Clean brick or masonry is imperative for homeowners with inside or outside walls, fireplaces, or facades made of bricks. As with any other material, bricks become dirty, and sometimes laden with mold or mildew. Unless you have a maid service to do this work for you, a few tips will make this rather dirty job a bit easier.
Clean Brick Outside
Outside Brick Supplies Needed
- Power washer (if you want)
- Long-handled industrial scrub brush
- Handheld scrub brush
- Large bucket
- Muriatic Acid or Masonry detergent
Before setting out to clean brick walls or facades on the outside of your home, check your local home improvement or hardware stores for the best price on power washer rentals. Renting one for one-half to one full day should allow plenty of time to clean all the brick/masonry on the outside of your home. If the brick isn’t horribly dirty, you can use a long-handled industrial scrub brush and a hose instead. Whether you choose a power washer or rely on your hose instead, pay heed to the fact that you’ll get wet. Wear a rain slicker or other protective clothing to prevent yourself from getting soaked!
Whichever option you choose, you will start with a solution of equal parts bleach and water. It’s easiest to fill your bucket outside, so as not to splash bleach anywhere inside your home.
Using the long-handled scrub brush, apply the bleach and water mixture onto the brick liberally—working in manageable sections. Scrubbing the brick is the next step in this somewhat messy job—making sure to do so before the bleach and water mixture has a chance to dry. (By now you’ll no doubt wish you had that aforementioned maid service!) Rinse thoroughly with either your garden hose or your pressure washer. Repeat the bleach and water process if you haven’t yet achieved your desired results.
Mortar Stains, Rust, and More
If the aforementioned method didn’t leave you with clean brick, you may be faced with mortar stains, rust, or other tough stains. This means you’ll need to clean your outside bricks using a different method. You’ll need a hand-held scrub brush for this job.
Purchasing a bottle of muriatic acid or masonry detergent should have you well on your way to solving your house cleaning dilemma. Using a large bucket, mix one-third the amount of acid to two-thirds water.
Wetting the brick with your garden hose is the starting point of this method to clean brick. Brush the solution onto the brick with a hand-held scrub brush, scrubbing as you go. Allow the solution to remain on the brick for about 15 minutes, but not long enough to dry out. Rinse thoroughly using your garden hose or power washer.
Clean Brick Inside
Inside Brick Supplies Needed
- 2 large sponges
- Brick fireplace cleaner or Bleach
- Several large towels or cleaning rags
If your chore must result in clean brick inside your home, this method is just a bit different from the outdoor job. Since you can’t very well soak the brick with a hose or rinse it off with a power washer, you must clean smaller areas at time to avoid soiling other parts of your home as you work to clean brick.
You may opt to use the half-bleach, half-water method used for outside jobs, or you may purchase brick fireplace cleaner from your local home improvement or hardware store. Fill a separate bucket with clean water and have two large sponges on hand. Working in one-foot sections, wet the area with your chosen solution using one of the large sponges. Soak the second sponge in the clean water and rinse the clean brick. A pile of old towels or cleaning rags will come in handy while doing this job. Soak up the rinse water with the towels as you clean and rinse each section.
Allowing the clean brick to dry, do a thorough inspection of the area and decide if a second round of scrubbing is necessary. If so, repeat the same steps to result in clean brick on the exterior of your hearth, fireplace, or interior brick wall.
You may have troubles finding a maid service for this type of cleaning but it never hurts to ask! Fortunately, this type of cleaning isn’t done every week. Once every year or two should be plenty, ensuring that clean brick/masonry graces both the inside and the outside of your home.