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MsBabyD
MsBabyD, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 61
Experience:  31 years experience Certified home inspector with 34 specialty certifications.
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I spilled CLR in the garage and didnt know it. It sat there

Resolved Question:

I spilled CLR in the garage and didn't know it. It sat there for several months. It is in about a 3 foot wide irregular spot on the floor and has eaten through the finish a bit. I swept up some of it, but much of it won't come off. It seems bonded to the concrete. Or perhaps the concrete has become discolored? How can I get it up and stop the damage? and how do I know it is all up? And how do I fix it? concrete patch? Thanks.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  MsBabyD replied 8 months ago.

MsBabyD :

Hello! I am here to help you with any questions you may have.

Customer:

I spilled CLR in the garage and didn't know it. It sat there for several months. It is in about a 3 foot wide irregular spot on the floor and has eaten through the finish a bit. I swept up some of it, but much of it won't come off. It seems bonded to the concrete. Or perhaps the concrete has become discolored? How can I get it up and stop the damage? and how do I know it is all up? And how do I fix it? concrete patch? Thanks.

MsBabyD :

CLR has permanently damaged the cement . To wash what is left wear rubber gloves use your hose and rinse out the area. How badly is the cement damaged?

Customer:

That doesn't work. It has bonded into the concrete or something. I have scrubbed it for 90 minutes and it is only slightly smaller.

MsBabyD :

Instead of a concrete pact which is very noticable and even though it may have been a light spill everyone assume the worse there is a product you can roll on your grage floor that will actually increase the value of your hoome which would you like?

MsBabyD :

It ate threw the cement there is no more cement it will not come back

Customer:

I am not trying to get the cement back, I am trying to get the clr up so it doesn't do further damage

MsBabyD :

the stain will not improve the cement is damaged

MsBabyD :

well then just rinse it with water make sure it did not contact anything elde and you will be fine

MsBabyD :

how large was the spill?

Customer:

Rinsing it with water is not getting it done. Scrubbing it with detergent and water is not getting it done either.

MsBabyD :

No I am telling you rinse it with water only Hold on I will show you

MsBabyD :

Removing efflorescence deposits on masonry walls...


Efflorescence on concrete foundation below grade
Full Size Image


Efflorescence is a fancy name for white, crystalline deposits that can appear on masonry or concrete. These deposits occur when moisture within the masonry rises to the surface, carrying minerals with it. The moisture evaporates, leaving the minerals behind. This often occurs with new masonry work and usually stops when the masonry has thoroughly dried.


However, if there is a source of moisture pushing through the masonry such as a damp below-grade foundation, the efflorescence will continue building up. I've seen some basement walls that looked like the Carlsbad Caverns!! The efflorescence on this wall (graphic left) is so thick (the white areas) that it falls off the wall like dandruff... and is piled on the foundation ledge like snow!


Severe, persistent efflorescence is not harmful, just a visible symptom of excessive moisture in the cement. Excessive moisture is the cause of a myriad of problems in the home, from stinky moldy basements to insect problems.


Today, there are various cement and non-cement-based products that can be used to seal foundation walls from the inside to reduce or eliminate efflorescence. However, efflorescence must be removed first for these products to stick properly.


Mother Nature does a great job on outdoor masonry via acidic rain, as efflorescence is rarely seen outdoors... but it takes years for a cement surface to be neutralized "naturally". For indoor work, efflorescence can be removed with plain water and/or with TSP and a very stiff bristle brush. A phosphoric acid masonry cleaner is also acceptable for indoor use. As mentioned earlier, don't mix TSP and acid!


If you plan on coating or painting the surface, consider using a phosphoric acid masonry cleaner before resorting to using muriatic acid! Follow the dilution recommendations on the product label or at the manufacturer's website.


If you must use muriatic acid to remove efflorescence, follow these steps (be sure to follow the safety recommendations earlier in this article):



  1. Dampen the wall.

  2. Mix the acid with water. 1 part acid to 10 parts water (by volume) is typical, but dilutions as light as 1 part acid to 16 parts water work well, too. (1-16 is easier to measure... that's 1 cup acid to 1 gallon of water.) Read the label on the product you buy and follow the recommendations, if any. Remember... add the acid to the water, not water to acid!

