Muriatic Acid and Cleaning Bathrooms

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Muriatic acid, also known as hydrogen chloride acid, is a strong and corrosive chemical that causes the same damage as any acid product. However, it is slightly more forgiving when it comes to dissolving and damaging surfaces than stronger acids like sulfuric acid, and when carefully diluted with water it can even be used to clean sensitive areas of your bathroom, such as tile and toilet surfaces.

Safety Precautions

  • Whenever you work with any acid-based product, you must take safety precautions to avoid burning yourself or harming the surfaces on which you are working. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, as well as close-toed shoes, when working with this product, so that there is as little skin as possible exposed. Anytime you handle the acid, even diluted, wear rubber gloves and protective goggles. Do all mixing of the acid outdoors to dissipate the fumes, and ventilate the bathroom with a vent fan or by opening windows to get as many fumes out as possible.

Dilution Rates

  • Anytime you mix acid and water, always pour the acid into the water. Pouring water into resting acid can create dangerous spurts and fizzes of acid that will spread the acid around. Do all mixing in a non-metallic bucket, and remember to mix outdoors. Add 1 part muriatic acid into 5 parts of water and stir with a stirring stick or wooden spoon. This dilution makes the acid safe enough for sensitive bathroom surfaces such as porcelain and ceramic.

Application

  • Apply as little of the acid mixture as possible to the surfaces while you clean, to avoid allowing too much acid to sit on, and therefore damage, the surface. Dampen a nylon scrubbing pad in the solution and wring it out so that it is not dripping or completely soaked. Rub the cleaning solution onto the surface using small, circular motions to cut through dirt, soap scum, wax, grease and oil. For toilet surfaces, lower the water level or drain the toilet completely and start working from the base of the rim down into the toilet. You can use the nylon scrubber or a regular toilet brush.

Rinsing

  • Rinse any surface that comes in contact with the acidic cleaner with cold water before the cleaning solution has time to dry on the surface. If the acid dries there, it can cause staining or other damage. The cold water will neutralize the effects of the acid. For a toilet, you can just flush the toilet two or three times to allow the water to wash away all acid residue.

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