Cleaning up spilled Damp Rid liquid on tile
September 4, 2018 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Damp Rid is calcium chloride that pulls moisture out of the air and deliquesces into what they describe as a saltwater brine. The cat spilled a container with some of this liquid in the bathroom -- so, a puddle of liquid calcium chloride brine, spilled onto small tiles with grout. How do I get this stuff up completely, so it's not re-wetting itself into an oily, exothermic mess? How worried should I be about getting this stuff on my feet, or the cat licking his paws after getting some on there (he seems fine)?

So far, I've mopped up all the liquid, gone over it with a very wet sponge a bunch, then dishsoap+water, again water, then diluted ammonia, more water.

I'm mainly wondering if there are tricks to this, or hidden considerations, since this is a weird material.

Also, they say to pour out the water into the toilet, but they never say the sink. Is there a reason why the sink would be bad?
posted by LobsterMitten to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Try using white vinegar to neutralize it. The acetic acid on the vinegar should counteract the oily residue left behind.
posted by XtineHutch at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2018

I think you are OK with just using water.

Toilets have fewer metallic elements that could be discolored.
posted by Glomar response at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2018

Just FWIW, there is nothing to neutralize in the pH sense of the term.
The brine is not literally oily, but rather feels/appears to have an oily residue.
Calcium chloride is very readily soluble in water, so water is a good method to dilute it.
posted by Glomar response at 11:23 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

We use damp rid annually in a trailer for winter storage. Having spilled the brine on myself many times, I honestly think you're overthinking this.

My guess would be that they say toilet because you can sometimes get calcium chloride remaining in the liquid, and toilets are better suited to dealing with particulate matter than sinks.

DampRid Australia has an easily-Googleable public Facebook post about cleanup, which you can read here. The portion about tile floors reads as follows:

First, use a clean dry towel to soak up the excess moisture from the area. Whether the surface is carpet, tile, wood, or linoleum. Don’t worry Damp Rid will wash out of your towels or clothing easily in your regular wash cycle.

Secondly, apply a generous amount of cold fresh tap water to the area. As you know from using any of our products, Damp Rid loves water. By saturating the area the Damp Rid will cling to the water, thus making it easier for the Damp Rid liquid to be drawn from the area.

If you are cleaning a hard surface such as wood, tile, or linoleum simply wipe the area; absorbing the water and Damp Rid together with a clean dry towel. "

I think you've done more than enough. If the brine had soaked into wood, it might be a different issue, but with brine basically just wipe it up.
posted by anastasiav at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, I did follow that Australian Damprid post before asking here, but after a good deal of water it's still kind of oily-feeling, slick, feels like it's continuing to re-wet itself. Mainly wondering if any chemistry-knowledgable people know about this material - if there's a further thing to try, or if just a whole lot more water is the answer. Sounds like that may be it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:07 PM on September 4, 2018

I found someone with a similar problem, only they spilled it on carpet. The suggestion, along the lines of above comments, was "lots of water." It just needs to be dissolved, but they also said it's never going to crystalize and will feel slick forever as long as it's there.

If you can make a puddle of (preferably warm, but doesn't need to be too hot to handle) water around the spill area (wall it in with some tape and towels?), and let the warm water sit, it'll dissolve and to a dilute form, which you can then scoop/soak away.

Anything you use to clean this area will likely be cleaned by a hot or warm cycle in the clothes washer. Not sure if it'll discolor your towels or anything, but since its pH is neutral, I kinda doubt it. I'm taking it as a given that pH is neutral because salts are the result of an acid and a base neutralizing.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:12 PM on September 4, 2018

You just need to overwhelm the drying capabilities. So flush it a couple more times. Maybe make a dam of rolled up towels around the spill site. Wring into toilet or sink, roll and reinstall, and pour more water.
posted by notsnot at 6:22 AM on September 5, 2018

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