I Do This For The Glory
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Nobleboro, Maine
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Re: Removing Stains from Concrete. On the Cheap
The fruit uses it's acid to clean the concrete by eating into the top layer, thus removing the stain. Being fruit, it's acids are not as "harsh" as the muriatic (or sulfuric, hydrochloric, hydrofluoric), which works wonders, but does strip off the top layer of concrete. Concrete is made partially from lime, which reacts with the acid. Muriatic also has a certain percentage of hydrochloric acid in it, which tends to off-gas rapidly, so make sure you use plenty of ventilation or you won't be breathing well for a few days. Also, the muriatic will oxidize stainless and just about any other metal very quickly, so cover it up so the fumes won't hurt it. It does work wonders though.
The ash is mainly a concentrated base, which is just the opposite of the acid. It is closer in relationship (the pH spread is smaller) than the acid and therefore doesn't "eat" into the floor as badly. It needs time to do it's job, it's not as fast acting as the acids, but it does work well. Soda ash and potash will work as well, if not better, but they're harder to find and usually regulated.
Another tip, but for decks, is to use chlorine. Straight chlorine will strip the old crap off a deck in about 5 minutes, just hose it on and wash it off with a hose, your deck will look like new in no time. This works with a bare-wood deck maninly, never used it on a painted one. The concentrated stuff can be found in most pool stores.
Look at the ingredients for most industrial cleaners and you'll find a few common chemicals, usually a lot cheaper than the tiny amount in the can or bottle. Oven cleaner is mainly NaOH, or Sodium Hydroxide, which is a severe base.
Winter Harbor, Maine
'81 CJ-8 Scrambled!
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