Q:

How do you remove efflorescence from basement walls?

A:

Quick Answer

Remove efflorescence from basement walls by wetting the walls with water, scrubbing with a vinegar solution and rinsing with water. Apply a sealer after removing the efflorescence to prevent it from forming again. If you apply a sealer or paint without removing efflorescence, you risk making the problem worse.

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Full Answer

  1. Wet the walls with water

    Use a sponge and bucket of water to wet the walls. Applying water before application of the vinegar prevents the solution from soaking too deep within the concrete, which can result in damage to the wall. Vinegar is a mild acid that helps neutralize the alkalinity of the efflorescence.

  2. Scrub with vinegar

    Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bucket. Use a scrub brush to scrub the walls and remove the efflorescence. For walls where mold is a problem, use a trisodium phosphate solution instead of vinegar.

  3. Rinse with water

    Fill a bucket with water, and rinse the wall using a sponge. Rinse the sponge frequently. Change the water in the bucket if it becomes dirty.

  4. Seal the wall

    Allow several days for the wall to dry completely. Direct fans toward the wall to speed the evaporation of the water. Apply a concrete sealer to the surface, following the manufacturer's directions, to prevent further efflorescence.

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