Masonry projects that use cement products, like mortar, concrete, and grout, can be messy. Muriatic acid is a sure way to clean masonry surfaces. This product is a very strong acid that will clean dried cement products off stones, bricks and other masonry surfaces.
This is a very effective cleaning agent. It is also a very dangerous product and extreme caution must be used when cleaning with muriatic acid. If the proper safety precautions aren't followed, severe injury can result.
Now that I've scared you a little, let me add that, with the proper precautions, muriatic acid can be used as a great cleaner. I use it at the end of almost every job that involves a stone wall, patio, steps or any other hardscape made with mortar or concrete. Follow the safety tips below and you can use muriatic acid safely and effectively.
- Keep away from children. Don't let kids anywhere near this stuff.
- Always wear proper safety gear. You need thick rubber gloves, a respirator, safety glasses, a long sleeve shirt, and pants that completely cover your legs. This cleaner can stain your clothes, so wear something you don't mind getting dirty.
- Have a supply of clean water on hand. Muriatic acid is almost always diluted with water before being used for cleaning. Water is used to wet the surface before and after cleaning. Fresh water can also be used to wash off any that comes in contact with your skin. There have been a few occasions where some muriatic acid has splashed on my hands and arms. A little fresh water neutralizes the acid and takes care of the sting. Always have a running hose nearby.
- Always pour acid into water, never water into acid. You'll be diluting the muriatic acid with water before cleaning any masonry surfaces. Use a plastic bucket to mix in and always add the water to the bucket first and then slowly pour in the acid. Be careful when pouring the acid; the fumes are intense and can be painful if inhaled. Never pour water into a bucket of acid. A reaction can occur that can cause the acid to bubble out of the bucket and onto you. Always pour the acid into water.
- Take your time. Work slowly. If you rush, you're more apt to lose concentration and spill or splash the muriatic acid.
Now that you know the safety precautions that must be used when cleaning masonry surfaces with muriatic acid, read this article about how to clean cement with muriatic acid.