Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Clean Tile with Muriatic Acid


To remove soap scum and hard water deposits from a tile wall in a bathroom, use muriatic acid diluted with water. Follow the warning and instructions on the bottle, and be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Watch the video to find out more. ...More




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How to Clean Tile with Muriatic Acid

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To remove soap scum and hard water deposits from a tile wall in a bathroom, mix one part muriatic acid with five parts water. Since muriatic acid is a harsh chemical, mix it outside.

Follow the warning and instructions on the bottle, and be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Apply the mixture with a nylon scouring pad in small circles over the tile. After rinsing the solution off with cold water, the tile will look as good as new.



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13 Comments on “How to Clean Tile with Muriatic Acid”

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  1. Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Yes, Sally, this cleaning solution will work on any glazed tile. However, don’t use it on hand-painted tile; the acid might remove the paint. Also, note that muriatic acid should be used only after exhausting all other options, including scouring powders and diluted bleach. The acid is very strong and has a very powerful odor. Good luck!–Joe T.

  2. Debra Says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Muriatic acid (not diluted – 100 percent strength) was used to clean the grout on floor tile in an existing bathroom and now the metal items in the room look pitted and tarnished. Is there a way to stop this and restore the items. Also the room was freshly painted and the walls look like they are being effected too. Would using vinegar or baking soda to wash the walls and metal items help?

  3. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 6th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Hi Debra,
    As you discovered, muriatic acid should be diluted according to the instructions on the bottle before being used for cleaning purposes. The corrosion you’re seeing was probably caused by the fumes from the acid while it was being used, which should have dissipated over time. But it would be a good idea to wash the walls and fixtures down with a sponge and plain water just to be sure all the residue has been removed. Don’t use vinegar, since it’s an acid as well, but adding baking soda to the water would be a good idea, since it’s an alkaline compound and will help to neutralize any acid.

  4. Charlie Elwis Says:
    June 10th, 2011 at 12:03 am

    I prefer 20% vinegar which you can buy at a local hardwarw store for cleaning ceramic tile and grout. Muriatic acid is a dangerous substance and not worth the risk of using.

  5. Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    June 11th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hey Charlie, Thanks for the tip. I know that vinegar is a very effective–and nontoxic–cleaner. Muriatic acid is used as a last resort when all other cleansers have failed. Thanks for writing and good luck!–Joe T.

  6. karen Says:
    November 6th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Vinegar does not work!!

  7. karen Says:
    November 6th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    How to clean sealed mexican tile?

  8. Quincy Says:
    November 28th, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Don’t try muratic acid unless you dilute it a ton karen. im looking at some royally messed up kitchen tiles because the plumber tried to use it to clean them.

  9. pudding Says:
    November 30th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    wouldn’t lemon be stronger acide than vinegar -_- the pH is lower as well…? :D i bought Hcl for my alunium home made grenade xD

  10. Elizabeth Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for the How To. It was very helpful. We moved into a condo with a lot of soap scum and hard water on the bath/shower. The glass doors are a mess and was considering removing them. I’ll have to protect the aluminium…best to take glass doors outside. Still need an idea on how to protect all those things I can’t remove. Got an idea? Thanks again.

  11. Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    February 23rd, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Hi Elizabeth, Muriatic acid can damage the aluminum frame around the glass shower door, even when it’s diluted. But how to best to protect the aluminum? The acid will easily dissolve the adhesive on masking tape or duct tape, so you can’t masked it off. You can try coating the aluminum in petroleum jelly, but that’s a bit messy to clean up. My suggestion is to just be extremely careful not to flood the glass surface with the muriatic acid, and to work in small areas, especially close to the aluminum. If acid gets on the aluminum, flush it immediately with cold water. Damage will occur only if the acid is allowed to sit on the aluminum for awhile. Finally, it’s important to note that muriatic acid should only be used as a last resort when all other cleansers have failed, and it should be heavily diluted. Thanks, Elizabeth. Good luck!–Joe T.

  12. Bill Says:
    February 8th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Is there a special spray bottle I can use to spray dilute acid on vertical surfaces??

  13. Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Bill, I don’t know of a spray bottle specifically designed for spraying a diluted-acid solution, but they do make sprayers for applying bleach. If you use a standard plant mister to spray bleach, the bleach will eventually dissolve the interior plastic parts. Bleach sprayers are made from tougher plastics, which withstand bleach. A bleach sprayer might work for the diluted acid, but again, I’m not sure. Thanks for writing and good luck.–Joe T.

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