  3. Brush or spray acid onto affected area. Do not use a metal sprayer. A plastic sprayer will work for a while, but will eventually be destroyed by the acid. Have a few extras nearby and throw away used sprayers when finished.

  4. Let the acid sit for no more than a few minutes, less if you can see the efflorescence lifting.

  5. Scrub off any remaining residue with a stiff brush while rinsing thoroughly with water. There are long handled masonry brushes ideal for this job. To neutralize any remaining acid, you can spray a neutralizing rinse of one (1) cup household ammonia to one (1) gallon of water.


This is a nasty, sloppy and potentially dangerous job, so understand what you are getting into before you start this one! And I do not recommend using muriatic acid indoors except in extreme circumstances and, hopefully, by experienced professionals who know how to deal with the dangerous fumes!


Etching masonry for paint and patching preparation


"Etching" is a process where a chemical is applied to a surface to degrade it slightly. Etching is used to make circuit boards, where a thin copper sheet is selectively dissolved away to form a path for electricity. In masonry work, etching is a way to chemically clean and prepare masonry for repair or painting.


Actually, the process of efflorescence removal discussed above also etches the masonry. Etching roughens the surface of the masonry, allowing better adhesion and absorption of both paints and patching materials.


Use the same procedure and cautions for etching as described above for efflorescence.


Removing mortar stains from masonry and/or ceramic tile


Muriatic acid can quickly remove mortar stains from masonry. Again, phosphoric acid masonry cleaner may be adequate if the staining is not too severe. As any tile professional will tell you, phosphoric acid is routinely used for removal of grout residue from ceramic tile and stone.


Leave the acid in contact with the masonry for a minimal amount of time, in some cases just ten or fifteen seconds! New stains will release almost instantly. Quickly hose off all acid and reapply only as necessary until staining disappears. When satisfied, rinse thoroughly and then use a neutralizing solution of one cup household ammonia to one gallon of water and then do a final thorough rinse with water.


How to safely dispose of muriatic acid or clean up muriatic acid spills...


My appreciation Bert Tisher for suggesting I add muriatic acid clean-up and disposal information in this article. It was a huge oversight! Again, an observant reader comes to my rescue!!


Muriatic acid should NEVER be poured down a storm drain, a sink or flushed down a toilet. It can cause extreme damage to pipes, dissolve solder and damage the biological balance of your septic system. Throwing away even a closed container of muriatic acid with the trash can be dangerous for trash handlers, their trucks and possibly cause unexpected chemical reactions in landfills.


Small quantities of spilled muriatic acid will not cause widespread environmental disaster, but it can cause severe damage to plants and animals that may come into contact with it. It's easy to neutralize a muriatic acid spill common household and/or garden chemicals.


Here are some suggestions...


1) Recycle it!


Many counties or cities have drop sites for recycling hazardous chemicals such as oil-based paints and other household chemicals. Most will also accept muriatic acid. Call your local recycling center for more info.


2) Neutralize it!


Earlier, I mentioned using lime (the type used on lawns and gardens) to neutralize acid spills. Spreading a generous quantity of lime (the powdered or crushed type used for lawn or gardens) or baking soda and adding water will cause a distinctive "fizz" as the lime reacts with the acid to produce a harmless salt, water and release carbon dioxide. I prefer garden lime over baking soda since it is less expensive, is sold in larger bags and most gardeners have some laying around!


You can also use lime to neutralize leftover muriatic acid. Get a large bucket. I prefer 5-gallon size dangerous since the chance of dangerous spattering is minimized in a large bucket. Put three of four cups of lime in the bottom and a gallon of water. Give it a stir with a long disposable wooden stirrer (an old 1x2 is fine). Slowly add the acid to the bucket keeping your face away while pouring (and wearing your respirator). Stir, adding more acid and more lime until all chemical "fizzing" has stopped. The fully neutralized acid can now be safely disposed down a sink or storm drain without fear of damage to your septic system or the environment.

