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How to remove salt deposits

Updated February 21, 2017

Salt deposits, otherwise know as efflorescence, can create unsightly white stains. Caused by a build-up of soluble salts due to moisture, these deposits can occur on both outdoor and indoor surfaces. Salt deposits can develop on concrete and masonry, plant pots, fish tanks, boats, and on the tiles in bathrooms, kitchens and pools. With a few basic household items, salt deposits can be safely and easily removed.

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  1. Combine equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Spot test a small amount of the solution on an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn't discolour the surface that you are planning to clean.

  2. Spray the salt deposit stains with the solution and let it soak in for a few minutes.

  3. Scrub the stain with the scrub brush. Thick salt deposits can also be carefully scraped with a razor blade if you are careful not to scratch the surface of the item you are cleaning. Spray more of the solution onto the surface as you work if the mixture begins to dry or dissipate.

  4. Rinse the treated area thoroughly with water. For outdoor surfaces, use a garden hose; high-pressure sprayers are great for rinsing and blasting stains on concrete and masonry. Wash any remaining cleaning solution off of indoor surfaces with a non-abrasive sponge soaked in water.

  5. Use a squeegee or rubber float to remove standing water from outdoor surfaces. Use a clean soft cloth to buff dry non-porous surfaces.

  6. Repeat this process if white salt deposits are still evident.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic bristle scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Hose

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.

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