How to Acid-Wash a Basement Floor


Many homeowners lack a finished basement. Unfortunately, over time, unfinished basements can begin to feel damp. Lime buildup on the basement's concrete floors is the cause. An acid wash removes the lime--helping your basement dry out. In addition, if you plan to paint your basement floors, acid-washing them beforehand ensures that your paint will adhere well to the concrete surface. Hiring a professional to perform an acid-wash treatment is often expensive. If you're careful, you can save money by performing the work yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Garden sprayer
  • Brush
  • Fan
  • Plastic bucket
  • Muriatic acid
  • Water
  • Pole broom
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Baking soda
  • Ammonia
  • Remove all furniture from your basement. Sweep the floor well with a broom, removing all debris from the concrete surface.

  • Dampen the floor, using a brush or broom or mist from a garden sprayer.

  • Open all windows, if they're present, and bring a fan down to the basement. Proper ventilation is a must since acid fumes are toxic and flammable.

  • Mix one part muriatic acid to 10 parts water in a plastic bucket. Add the acid to the water rather than the water to the acid, as this prevents a chemical reaction that can result in acid splashing out of the bucket and onto your clothing.

  • Apply the acid to the floor with a pole broom. Allow the acid mixture to sit on the floor for no more than a few minutes.

  • Rinse the floor well with water. Scrub away the acid with a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse the floor with clean water when you finish.

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the floor's surface. Add the ammonia to 1 gallon of water. Rinse the floor with this mixture to neutralize the acid.

Tips & Warnings

  • A plastic bucket works best for this job since the muriatic acid can eat through other surfaces.
  • Put on a respirator, acid-resistant gloves, coveralls and rubber boots when working with muriatic acid.
  • Avoid acid-washing your basement floor if you plan to stain it. While acid-washing helps paint adhere better to concrete, it repels stain.

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  • Photo Credit concrete image by Empath from
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