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How to Remove and Clean Stains Off Of Brick

Although Brick is built to last, however, it requires care and cleaning. The naturally distressed patina of brick can add to its desirability inside and out, but too much dirt accumulation can reduce the beautifully weathered blocks to unattractive mottled masonry.

Brick Cleaning and Removing Stains Off of Bricks

Whether you’re cleaning the bricks on the exterior wall of your house, an exposed brick wall in your kitchen covered in grease or the bricks around your fireplace, you can undo the discoloration with natural or chemical formulas and techniques (for cleaning bricks) shared in this article. This will help restore your brick to its former glory. However, if you are looking for experienced brick cleaning and restoration services, Instabrite has 40+ years experience in such pressure washing services including brick restoration not only in Massachusetts but throughout New England. Call us at: 781-447-0022.

1. How to Clean Brick inside the House

Brick can be used on floors, fireplaces and interior walls. The initial step involved in cleaning brick is to first remove dirt from its surface. Use a brush or vacuum to remove loosed dirt before wet cleaning. Materials and tools required to clean brick include:

  • Newspaper or tarp
  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
  • A Spray bottle filled with water

The cleaning procedure is discussed below:

  • Remove any wall decorations and cover floors and furnishing with a plastic or old newspaper to prevent them from getting wet during the cleaning process
  • Clean the brick to remove loosed dust and dirt on the surface with a vacuum cleaner that has a brush attachment.
  • Use a spray bottle filled with water to saturate the brick surface before applying any cleaning solution.

When cleaning the brick, you can choose to use natural cleaners that you prepared yourself or you may decide on going for commercially sold cleaners.

Note, the grease-removing properties contained in the dish/soap solution together with the abrasiveness of the salt makes it ideal for combating stubborn dirt, grease, smoke stains on interior brick walls.

  • Prepare the soap solution in a bowl or bucket to form a thick, spreadable paste.
  • Use a clean, dry rag to spread the paste in an even layer over a section of the brick’s surface. Move from top to bottom of the section, scrubbing gently the brick and mortar with a brittle brush. Avoid using wire brush, as they can leave behind metal rust on the brick. Allow the paste to stay on the brick for ten minutes.
  • Remove the paste from the brick with a rag saturated with warm water.
  • Repeat these steps on other sections of the brick’s surface.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to siphon any lingering saltparticles from the brick.

2. Cleaning Mortar Off Of Brick

Mortar on the surface of brick can bring about an ugly appearance and can also ruin the aesthetic of the wall. To have a clean brick, it is best to prevent mortar splatter during construction. However, the mortar can be removed once it’s dried, otherwise, you may need to use Muriatic acid for stubborn mortar. Irrespective of your situation, it’s important that you follow the correct procedures and take safety precautions when cleaning mortar off of bricks.

  • Wet down the brick with a garden hose, allow it to saturate before you chisel. This will make the mortar remove easily and also protect your brick from being damaged.
  • Tap the chisel parallel to the brick to remove excess mortar.Hold the chisel at about 20° angles against the face of the wall that has mortar built up on them. Tap lightly on the end of the chisel and slowly break off the dried up mortar from the wall. Start from the top, working your way down. Continue with this process, going slowly and carefully until the mortar is removed from the wall.
  • Break up larger pieces of mortar into smaller, more manageable pieces instead of trying to remove it all at once.Lime mortar is easier to remove than cement based mortar using this method.
  • Wipe off excess mortar with a hard wire brush.Go in a back and forth motion over the face of the brick to remove any broken up mortar dust. Try to scrape off any stubborn mortar that wasn’t removed while chiseling. Do not spend too much time in one area or you may discolor the brick in that area.

3. Remove Brick Stains with Muriatic Acid

This is an industrial-strength solvent that is used to eliminate rust, soil, and mortar stains on Bricks. When using muriatic acid to remove stains from bricks, you require the following materials and tools:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator
  • Bucket
  • Muriatic acid
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Natural or synthetic brush
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle

The cleaning procedure is explained below

  • Wear rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator, fill a large bucket with a gallon of warm water, then add one-and-a-half cups of muriatic acid.

It’s important to note that acid is poured into water and not the other way round. This is to reduce the potency of the acid fumes and also prevent the acid from splashing on you.

  • Dip a brush into the acid, then apply the solution into the brick in sections by gently scrubbing the brush on the brick.
  • Allow the acid to saturate on the brick for a few minutes, then rinse with a hose and water.
  • Repeat the procedure on other sections of the brick’s surface.

After getting your desired brick surface, ensure to hose it down with water at least once a year, when they start to wane. Now that your brick surfaces are spic-and-span again, keep them that way by lightly spraying or hosing them down with water at least once a year, and following these cleaning techniques when they start to show signs of age.

