How to Clean Mineral Deposits off With Muriatic Acid

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Mineral deposits are present on a variety of sources including concrete, wood and even plastic. The deposits, white and gray in color, come from water and can build up over time to become a challenge to remove. One way to clean mineral deposits is with muriatic acid, which is an industrial-strength solution of hydrochloric acid. You must take certain precautions when cleaning with muriatic acid, including wearing the proper gloves and clothing as well as diluting the acid with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Long pants
  • Long-sleeve shirt or vinyl-coated coveralls
  • Gauntlet-style acid-resistant rubber gloves
  • Rubber boots
  • Safety goggles
  • NIOSH-approved respirator equipped with acid-grade filter
  • 4 buckets
  • Baking soda or garden lime
  • Water
  • Water hose
  • Muriatic acid
  • Drop cloth
  • Box fan
  • Scrub brush
  • Household ammonia
  • Rag or towel
  • Shovel
  • Dress in long pants and a long-sleeve shirt or vinyl-coated coveralls that offer acid resistance. Put on gauntlet-style acid-resistant rubber gloves, rubber boots, a pair of safety goggles and a NIOSH-approved (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) respirator equipped with an acid-grade filter.

  • Pour 1/2 gallon of baking soda or garden lime in a bucket. Set the bucket to the side. Baking soda/garden lime is a neutralizer for muriatic acid, which you can use if you spill any of the acid.

  • Fill two buckets with water from a hose or sink. Set one of the buckets to the side for flushing your skin if acid accidentally gets on you.

  • Dampen the area containing mineral deposits you want to remove with water from a hose or from the other bucket of water you filled in step 3. Completely soak the area with water. Spray down any plants and grass present in the area with water also. The water keeps the acid solution from sticking to the plants and grass.

    If cleaning an enclosed area like a partially covered patio, cover the surrounding area with a drop cloth. Open any doors and windows and aim a box fan into the area to provide proper ventilation.

  • Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water. Slowly pour 1 cup of muriatic acid into the bucket of water. Do not add the acid first, or it will cause the acid to bubble and form a reaction. Stir the mixture with a scrub brush.

  • Brush the acid solution onto the mineral deposit-covered area. Let the acid solution sit for five minutes.

  • Scrub off the mineral deposits as you flush the area with water. Continue scrubbing and rinsing the area until it is clean.

  • Mix a neutralizing rinse of 1 cup of household ammonia and 1 gallon of water in a bucket. Stir the mixture with a rag or towel.

  • Wring out excess mixture from the rag or towel. Wipe the area with the rag or towel, or pour the neutralizing rinse over the area if cleaning a wall. The neutralizing rinse will flush away and stop the acid solution from reacting.

  • Rinse the area again with water from a hose or bucket. Let the area air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you spill any of the muriatic acid solution, immediately pour baking soda or garden lime over the spill. You will notice some fizzing of the acid, which is fine. Wear safety goggles and a nose mask. Let the baking soda/garden lime sit on the acid solution until the solution is absorbed into the baking soda/garden lime (time will vary). Use a shovel to scoop up the baking soda/lime into a bucket. Contact a recycling center in your area for proper disposal of the bucket containing the acid-soaked baking soda/garden lime.
  • If you spill any of the acid solution on plant/grass material, sprinkle baking soda or garden lime onto the spill and let it sit until the solution is absorbed (time will vary). Spray the plant/grass with water from a hose.
  • Do not clean indoor areas with muriatic acid. The acid emits corrosive vapors that can begin chemical reactions in metals in indoor areas. The chemical reactions can lead to long-term permanent damage to your health.

References

  • Photo Credit colorful mineral deposits image by emu from Fotolia.com
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