Remove Hard Stains

Here are some handy tips for those hard-to-remove stains that can make the outside of your home look shabby or worn.

Even busy housekeepers may have to take time to examine stains that are hard to clean. Each of the following stains may be tough to remove, and you may have to spend some time cleaning them.

Graffiti may require several different methods of cleaning because sometimes the vandals use spray paint, a marking pen, ink, crayon, or fingernail polish. If you are lucky and the wall or floor surface has already been sealed, the job will be much easier. A janitorial supply store can sell you a graffiti remover that will remove markings and more if the surface was sealed before the damage occurred. But if the surface was not sealed, any graffiti remover will only be partially effective. Make sure when you use chemicals to give them time to work. When cleaning concrete or blocks, you can also use a scraper, wire brush, or sandpaper. Sandpaper or sometimes paint thinner works well on paint if you are careful. If you want to save a lot of time and effort, just put a fresh coat of paint over the graffiti.

Here is a list of materials that you should not put graffiti remover on unless the label says it is okay: plastic, paint, or varnish. Then you may need to sandblast it or use sandpaper to remove the graffiti.



Efflorescence is that white powdery residue found on basement walls. It is caused by moisture being forced through the porous concrete by hydrostatic pressure. Efflorescence is the worst where there are cracks in the foundation. When the moisture evaporates, the white minerals will remain. You might want to see about having cracks in the foundation fixed. You can try to take a cleaning brush and water to remove the graffiti, and if that does not work, try using detergent in the water, and scrub it again. If that is ineffective, use phosphoric acid and nine parts water. Neutralize the substance with an eighth of a cup of baking soda and a gallon of water. If the stains persist, use one part muriatic acid and ten parts water.

Soak the spot with water, and then apply the solution with a scrub brush. After it stops bubbling, wash the wall with one part ammonia and two parts water. Then rinse the area with plain water. See about getting your foundation walls fixed, as well as having the walls sealed and painted.

Scrub asphalt with hot water and scouring powder. If that does not work, try a poultice of lighter fluid and whiting or undiluted citrus cleaner and daub the surface with a cloth. If necessary, you can also rub or wipe the area.

For dried paint, use sandpaper or steel wool. If you are careful, you can use paint thinner. If it was sealed before you got paint on it, be careful not to ruin the surface.

Keep your walls, floors, ceilings, fences, and driveways clear, and clean them with a little help from a wide range of suitable cleaning products. If you are not sure which one to use, check at the hardware store or a home supply dealer.

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