How to Remove Concrete Dyes & Sealers

How to Remove Concrete Dyes & Sealers

Do you want to change the appearance of your concrete? Whether it’s been dyed, sealed, or stained over the years, effectively removing them has been challenging without the proper products and techniques. 

Read on to learn how you can remove dye and sealers from concrete and stay safe while doing it!

Understanding Concrete Dyes & Sealers

Concrete is a porous substance, even when fully cured. Water- and solvent-based dyes for concrete are chemical solutions that permeate into the pores of concrete to deliver color pigments. Dyes for concrete can be liquified or powdered, and their color pigment molecules are far smaller than those in concrete stains, meaning they penetrate deeper and last longer than stains do.

Comparatively, concrete sealers are applied topically to concrete to protect its surface from corrosion, abrasive damage, and staining. They create impermeable layers on the tops of the pads to block the pores of concrete to inhibit the penetration and absorption of water. Sealers also stop dirt and grime from entering the pores and prevent the color from fading. Generally, after a new concrete pad has cured, applying a sealer afterward is recommended to ensure longevity. Similarly, if concrete pads are being stamped, dyed, stained, or modified, sealers help ensure longer-lasting results. 

Although concrete dyes and sealers are both chemical solutions, removing them requires different processes and products. Let’s take a closer look at how to remove dyes.

Removing Dyes

You may read online that vinegar or lemon juice can be used to remove surface stains from concrete. However, removing aged dye, especially on exterior surfaces, is a more demanding process. Our experts at Stamped Concrete recommend Rust Remover™ to remove concrete stains, dyes, and, of course, rust!

Rust Remover™


gallon of stamped concrete supplies rust remover


Metropolitan Materials’ Rust Remover™ is one of the best concrete dye removers on the market. This product is specially formulated with surfactants and acids designed to remove metallic stains like rust and iron from various materials, including:

  • Concrete
  • Pavers
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Tile

Rust Remover™ dissolves the metallic agents that comprise surface stains caused by snowplow abrasion, hard water, metal corrosion, fertilizer accumulation,  and concrete dyes. It’s important to note Rust Remover™ is not recommended for acid stains. If dealing with acid stains, try Nock-Out (which we’ll discuss later in this blog post) or a degreaser.

How to Remove Dyes: Step-by-Step

When using Rust Remover™:

  1. Make sure the surface is clean. Sweep off debris like branches, leaves, and spider webs, and then power wash to remove more challenging debris, like moss and weeds. 
  2. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly before applying Rust Remover™.
  3. Apply the Rust Remover™ according to the label directions.
  4. Let the solution soak into the concrete for 10 minutes.
  5. Scrub and rinse the treatment surface.
  6. Allow it to dry.

If this method doesn’t remove the dye well enough, consider repeating the soaking process with a fresh coating of Rust Remover,™ and then using a power washer to blast the dye away.

Removing Sealers

Although many homeowners can remove concrete sealers without professional assistance, it is an intense job requiring special stripping agents, cleaners, and neutralizers. Stamped Concrete highly recommends two products for completing this challenging but doable job: Nock-Off™ and CHO™.

Nock-Off™ Stripper


Nock-Off™ is a non-flammable, non-toxic, biodegradable stripper of industrial paint, urethane- and epoxy-based topical coatings, and is designed for tough-to-remove finishes on concrete, brick pavers, metal, and wood. 


Additionally, most seal strippers contain carcinogenic chemicals that are dangerous to work around. Not Nock-Off.™ This product doesn’t emit foul odors and contains no volatile chemical additives that can harm the environment or your family and pets—it’s a safe, citrus-based stripper that’s highly effective on even the most set-in, hard-to-penetrate sealers, other surface coatings, and acid stains. Just roll, brush, or spray it onto the treatment area, wait for the solution to penetrate, and then clean the residue away.

CHO™ Concrete Cleaner


small container of butterfield cho concrete cleaner

After removing surface sealers with Nock-Off™, it’s smart to use CHO™ Concrete Cleaner, a citrus-based concrete cleaning product. It’s pleasant-smelling, simple to use, and opens the pores in concrete to empower the removal of organic stains and efflorescence.

CHO™ is also effective as a surface preparation agent before applying overlays, stains, dyes, or sealants. The open pores and etched surface allow colorants and sealers to penetrate deeper into the pad and improve adhesion. Note that the surface will need to be neutralized after treatment with CHO™.

How to Remove Sealers: Step-by-Step

Removing concrete sealers is a straightforward process. However, taking a calculated approach and not skipping steps is important to ensure the best results.

To remove concrete sealers using Nock-Off™:

  1. Avoid applying it during extremely sunny or windy conditions.
  2. Apply a generous coat of the stripper, thick enough to hide the color of the surface.
  3. Allow it to penetrate for 30 minutes.
  4. Keep the product moist by misting it with a hose.
  5. Apply a second coating.
  6. Wait 15 to 30 more minutes.
  7. Scrub the surface.

If you need to mist the surface to keep it from drying out, do so modestly, only as much as necessary. You want to maintain a concentrated mixture—too much water decreases its reactive power.

This product is designed to penetrate slowly for up to 48 hours. So, if the surface is getting too dry too fast, cover it with a sheet of plastic.

Use a stiff-bristled push broom, squeegee, flat shovel, and a 5-gallon bucket to collect the emulsified sealer material. Carefully dispose of it according to local hazardous waste disposal regulations.

When the softened sealer has been thoroughly removed to the original surface, you’ll need to finish the project with a final wash using E-Etch and Neutra Clean.

Learn More From Stamped Concrete

Stamped Concrete is proud to provide the highest-quality decorative concrete products and tools to customers across the United States. We always maintain top levels of industry knowledge and genuinely care about delivering superior customer service and product value.

Don’t hesitate to contact our pros with any questions you have about removing dyes or dealers or selecting the right products for your project.