MsBabyD :

Seriously it is already been on there to long. rinsing it is your only solution

Customer:

Do you recommend putting baking soda on it to neutralize the acid?

MsBabyD :

If anything came off it was the deterioration of the cement. If it is not in a notiable spot rinse it and leave it. If it is there are garage floor resurfacing that you can place on the whole floor and it will cover it. It all depends on what you want to do. But you can not clean it or make it go away.

Customer:

I am not trying to make it go away. I am trying to get all the clr off the floor. It will not come off with just rinsing.

Customer:

I realize the concrete is damaged. I just want to get the CLR off so that it doesn't do further damage.

MsBabyD :

Rinsing that is all you can do

MsBabyD :

As I stated before

Customer:

Rinsing is not getting the CLR off the floor. So, I should just let it sit there and continue to eat through the concrete?

MsBabyD :

Rinsing is the only way to get CLR that has been left on the floor for an undetermined amount of time.

MsBabyD :

The damage is already dome. I explained this to you the only way which the process has already accrued is to rinse it completely

MsBabyD :

If there was another answer believe me I would love to give it to you

Customer:

I have tried rinsing. It does not work. So, you are basically saying I cannot get it off. if that's the case, why not put baking soda down to at least neutralize it?

MsBabyD :

No I am saying try the 5 gallon bucket with the 5 cups of lime juice and flour it will at least neutralize it. and then raise it but liet it sit on there. How long was the CLR on the cement? Baking soda alone wont neutralize it it need the juice acid

MsBabyD :

I going to call them personally OK

Customer:

Okay, but CLR is acidic, so why add more acid in lime juice? Why not try to neutralize the acid with something alkaline?

MsBabyD :

OK how long was the clr down for?

MsBabyD :

a few weeks a month?

Customer:

several months

MsBabyD :

ok let me tell them'

MsBabyD :

The said the aicd is differant, and has penetrated into the cement. But to slow it and try and stop it

MsBabyD :

to

MsBabyD :

2) Neutralize it!


Earlier, I mentioned using lime (the type used on lawns and gardens) to neutralize acid spills. Spreading a generous quantity of lime (the powdered or crushed type used for lawn or gardens) or baking soda and adding water will cause a distinctive "fizz" as the lime reacts with the acid to produce a harmless salt, water and release carbon dioxide. I prefer garden lime over baking soda since it is less expensive, is sold in larger bags and most gardeners have some laying around!


You can also use lime to neutralize leftover muriatic acid. Get a large bucket. I prefer 5-gallon size dangerous since the chance of dangerous spattering is minimized in a large bucket. Put three of four cups of lime in the bottom and a gallon of water. Give it a stir with a long disposable wooden stirrer (an old 1x2 is fine). Slowly add the acid to the bucket keeping your face away while pouring (and wearing your respirator). Stir, adding more acid and more lime until all chemical "fizzing" has stopped. The fully neutralized acid can now be safely disposed down a sink or storm drain without fear of damage to your septic system or the environment.

MsBabyD :

line neutralize muriatic acid

MsBabyD :

lime

MsBabyD :

and this will not damage anything else in your home

Customer:

Not sure what you are recommending. The first paragraphs recommends baking soda or lime mixed with water (with preference for lime only because of price). The second paragraph is instructions on how to safely dispose of muriatric acid and does not seem to apply here. I do not have lime but I do have baking soda. So, I suppose I can mix it with water and pour it onto the CLR spot. Correct?

MsBabyD :

it reacts with the stone and stand and other materials that make up the cement. And don't scrub it no more it only brings off the dead covering exposing the eaten amateril

MsBabyD :

Yes but 5 cups of baking soda in the bottom of he buckets and add water till it is pasty

Customer:

How long should I let it sit?

MsBabyD :

apply is like a past over the area ns let it stay there.

Customer:

Let it stay there indefinitely?

MsBabyD :

where trying to ubsorb any of the acid that is leak down

MsBabyD :

no let it stay till you see some cracks in it the said

Customer:

some cracks in what?

MsBabyD :

i guess it is pulling the chemical from the cement as best as possible. In the pasty baking soda

Customer:

How long should I leave the paste on?

