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How to Treat Chemical Burns From Concrete

Updated November 21, 2016

Although the riskiest thing about concrete may seem to be falling and scraping yourself on it, wet concrete can actually be hazardous to work with. The alkaline nature of wet concrete is known to cause chemical burns to the skin. This is also true for other cement mixes, such as plaster and mortar. These all tend to contain Portland cement which is caustic. Knowing the proper treatment for a concrete burn will help you prevent more damage than necessary.

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  1. Remove any clothing, including socks, trousers, shirts, gloves or shoes that have wet concrete on them.

  2. Wash skin that has been exposed to wet concrete under warm running water. You should rinse for a minimum of 20 minutes, even if you do not see concrete remaining. This will help remove the residue that the concrete can leave behind.

  3. Rinse your skin with a pH-neutral cleanser. This can either be a commercial cleanser, distilled white vinegar or even citrus juice. Since the concrete is an alkaline, the acidic properties of vinegar and citrus will help neutralise the concrete's effects.

  4. Apply aloe vera to the skin to soothe the burn. Then wrap the burn loosely with sterile bandage to keep out debris and bacteria. However, avoid lotions and lanolins. These products hold the cement residue next to the skin. Contact a medical professional to find out if further treatment is needed.

  5. Contact a physician if red irritated skin becomes swollen or if blistering occurs. Sometimes concrete burns appear minor, like a red rash at first, but several days later turn into more severe burns.

  6. Tip

    Help prevent burns by wearing protective clothing. Wear long sleeves and trousers and tuck the ends of them into your gloves or socks. Also wear protective eye gear to prevent damage to your eyes. When handling clothing and gloves that have wet concrete on them, either use clean gloves or pick them up by the inside of the clothing to avoid further contact with the concrete. When removing gloves, rinse the outside of the gloves off first using running water. Then hold your hands downward to prevent the water from running up your arms. Use your left hand to remove the fingers of the glove on your right hand. Use your right hand to completely remove the left glove. Shake the right one off. When concrete has come in contact with your eyes, rinse them for a full 20 minutes and then contact an ophthalmologist for further treatment.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • pH-neutral cleanser
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Citrus juice

About the Author

Erin Ringwald
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