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I have recently used different chemicals to restore, refinish and treat various types of wall and millwork surfaces. E.g. I have stripped old paint using Peel Away 1 from plaster and antique millwork, which I believe is basic and needs to be neutralized with acid (vinegar or similar). I also cleaned mortar and dust residues from exposed brick using hydrochloric acid, which I neutralized with a baking soda solution (basic). In yet another example, I plastered some brick walls with a homemade plaster mix (hydraulic lime + sand), which also is basic.

After completing all of these surface treatments, should I always aim to achieve a pH of 7 by neutralizing with a solution of the opposite pH? Or are there other factors to be taken into consideration?

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If you are cleaning something that can be washed, you can neutralize the pH with water. After using HCl on bricks, I would just hose them off. The acid will become very dilute quickly. pH just measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution, so if you add a bunch of water (neutral pH) the pH will approach neutral.

I also don't think you need to worry about the pH of solids such as dried plaster.

  • i couldn't hose it off, it was indoor. so i sponged it with baking sode in water – amphibient Feb 21 '13 at 20:52

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