Muriatic Acid Cleaning

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Muriatic acid is used most often used on concrete and masonry. This chemical is dangerous and must be used with extreme caution. Muriatic acid can quickly destroy everything that it comes in contact with, and is not typically used just for cleaning. If at all possible, you should seek a much safer solution.

Cleaning Masonry

  • It is never recommended to use muriatic acid to clean new brick. There is too much potential for new stains to be created from the acid, and etching or bleaching can occur. The only real reason to wash brick with muriatic acid is to prepare the surface for painting. Paint does not adhere well to brick, because it is a very alkaline material. Muriatic acid will neutralize the alkaline and leave the surface of the brick ready to accept paint. Begin with no more than 1 part muriatic acid to 20 parts water. This can be mixed directly in a pump sprayer. Spray the surface of the brick and allow to set according to the instructions on the muriatic acid label. Rinse thoroughly with water. You may need to add more acid if the solution is not working. Add a small amount of acid at a time.

Cleaning Concrete

  • Muriatic acid can also be used to clean concrete, but is still not recommended. It is best for cleaning concrete only if you plan to re-seal the concrete surface.
    Muriatic acid is used most often to etch concrete, which is the act of creating a rough, porous surface so another surface can be applied to it, such as paints and stains. Muriatic acid makes the driveway look good, but it can leave it exposed for even deeper stains or damage to occur.

Cleaning Tile

  • A solution of muriatic acid and water can quickly clean stained grout lines, and remove hard water buildup and soap scum. Use a pump sprayer with a mixture of 1 part acid to 20 parts water. Gradually increase strength if needed. Allow the solution to sit on the surface you are cleaning for no more than 5 minutes and then rinse it off. Make sure that any nearby carpeting is completely covered. Any acid that comes in contact with the carpet will permanently stain it.

Safety Precautions

  • Only use a plastic or glass container for mixing the acid; muriatic acid can eat through metal. Always dilute the acid with water, not vice versa. Pouring water into the acid creates a chemical reaction that causes the acid to almost boil, and it can explode all over you. Rubber gloves, safety glasses, rubber boots, coveralls and a respirator with an acid-rated filter must be worn. Muriatic acid can cause severe burns, blindness and respiratory distress. Make sure that you water down all surounding foliage outside, to keep the acid from destoying your grass and plants.
    Use muriatic acid as a last resort. There are many other products on the market that are very effective at cleaning without the danger.

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