How To Stain Acid Washed Concrete

How to Apply Concrete Stain After an Acid Wash


Many contractors and homeowners use acid cleaners to wash their concrete flooring and exterior concrete surfaces. It’s an effective way to remove rust, oxidation, water and lime deposits, and other contaminants that won’t wash away with soap and water. For example, if you have a pool then you can acid wash the interior and surrounding concrete area in order to remove mineral stains. Acid will not however, clean or remove petroleum products such as sealers, oil, glues, or grease.

Acid Cleaners for Concrete Flooring and Exterior


There are a wide variety of acid cleaners, which come in concentrated and ready-to-use formulas. One of the most common cleaners for etching concrete is diluted muriatic acid.

Muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, is a powerful chemical that should be used with extreme caution. It can burn the skin and eyes. If you decide to use muriatic acid, you must dress appropriately. Do not forget to wear latex or nitrile gloves, safety goggles, a dust mask, and protective shoe covers. It’s also important to make sure the area is properly ventilated. The vapors from muriatic acid are strong, so use a fan if you are washing an indoor floor. You also have to be sure to dilute it correctly and rinse it well immediately because using too strong a solution or letting it sit will result with the surface of the concrete being eaten away.

If you are looking for alternatives to muriatic acid that pose less risks, sulfamic and phosphoric acid are safer options for individuals with less concrete etching experience.


Using a Concrete Stain After an Acid Wash


There is a major drawback when it comes to using acid cleaners. Once you have used a cleaner or acid etching product, most concrete acid stains will no longer be effective and staining acid washed concrete simply will not work. That’s because acid washing or etching expends the lime and minerals in the surface of the concrete that the acid stain reacts with. Some milder acid cleaners may still reduce the brightness of the concrete flooring color, leaving a fainted or dry look. This can be frustrating for obvious reasons. On the one hand, you want to clean your concrete flooring, patio or driveway. At the same time, you do not want to permanently damage the floor color, aesthetic, or the concrete surface.


The good news is our artist grade concrete stain at Concrete Camouflage is one of the few products that will work on concrete that has been acid washed. Most individuals are able to achieve a rich acid stained concrete color with only one coat. However, in certain situations you may need to apply a second coat for optimal results. Staining acid washed concrete can be a length process, but not an undoable one. To help, we offer 23 acid stain concrete colors available in the artist grade stain.


It’s best to test one coat first. Allow the coat to dry and react overnight for 24 hours before neutralizing the concrete acid stain. If the color is not rich enough, then you can apply a second coat. For more information, check out our page on how to stain concrete.


Final Thoughts


There are no dangers in applying a concrete stain after an acid wash. The caveat is most concrete acid stains will not work after an acid cleaner has been used on a floor. Concrete Camouflage’s artist grade concrete stains is one of the only brands that has the strength to perform in such a situation. Though even top quality concrete acid stain products will be affected, which is why we always say do not acid wash or acid etch concrete that you intend to stain.


Re-staining an area after an acid wash is challenging. However, that does not mean it’s an impossible assignment. It just requires the right tools to get the acid staining concrete project done.