Cleaning Bathroom Tile with Muriatic Acid

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If you have a tile shower that is plagued by layers of soap scum that you are certain will never come off, fret no more! Even though tackling soap scum can seem like a daunting task, there are means and methods of cleaning that will not only remove soap scum but will also renew the surface beneath it. One such cleaning method entails scrubbing with muriatic acid.

Muriatic acid is another name for hydrochloric acid. Other names sometimes used to reference it are 'spirits of salt' or 'acidum salis.' Muriatic acid is arrived at through the mixing of hydrogen chloride with water, which results in hydrochloric acid. It is a colorless, transparent liquid that his highly corrosive and works well in cleaning but also has a multitude of other uses such as leather processing, pickling of steel, building construction, and dissolving rock during oil production, just to name a few.

To use muriatic acid in cleaning, you must first dilute it, which should be done outside due to harsh chemical fumes. The proper mixing ratio for cleaning is one part muriatic acid to five parts water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection not only when mixing but also while using this product and wash it off promptly should it make contact with bare skin. Failure to protect skin and eyes from contact with muriatic acid can result in severe burns.

With your mixture ready to go, arm yourself with a nylon scouring pad and prepare to scrub! Dip the pad in the mixture and then bring it into contact with the tile in your shower, scrubbing in a circular motion. It is easiest to work in circles in small sections in order to track your progress as you go. A clean, bright surface should be exposed as you scrub with soap scum rapidly becoming a problem of the past. Once you have completed the scrubbing process, rinse away the muriatic acid with cold water to reveal the renewed tile below.

Since muriatic acid is also used to balance PH in swimming pools as well as to remove excess brick mortar, you can usually find it in pool supply stores or home centers. Since muriatic acid is a strong chemical, be sure to read all instructions prior to handling and prepare yourself to follow them exactly. Don't forget to dilute it properly in a well-ventilated area (outside is best) while wearing protective gear. Muriatic acid will do an excellent job cleaning your tiled shower, but it does require safe handling on your part to ensure a good result free of chemical damage to yourself or someone else.

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April 11, 2014  •  11:27 AM
some questions regarding muriatic acid:
- can this be used on marble?
- is this effective for cleaning the bowl in a toilet? if so, is it the same ratio?
April 16, 2014  •  05:32 PM
There has been mention of potential for discoloration or chemical reactions in the case of marble. When it comes to toilets, the consensus seems to be that it is safe for the toilet bowl but can be hazardous to the plumbing beyond the bowl itself.