How to remove salt stains from concrete


Concrete surfaces can end up with salt stains. This issue is likely to occur during the winter, once the moisture in concrete garage floors evaporates, leaving behind salt particles that have crystallized. These salt crystals will enter the pores on the concrete floor which can result in flaking or breaking of some areas, leading to damage. There might also be visible white salt stains on the concrete floor. Read further to learn ways to remove salt stains from concrete. 

Steps on how to remove salt stains from concrete floors

Before dealing with salt stains on concrete, make sure that the entire floor is thoroughly cleaned to reveal all the damage and stains that have formed. It is important to note that water alone cannot effectively eliminate the salt deposits. Simply follow the steps below on how to remove salt stains from concrete floors. 

  • Spray or splash water on the areas with salt stains.
  • With a bucket, fill it with warm water and add vinegar and detergent. 
  • Soak a broom with stiff bristles in the bucket. 
  • Scrub the concrete floor for a few minutes until the residue starts to slacken and lift. 
  • Use a mop to get rid of the excess water. If you have a wet vacuum on hand, that’s even better. 
  • Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water. 
  • Scrub off with the broom again and mop away the excess water. 
  • Allow the area to completely dry.

In case the stain and residue linger, repeat the process until the stained areas are free from any salt residue. 

For stubborn salt stains, you need to use an aggressive cleaning product. Mix 1-part weak hydrochloric acid with 20 parts water. Be careful when handling the acid when applying this solution to the concrete floor. 

Important considerations when applying a protective coating

  • The concrete floor should be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate any contaminants.
  • When you discover oil and grease stains from your vehicle, use a degreaser to scrub them away. 
  • Any repairs or restoration must be done right away since the floor might be subjected to further damage if you wait longer. 
  • Pressure wash the entire area to ensure that it is thoroughly clean. 
  • Apply the protective epoxy coating to create a protective barrier that can prevent the entry of salt residue into the pores. 
  • Allow the coating to completely dry before moving your vehicle inside. 

The buildup of salt residue and the ensuing salt stains can be prevented with the help of these tips. 

Does vinegar remove salt stains from concrete?

You can use vinegar to get rid of salt stains from concrete with the following steps.

  • Sweep the site with a broom. 
  • Prepare a solution by mixing a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water in a bucket.
  • Dip a brush into the solution and scrub the concrete floor until the salt stains are lifted, applying pressure as needed. 
  • With a bucket that contains plain water, immerse a brush and wash the floor to get rid of any leftover vinegar. 
  • Allow the floor to air dry. 

What will neutralize salt on concrete?

Although salt is vital in melting ice during the winter, it can damage concrete surfaces. The salt will eventually erode through the concrete, resulting in unappealing cavities and a stained facade. With this in mind, it is vital to neutralize the salt with the following steps.

  • Spray warm water on the concrete to neutralize and thaw as much salt as possible. It is recommended to do this on a warm day. In case it’s not practical to wait for a warm day, brush off as much liquid as possible. 
  • Scrub the concrete thoroughly using a stiff brush to get rid of the salt debris. Continue to scrub and spray on the concrete until it is clean.
  • Repeat this process as often as possible during the winter to prevent long-term damage to the concrete surfaces. 

How do you remove white spots on concrete?

White spots on new concrete are not uncommon. This type of discoloration, which is efflorescence, is due to the salt that rises to the surface of new concrete by the natural curing method. 

The amount of these salts and the ensuing difficulty in removing these white spots is based on various factors including the amount of salt dissolved in the water that was utilized to mix the concrete, the concrete itself, and the amount of salt in the sand and gravel used. Although the white spots do not affect the strength or durability of the concrete, it can be aesthetically unappealing. Let’s take a look at some of the methods to remove these white spots.

  • Use an acid-based efflorescence cleaner. You can easily find one at home centers and hardware stores. Spray the cleaner on the concrete and use a nylon brush to scrub on the white spots. Wear gloves, protective clothing, and eye protection while doing this task. Rinse away the cleaner with water and allow the concrete to dry.
  • Applying a concrete sealer or concrete paint on the dry concrete. The paint or sealer will aid in making the surface last for a longer time and can prevent the additional formation of white spots on the surface.

Final thoughts

When the concrete surfaces in your house end up with salt stains, they can be undesirable to look at. With the help of the methods on how to remove salt stains from concrete, you can readily deal with this type of stain in no time. 

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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