Have you noticed a wide powdery substance on the walls of your basement? You may be dealing with basement efflorescence.
What is it?
Efflorescence is a residue on masonry surfaces that is produced when water evaporates from the surface leaving behind mineral crystals. The residue has a white powdery appearance. It is often mistaken for mold spores.
Is it harmful?
The residue is not known to be harmful to human health. However, it is important to wear nose, mouth and eye protection when handling it. This is because the crystals are easily dispersed into the air. It is also important to note that mold spores may begin to form alongside the crystals because of the excess moisture. It is therefore worth taking the extra precaution to protect your health.
The residue of crystals however, can be harmful to your foundation. Apart from causing stains on walls and floors, the crystals can cause weakening of the foundation walls if they are deposited within cracks. The residue is also a sign of a deeper moisture problem that should be addressed as soon as possible.
How can I get rid of it?
Getting rid of the residue is easy.
- Ensure that you are well protected. Wear a face mask to prevent inhalation of the dust or
- Scrub the surface of the wall or floor with a dry wire brush. This will loosen the powder and
cause it to fall off the wall or come off the floor. You can then sweep away the powder.
- If there is still some residue left on the surface, you can add some water and leave it to dissolve the crystals. Wipe away the water and use a dry brush to scrub off the remaining crystals.
There is no need to use special chemical cleaners when dealing with small patches of efflorescence. The residue consists of soluble salt. A little water will go a long way in getting rid of the crystals.
How can it be prevented?
The only effective way to prevent the residue from appearing on your walls or floors is by investing in basement waterproofing. This will prevent water from penetrating the floors or walls and therefore prevent the buildup of the residue on the surfaces in your basement.
If you need further assistance, please fill out our form on our free basement inspection page.