Remove White Powder from Concrete Walls
LESLIE: Eleanor in Arizona has an interesting question. As I read it, it says, “Water is leaving a white powdery substance on walls.” Well, Eleanor, my question to you is why is there water on your walls?
TOM: This can’t be good.
ELEANOR: No, the … well, we have a block wall between the neighbor’s house and ours; just a concrete – regular concrete block wall.
ELEANOR: And his water … his sprinklers, when he’s watering his lawn, hits his side of the fence. But on my side of the fence, it comes through and it’s just like a white residue. And I … someone told me that there’s a lot of salt here in the water here in Arizona. So I don’t know if that’s what’s coming through. But it just is powdery and it even looks like a mildew-y thing; a growth – you know, fuzzy.
TOM: Yeah, well that’s a …
ELEANOR: Like mold or something.
TOM: It’s not mold. You had it right the first time. It’s mineral salts. And what happens is this. When those sprinklers hit the concrete block wall, it gets it very, very wet. And even the …
LESLIE: And then that concrete is hydroscopic so it pulls it into the inside.
TOM: Exactly. And so, even if the soil is wet below it, it kind of sucks right up. And then what happens is the water comes to the surface and it evaporates but it leaves behind it’s mineral salts. So that like whitish-gray …
LESLIE: It’s your own science experiment.
TOM: Exactly. That whitish-gray stuff is simply mineral salts that’s on there. So it’s not hurting the wall and it’s not a mold that’s going to hurt you. It’s really just a cosmetic issue. You can wipe it off. You can also use like a vinegar and water solution to wipe it off because that will, basically, melt the salt away.
ELEANOR: Oh, just vinegar? Plain vinegar, huh?
TOM: Well, white vinegar.
ELEANOR: White vinegar.
TOM: Don’t do red vinegar; it’ll really smell. (laughing) Your whole house will smell like a salad bowl if you do that.
ELEANOR: (laughing) Right.
ELEANOR: Okay, I’ll try that. Thank you.
TOM: Simple problem, simple solution. Eleanor, thank you so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.