Neutralizing Acid Stain

Neutralizing your acid stain is an absolutely essential step in a successful concrete acid stain application. Read more about the importance of this step, and find Direct Colors step by step tutorial on how to neutralize your acid stain.

Time needed: 1 – 2 hours.


  1. Prepare baking soda and water solution using 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of water.
  2. Spray or pour the soda and water solution on every inch of the floor.
  3. Move the solution around the floor using a squeegee.
  4. Scrub with a soft nylon bristle scrub brush where needed to remove residue.
  5. Wash the surface carefully using clean water until nothing but clear water is visible.
  6. Remove all residue and excess color from concrete before leaving to dry.
  7. For Stubborn residue or porous surfaces, use an organic degreaser to aid in the removal. The clean, wet surface will be the approximate color of the final sealed surface.
  8. Leave to dry.
  9. After the surface has completely dried, the floor should be ready to seal.

What Happens If You Don't Neutralize Acid Stain?

An active acid stain has a low PH that will damage the concrete sealer if not properly neutralized and cleaned. The acidic surface destroys the acrylic sealer from underneath, causing a blotchy appearance that will peel away. Without neutralizing, your concrete will eventually have to be stripped, properly cleaned and resealed. Improper cleaning and neutralizing is one of the leading causes of sealer failure.

Image of acid stain sealer damage
When you do not properly neutralize acid stain, then sealer will lose it's bond and look like this

How Much Baking Soda Do You Need to Neutralize Acid Stain?

1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of water.

How Long Do You Wait to Neutralize Acid Stain?

You can neutralize the acid stain once the residue has dried and the stain has been given at least the recommended Minimum Time to React. If the acid stain does not have adequate time to react, it may hinder the vibrancy of your stain’s color.