Bricks, when used well, have great visual appeal. Their weathered and distressed look adds a natural, almost rustic feeling to any home. Yet, their unique design can lead to a build-up of dirt between the bricks, reducing their beautiful looks to unattractive blocks. Thankfully, whether it is moss and grime accumulation on an exterior brick wall or a greasy interior kitchen wall, there are simple, inexpensive ways to make your bricks appear amazing once again. Both interior and exterior bricks, although requiring different materials and processes, can easily return to their former glory. After reading through this guide, you will gain effective, useful knowledge of how to clean brick.
- Floor covering (such as a newspaper)
- Brush or vacuum
- Spray bottle (with water)
- Cleaning solvent
- Bristle brush
- A few rags
Interior brick walls are simple and easy to clean. Follow these steps for effective cleaning.
Clean the space around the area you want to clean. Make sure to remove any furnishings, rugs, or other objects away in order to keep them from being affected by any cleaning solvent splatter. If you are unable to move something, or would just rather not, covering it with newspapers works as well.
Using a brush or vacuum, take away any dirt and dust from the brick you want to clean.
Take a spray bottle (filled with water) and spray down the brick. Why? Well, dry brick easily absorbs almost all cleaning solvents, which result in it becoming discolored or blotchy, or causing its color to fade.
There are a couple of different methods you could employ to clean the brick, but we believe using dish soap and salt is one of the best ways. Essentially, dish soap’s degreasing abilities combine with the abrasive properties of salt, making for a powerful combo in cleaning. Simply use a cup of salt along with a cup of dish soap to form a paste. With a dry rag, the paste can be spread over the brick you want to clean. Then, using a bristle brush, scrub the brick (make sure not to scrub too hard). After waiting ten to fifteen minutes, utilize a wet rag to remove the paste solvent.
- Garden hose (with spray nozzle)
- Newspaper or tarp
- Cleaning solvent
- Rubber gloves
- Bristle brush
Although outdoor brick can be tricky to clean, this step-by-step process should bypass any difficulties you may encounter.
Make sure the weather is good. The best temperature to clean brick is at least 50 degrees, preferably higher. Cloudy conditions are also great, although not necessary (in cloudy conditions, cleaning solvents dry slower).
Cover up nearby windows, metal surfaces, and anything else you wish to protect (even plants).
Using the garden hose, thoroughly spray the brick down. While benefiting the use of a solvent in the next step, this is also a great way to remove any brick efflorescence you may happen to encounter.
As with interior brick cleaning, there are several different options to clean exterior brick, but we recommend using the popular bleach method. Chlorine bleach easily breaks down any moss, mold, or other unwanted substance, making it the perfect solvent for outdoor cleaning. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves, then combine a gallon of water with a tablespoon of bleach. Using a sponge, apply the bleach mixture to the brick; then, utilize a bristle brush to scrub the wall. Make sure the bleach does not dry before you are doing. Once you are finished, use a hose to wash off any solvent remaining on the wall.
Your brick walls should now look as good as new! And thankfully, maintenance is easy. Once a year, simply spray them with water, which cleans off any dust or dirt. From now on, you can enjoy having good-looking brick walls.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.