Solution: Only if necessary and with extreme caution.

Scrubbing and Pressure Washing

After allowing the cleaning solution to sit and soften the hardened concrete, proceed with a scrub.

Employ a stiff brush to agitate and break down the buildup thoroughly, reaching all corners and crevices of the drum.

For deep-set concrete and extremely tough spots, pressure washing can be highly effective.

Direct the pressure washer stream at stubborn areas, ensuring the force of the water dislodges the residue.

  • Scrubbing:

    • Use a stiff brush to work in the cleaning solution.
    • Focus on areas with thickened concrete accumulation.
  • Pressure Washing:

    • Apply concentrated jets of water to hardened debris.
    • Keep the nozzle moving to prevent damage to the drum surface.

Removing Stubborn Deposits

Removing stubborn deposits from a concrete mixer requires a combination of mechanical force and chemical action. Both techniques target the hardened concrete that resists standard cleaning methods.

Utilizing Mechanical Tools

Chisels and Hammers: For deposits too resilient for brushes and water, a flat-headed chisel and heavy-duty hammer or masonry hammer can be used to carefully chip away the concrete.

The user should wear safety goggles, gloves, and other protective gear to guard against flying debris.

  • Chisel - Position at an angle and strike with caution.
  • Hammer - Use force uniformly to avoid damaging the mixer's drum.

Scraper Tools: A robust metal scraper can also be employed to pry off and remove layers of dried concrete.

  • Scrapers - Select a scraper with a blade wide enough to work efficiently.

Applying Specialized Chemicals

Concrete Dissolvers: Commercial concrete dissolver solutions can soften hardened concrete, making it easier to remove. These are often biodegradable and less harmful to the environment.

  1. Apply the concrete dissolver according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Allow the dissolver to penetrate and break down the concrete.

Hydrochloric Acid: For extremely troublesome areas, a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid can be applied carefully, always using proper safety equipment and following stringent handling procedures to prevent harm to the user or the mixer.

  • Prepare a solution of hydrochloric acid and water (always add acid to water, never the other way around to prevent a reaction that can cause splashing).
  • Use with caution on small sections and rinse thoroughly after the reaction is complete.

Maintaining the Concrete Mixer

Regular maintenance of a concrete mixer is crucial for its longevity and performance. Key steps include a thorough inspection for any damage and consistent lubrication of its moving parts.

Inspecting for Damage and Wear

One should routinely inspect their concrete mixer, checking for cracks, dents, or any signs of wear and tear that could affect its functionality.

Special attention should be paid to the drum and blades for any build-up of hardened concrete that can reduce efficiency.

It's recommended to perform these checks after cleaning when visibility of the drum's interior is enhanced.

  • Drum: Look for cracks or deformations.
  • Blades: Check for excessive wear or buildup of materials.

Lubricating Moving Parts

Keeping moving parts well-oiled ensures smooth operation and extends the lifespan of the mixer.

Specific areas to maintain with suitable grease or oil include the drum roller and ring gear, motor and gearbox bearings, and any exposed pivot points.

  • Drum Roller/Ring Gear: Apply grease regularly to prevent friction and wear.
  • Bearings: Use oil to keep rotations smooth.
  • Pivot Points: Lubricate to ensure free movement of parts.

Post-Cleaning Steps

After properly cleaning the concrete mixer, it's critical to follow specific steps to ensure the mixer's longevity and readiness for future use.

Drying and Reassembling

Once the concrete mixer is clean, it should be left to dry completely to prevent rusting.

It is preferable to air dry the mixer in a well-ventilated area or to use a towel to wipe away excess water, especially in crevices and joints.

After the mixer has dried, reassemble any parts that were removed, ensuring that everything is securely fastened and operational.

Regular Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is key to a concrete mixer's longevity. Here are some specific tips:

  • Inspect: Regularly examine the mixer for signs of wear or damage.
  • Lubricate: Keep moving parts well-lubricated to prevent friction and wear.
  • Clean: After each use, ensure to remove any residual concrete.
  • Storage: Always store the mixer in a dry and covered location to protect it from the elements.


Maintaining a concrete mixer requires regular and effective cleaning to ensure its functionality and longevity.

Employing a systematic cleaning routine not only enhances the efficiency of the mixer but also supports smooth operations.

Emphasizing these practices translates into a dependable performance lifespan of the equipment.

Key Takeaways for Maintenance:

  • Always remove excess debris before and after each use.
  • Use a mixture of water and detergent to scrub the interior with a stiff brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to eliminate any cleaning solution residue.

For optimal care:

  • Allow the mixer to run with a cleaning mixture for 10-15 minutes to break down cement.
  • Following this, scrape any remaining cement using appropriate tools.
  • Finish by rinsing with water and letting it dry completely before storage or further use.

Frequently Asked Questions

When maintaining a concrete mixer, one should be familiar with the optimal cleaning methods, safe usage of chemicals, and regular maintenance routines to ensure the machine's durability and performance.

What is the most effective method to clean a concrete mixer drum?

The most effective cleaning method includes rinsing out loose debris, employing a water and vinegar solution or a specialized concrete cleaner, and thoroughly scrubbing with a wire brush or pressure washer to remove any remaining residue.

Can muriatic acid be safely used for cleaning a cement mixer?

While muriatic acid can effectively remove cement buildup, it's a potent acid that must be used with extreme caution.

One should dilute it properly and ensure protective gear is worn to avoid harm to themselves and the mixer's components.

What steps should one follow to remove dried cement from a concrete mixer?

To remove dried cement, one should first empty the mixer and then soften the hardened cement with a mixture of vinegar and water.

After the cement has softened, it can be scrubbed away with a wire brush or chisel.

Is there a safe and environmentally friendly cleaner for concrete mixers?

For an environmentally safe option, a mixture of water and vinegar serves as an effective cleaning agent.

It is non-toxic and does a good job of breaking down cement residues without harming the environment.

How often should maintenance and cleaning be performed on a concrete mixer to ensure its longevity?

Routine maintenance and cleaning after each use is the best practice to ensure a concrete mixer's longevity.

This helps prevent buildup and ensures the machine's efficiency and reliability are maintained.

What safety precautions are necessary when cleaning a concrete mixer?

Always disconnect the power before cleaning. Wear proper safety gear such as gloves and goggles. Also, make sure the mixer is stable and secure to prevent accidents. Avoid using tools that can damage the mixer drum.