Brick is a durable building material that offers both an aesthetic and practical value. While many enjoy the look of brick in its own right, these sturdy building blocks withstand years of weathering when added to construction projects. Knowing how to clean a brick wall is crucial for maintaining that spectacular look you love, as well as preserving the condition of your bricks.
Your bricking cleaning journey does not stop on the outside of your home. Cleaning brick walls is just as important indoors as it is outside. Many homeowners may use a brick fireplace when the weather gets chilly outside or have decorative accents and pavers that use brick both inside and outside the home.
Some interior walls are made entirely of brick and need the same regular cleaning as every other building material in your home. So how to clean an interior brick wall, and which products work best? These seven fantastic cleaning methods and tips will show you the best ways to clean and protect your brick walls.
7 Spectacular Tips and Ideas for Cleaning Brick Walls
While these cleaning jobs may require a little bit of elbow grease, they don’t have to include harsh chemicals. Many of the recipes below use natural ingredients that are safe to use indoors and out in the environment. When using chemical cleaners, however, always use the appropriate equipment and protective gear.
1. Remove All Loose Dirt Before Cleaning
Before you add cleaning agents to your bricks, start by removing loose dirt and particles from the surface and in between the crevices. The dips and grooves in your brickwork collect a ton of loose particles over time, especially on exterior brick walls that are regularly exposed to the elements.
Even indoors, the bricks around fireplaces accrue fine grains of soot and ash that need to be swept off before cleaning. Start by using a soft scrub brush or a vacuum to remove these loose splatters of dirt. When cleaning indoors, lay down a tarp to protect your floors.
2. How to Clean a Brick Wall with a Pressure Washer
When cleaning the bricks on an exterior wall, a pressure washer works wonders for restoring your home to its former glory. Outdoor brick suffers through grass, sunlight, and other elements that may cause discoloration or develop mold over time. To avoid this situation, use pressure washing to remove loose particles and clean large surface areas quickly.
Before you begin cleaning or even rinsing your brick wall, patch up any gaps in your mortar first. Doing this will decrease the potential for growing mold in the cracks later on and will also maintain the brick’s structure.
Rinse the wall off with clean water from your garden hose first, then add in your detergent using a low setting on your pressure nozzle. Leave it soaking in the brick wall for approximately ten minutes before rinsing clean.
For more stubborn areas, use a bristle brush to loosen up stuck-on grass particles and other grime from the walls. Rinse the detergent using a high pressure setting, then apply a sealant to protect your wall even longer. This recipe also works as a wonderful cement cleaner.
3. Remove Efflorescence with Muriatic Acid
If you begin to notice flaky white particles on your brick, this is likely due to efflorescence. Efflorescence is what happens when mineral deposits left behind by water rise to the surface of your bricks. The effect is not a pretty one, but it can easily be corrected using a cleaning product like muriatic acid, which is typical for treating pools.
When using muriatic acid, be sure to wear thick rubber gloves and cover your eyes, face, and nose for protection. Apply the solution to your brick using a cloth and thoroughly saturate them with the cleaner.
Allow the moisture to soak in for approximately one minute. To counteract the powerful effects of muriatic acid on your brick, neutralize this cleaning solution with diluted ammonia.
This step requires one cup of ammonia for every gallon. Rub the ammonia solution along the same area where you used the muriatic acid. Afterward, clean with a soft scrub brush and water. Allow the brick surface to air dry completely before adding any sealant.
4. Cleaning Brick Walls that Accumulate Mold
The porous surface of your brick walls makes them prime targets for mildew and moss. Any moisture is absorbed into or behind the bricks and can resurface as either unsightly mineral deposits or mold, which requires treatment with a bleach solution.
When you are ready to treat for mold, start by mixing one cup of bleach into every gallon of hot water. Wipe the surface of the brick wall using a sponge and work away mold or moss growth using a bristled brush. Work the cleaner in small areas at a time, then rinse the wall thoroughly with water when finished.
5. How to Clean an Interior Brick Wall with Vinegar
So we’ve discussed some helpful ways to clean your exterior walls, but your indoor brick walls also need some love from time to time. While not exposed to the same bitter elements of your home’s brick exterior, a wall cleaner for indoors is just as essential for keeping those home accents looking amazing.
Vinegar is your best line of defense, in this case, disinfecting the surfaces in your home, while also delivering a brilliant clean.
Using a medium-sized spray bottle, combine the vinegar solution, and spray it over the bricks. Leave this cleaning solution to sit for five to ten minutes, then use a damp sponge or washcloth to wipe the bricks clean. If you have especially dirty blocks or sticky stains, use a nylon bristle brush to scrub them.
Avoid using a wire brush on the brick at all times. The fine wire pieces will often break off into the crevices of the block and cause rusting when wet.
6. Cream of Tartar for Natural Brick Cleaner
Another excellent method to add to your clean-brick-wall solutions is cream of tartar. If you have small inlays of brick around the house, trim, or other small spaces that require cleaning, then this recipe is the perfect option for you. It also makes a terrific spot cleaner.
Mix the two ingredients to form a runny paste. Smear this paste over the brick, or any spots that need extra attention. Let the formula sit on the bricks and soak for around ten minutes. Use a soft toothbrush to work in between small spaces where necessary. Afterward, rinse the area with warm water.
7. Use Baking Soda and Dish Soap as DIY Brick Washer
One final cleaning agent to use when washing your bricks is baking soda. Throw in a little dish detergent, and you have a phenomenal dirt and grease remover for your brick walls. This recipe is also the best cleaner for vinyl siding outside your home.
Start by forming a paste with the two ingredients, similar to your cream of tartar creation. Slather the concoction over the bricks and leave it sitting for ten minutes.
Just as with the other cleaners, scrub the area before rinsing. Here you have an advantage with the baking soda, which creates a natural, gentle abrasive to scratch away stuck-on particles.
Final Thoughts and Questions
These cleaning methods and tips are all you need when it comes to maintaining a clean brick wall. Most require a little bit of patience and extra time but are simple to use. But in case you still have one lingering question or two, this should help you along.
How often should I clean my brickwork?
The rule of thumb you want to use is once a year for all types of brick, whether indoors or outdoors. However, you may want to double or triple that number depending on situational conditions. If you use your fireplace more often the usual, then a spike in the amount of soot accumulating on the front may occur.
The same goes for extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes or a high incidence of snow. In these circumstances, where your brick is exposed to harsh elements more often than usual, clean them as needed.
If you use brick stepping stones or pavers on your walkways and gardens, these may also need some additional love and care. These stones see a higher amount of dirt and mud due to foot traffic, so regular cleaning of these stepping stones should take place once a month or at least every other month.
Brick creates an unbelievable look to your home that skyrockets curb appeal on the outside. On the inside, it exudes comfort and country-style living. No matter where your brick is, keep it looking fabulous with these helpful tools.
We hope these tips for cleaning brick walls sparked some bright new ideas you are now ready to use in your home. Remember to share these excellent ideas on how to clean a brick wall with other brick-lovers on Facebook and Pinterest.