4. Brick Fireplace Cleaning

Fireplaces can become dirty quickly as smoke and soot accumulates over time. Also, black stains and ashy residue are left around the fireplace which can make cleaning quite difficult. The process of cleaning a brick fireplace requires more seriousness than most people think, because if care is not taken, the bricks might get damaged or discolored.

When trying to clean soot from a fireplace, you can try any of these two processes

  • For small areas, apply light-colored molding dough on the brick and lift the soot stain. It’s an easy process. You may also want to alternatively:
  • Dip a scrub brush into a pan containing a full-strength white household vinegar. Scrub a small section at a time, working up. It may take a lot of elbow grease and several applications to remove all of the soot, so be prepared for a workout.

To remove any other dirt or stain on the brick at the fireplace, you can try using the bucket and hand cleaning method. It is the most popular way of cleaning brick masonry due to its simple execution and readily available cleaning compounds. Follow the steps below for selecting the appropriate cleaning solution:

  • A soap or detergent solution can be used to remove mud, dirt from brick. Mix trisodium phosphate, and laundry detergent dissolved in clean water.
  • For acid solutions, mix a 10% solution of muriatic acid (9 parts clean water to 1 part acid) in a non-metallic container. Pour acid into water. Prevent metal tools from getting in contact with the acid solution. Avoid mixing acid solution stronger than recommended, as indiscriminate use of acid can cause further stains on brick.

Note; improper and/or over cleaning may damage your brick, it’s therefore advised you test any cleaning material on an inconspicuous place before applying it on your brick. To remove soot from brick that is not in good condition, mix a 50/50 solution of laundry bleach and water, pour into a spray bottle, spritz the bricks, and then scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with water.

5. Types of Bricks

  • Common Burnt Clay Bricks

Common burnt clay bricks are formed by pressing in molds, after which the bricks are dried and fired in a kiln. They are used typically in work that require no special aesthetic appearances. Plastering and rendering are usually applied whenever these types of bricks are used on the walls.

  • Sand-Lime Bricks

Sand lime bricks are a mixture of sand, fly ash and lime that undergo a chemical process during wet mixing. The mix is then molded under pressure forming the brick. Sand lime bricks offer greater advantages than conventional clay bricks; some of the advantages are highlighted below;

  • Their color appearance is gray instead of the regular reddish color.
  • It has a uniform shape which presents a smooth finish that requires no plastering.
  • These bricks offer excellent strength as a load-bearing member.
  • Engineering Bricks

This type of brick is manufactured with very high temperatures, forming a dense and strong brick, which allows the brick to limit strength and water absorption. They have an excellent load bearing capacity, damp proof characteristics and chemical resisting properties. They are used in specific project as they usually cost way more than regular bricks.

  • Concrete Bricks

Concrete bricks are made from solid concrete and are very common among homebuilders. Concrete, bricks are usually placed on facades, fences, and provide an excellent aesthetic presence. These bricks can be manufactured to provide different colors during its production.

  • Fly Ash Clay Bricks

Fly ash clay bricks are made from clay and fly ash at a temperature of about 1,000 degrees Centigrade. Some studies have shown that these bricks tend to fail when they come in contact with moisture and water, causing the bricks to expand.

6. Pressure Washing Brick

To pressure wash a brick surface, it is helpful to soak the surface with regular water using a low pressure spray procedure. Doing this creates a protective barrier between the brick and the detergent, as you wouldn’t want detergent to mess up the brick.

After wetting the surface, use a low pressure steam and a lot of detergent. The high pressure spray pattern forces detergent to be absorbed into the brick. This may leave ugly stains, you should therefore divide your project and work in sections.

Apply the detergent to the brick surface you are working on, and allow it to settle on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes. If you notice any part has started drying up, apply more detergent water as required. It is imperative you allow the detergent to soak in for a while in order for it to work effectively. Once the detergent has had a few minutes to loosen stains and lift dirt from the surface, the pressure washer will effectively spray and clean the surface.

Remove the detergent from the brick surface with a rinse. Start from the section you started the detergent application. Using a pressure spray pattern, you’d need to go from one end to the other. Ensure all the detergent and residue are washed away. Repeat the process multiple times if necessary

After rinsing, if there is any white powdery residue after the brick is dried, you can use an efflorescence remover to get rid of this. The application is done by hand, using a brush.

Call INSTA-BRITE now at 781-447-0022 to schedule a free consultation on brick pressure washing services.

Scheduling of cleaning services is always specific to the client, with off-hour, overnight, and weekend services always available.

 

 

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