MsBabyD :

The said check it daily and it should dry uo within a few days 3-5

Customer:

And once this is all done, what was the resurfacing thing you mentioned?

MsBabyD :

after it is dry the said to swipe it up as much as possible and let it stay dry

MsBabyD :

What do you want you floor to look like the cement in the area?

Customer:

I don't understand the question. Ideally would fix the superficial damage, somehow. Maybe a thin coat of concrete over top? you seemed to have something else in mind though?

MsBabyD :

at home depot and lowes they have several garage floor epoxy paint you can get one that matches your floor if you just want to do that spot. You have dozen to choose from but the rep said to use epoxy. They have then to match your floor

Customer:

The floor is untreated now. The floor is "gravelly" you can see the stones popping out. Seems like painting it would not be enough.

MsBabyD :

the epoxy files it in that why she said to use it.

Customer:

I meant the one spot is "gravelly" not the whole floor.

Customer:

Do I need to etch with acid first?

Customer:

Maybe skip the clr spot?

MsBabyD :

If you feel betther the customer serve rep said you can but a small can of already mixed cement and smooth over it see how it dries first

MsBabyD :

she said not more acid nothing will adheard to it

Customer:

I was thinking for the rest of the floor besides the spot. It is untreated concrete. Anyway, are you saying just put down epoxy paint on the whole floor with no prep?

MsBabyD :

get a spacula and already mixed or a bag of small cement mixe it spread it even and see it id comes out the way you like you may not need the other

MsBabyD :

Epoxy is awesome it actually increases the value of your home when you do it and it is easy it like painting. But repair the small aptch first.

MsBabyD :

are you handy

Customer:

Okay, that's what I was think, patch the concrete and then paint the whole thing. Does the epoxy paint need any prep?

MsBabyD :

so do some don just don get the area wet until you have completely let it dry OK

MsBabyD :

some do sorry

Customer:

I am middling. I am not sure I trust myself with a concrete patch. If I mess it up, I will have to dump some more CLR on it and start over :)

Customer:

Thanks for your help. Thanks for hanging in there, too.

MsBabyD :

I did one it was basically a thicker paint then they give you this little granules you shake over it looks really nice plus it a plus for resell

MsBabyD :

You will be fin start in the middle and go slow

MsBabyD :

if you start at the deep end then you just spread it to the ends where needs play the epoxy covers it :o)

MsBabyD :

Send me a picture before

MsBabyD :

oh dont forget to remove the drain clean out when you epoxy and put newspaper in it or tape it should show you how

MsBabyD :

Can you send a picture?

Customer:

one minute

MsBabyD :

k

Customer:

Full Size Image

MsBabyD :

oh wow ok start the cement mis in the center smooth it out there the spread to ends

Customer:

What do you think? What drain are you talking about?

MsBabyD :

I want to see a during picture too

MsBabyD :

you dont have any drains in your garage?

MsBabyD :

The epoxy will be a world of wonder

MsBabyD :

start the cement by the rocks press it in and smooth it down

Customer:

The patch will have to be really thin, right? It is not very deep

MsBabyD :

just enough to smooth that out the epoxy will fill too

Customer:

Okay. There is no prep for the expoxy? Just clean the floor and then put it down?

MsBabyD :

it will be thick int the rocky area funny clr works on plastic and chrome and does that to cement

MsBabyD :

pretty much so when I did it make sure the cement is dry it pretty cheat now days to

MsBabyD :

is comes in a box you pick the color and everything

Customer:

Okay, gotta, go. Thanks for all your help. I would be happy to send a "during" pic but it won't be for a while. How would I send it once I get off this chat, anyway?

MsBabyD :

you will be fine I have faith send me a piture when you get that patched ok

MsBabyD :

To MsBabyD I am like the only girl on here :o)

MsBabyD :

send me a message it doesnt cost you anything to do that

Customer:

Okay. Thanks for all time!

MsBabyD :

No Problem Good luck I cant wait!

MsBabyD, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 61
Experience: 31 years experience Certified home inspector with 34 specialty certifications.
MsBabyD and 4 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  MsBabyD replied 8 months ago.
How is the floor coming?
Brook

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