I love me some muriatic acid!

It’s funny at times – thinking back on some of the choices we made when we were designing the renovation of our house.  Ah the stuff we didn’t know!

Now we do!  One decision we made, and that I am very happy with is the decision to NOT put in pasta tile.

As beautiful as they are, they are a handful of work.   We chose ceramic tile.

One other thing that was a fortunate hapinstance and was caused by our unfamiliarity with both dealing with peso currency, and in estimating based on the metric measure system.  We paid WAY more on tile than we would have if I had fully understood how much they were costing.  I’m glad now because I really do like the choices we made.

Another choice was when we finally got around to getting someone to come in and clean.  It was probably sometime close to the end of our second year before we sought housekeeping help.

photo.JPGOne thing that was requested by the housekeeper was muriatic acid*, and like most of us from NOB (North of the Border)  panic and warning ensued.  ACID, no way, are you crazy, that stuff is dangerous!

*Muriatic acid is prepared from hydrogen chloride. Hydrogen chloride from any of a number of processes is dissolved in water to yield hydrochloric or muriatic acid.


Tom and I were recently cleaning the grout around the tile.  I’ve done it before, and it seems as if this is the 3rd time.  Because our house is so open; we have numerous doors and windows that have only screen, no solid surface, air flows freely, and with that airflow comes dust and dirt and street grime. And add to that what we track in on our shoes, what the dogs track in,,, anyway, the grout gets filthy, and because it is porous it holds on to it.

So periodically the grout must be cleaned, and we’ve found the absolute easiest thing to do is poke a small hole in the top of a litre bottle of muriatic acid and run it around the edges of the tile covering the grout lines.  Wait a few seconds and go at it with a scrub brush, then wipe it up with a damp rag.  And o my gosh what a difference.

We started one night and got the office done, then the next morning Tom did the kitchen while I started on the sala, and when I couldn’t be on my knees any longer I did the kitchen counter tops, which also happen to be tile, white tile with white grout; looks fab, but what was I thinking.

I then started on the pantry, but still hadn’t finished with the sala.  But it really got me thinking – I did some internet research and gads, the warnings are intense – these came from one site –

·                        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.

A year or so ago we had to drain the pool to have it cleaned of the sarro (mineral buildup).  The cleaning crew came with a huge container of acid, a 20 ltr bucket, and a few litre plastic yogurt containers.  The rolled up their pants legs, took of their chanclas (flipflops), half filled the bucket with water and started dipping the yogurt cups in to the acid and tossing the acid across the tile, they would then brush the foaming acid and use the hose to wash it down.  Occasionally they would stick their feet in the bucket of water.  Yep, that’s it!

Tom did a blogpost about that experience which you can see here!

Water really diminishes acids efficiency, so it’s best to use it full strength, it cleans so quickly, and you just leave it down a short time.

Acid is my new best friend, I am no longer afraid of it and use it regularly.

I also found this list of uses

Muriatic acid has many commercial and home uses, including:
·                        industrial synthesis of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
·                        food additive
·                        gelatin production
·                        descaling
·                        leather processing
·                        household cleaning (when diluted)
·                        pickling of steel
·                        production of inorganic chemical compounds
·                        pH control of water, food and drugs
·                        regenerating ion exchange resins
·                        purification of table salt
·                        building construction
·                        to dissolve rock in oil production
·                        occurs naturally in gastric acid to digest food
hmmm, acid in my jello!, and in my salt, I’m just full of it!


About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
This entry was posted in cleaning tile, mineral deposits, muriatic acid, sarro. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to I love me some muriatic acid!

  1. Chuck says:

    lol. I loves me some muriatic acid.
    I’m with you. I’m tired of scrubbing tile for results that are pathetic…especially after new construction with less than careful workers and their dry cement covered shoes.

  2. we're pretty careful when we use the acid, animals outside, no kids, plenty of water and air flow….
    no preocupes!

  3. It's all about being responsible! Thanks.

  4. just be careful on your chrome, it will damage the finish. Silicone spray works great to keep the chrome shiny, and to resist the sarro buildup.

  5. I just might buy some lime/aka cal and drop it down the drains! Thanks!

  6. this is the first time using the acid, the past times have been all elbow grease, I'm sticking with the acid!

  7. what we have is a fozo septo, a big 3 chamber pit, – and we use plenty of water so the acid is fairly inert by the time it gets there!

    and we are cautious, honest!

  8. pamela says:

    Using muriatic acid can be very, very risky, Debbie, especially when you have curious kids at home. There is a lot of greener and healthier options out there for tile grout cleaning like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. There are also companies that do grout cleaning for heavy tasks. On the other hand, thanks much for posting your grout cleaning activity.

  9. Unknown says:

    Muriatic Acid is Hydrochloric Acid, it'll cause pretty nasty corrosion in your lungs if you breath it in.

    Fun fact: Alkalis(bases) are in general more dangerous to humans than acids as they react more readily with our skin. Even worse are organic solvents, don't Google that if you're squeemish.

    Acids are responsible for a lot of the “interesting” flavours in food too (citric acid and aceitic acid (vinegar)) are the two best known)!


  10. Susan says:

    I'm over my fears too. We use the heck out of muratic acid. Since our hardware sits for long periods between use. Grabbing the MA has become a regular ritual to get/keep our sinks, showers, and toilets working properly.

  11. Beverly says:

    Agree. When renting never could figure out why acid was under the sink. After buying, I realized the necessity of it.
    I read up and then started adding lime (like gardening lime) to the mixture before disposing of it. It neutralizes it….so I read.

  12. Calypso says:

    I would NOT mess with that stuff – period. Bleach and slightly more elbow work will do just as well for that job.

  13. Eric Chaffee says:

    Be cautious with that stuff as the little digester-critters in your septic system can be severely impacted by it, and stop doing you favors! ~eric.

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