Bricks are one of the most durable building materials, and are not only practical but also provide aesthetic value. Brick can withstand the harsh elements, especially if it’s properly taken care of. Bricks are not limited to exterior use but can be incorporated into interior designs, especially brick fireplaces. Other ways that brick can be introduced in your interior space is as a statement wall or unique flooring. You can add this classic and beautiful material to almost any building or remodeling project.
If you want to enjoy the aesthetic and practical aspects of bricks, it’s crucial to know how to clean them. If you have this building material in your exterior or interior, read on to learn how to clean bricks like a pro!
As mentioned above, bricks are no longer limited to the home’s exterior. There are beautiful ways to incorporate bricks inside. However, even inside the home, bricks can still be susceptible to dust, dirt, and other substances that can cause damage or buildup.
Here are common places where bricks are found and how to clean each of them.
Fireplaces are a beautiful statement piece in any home, providing a focal point and area to congregate around, as well as warmth in colder months. It is important to keep this part of your home well maintained. This is particularly true since fireplaces accumulate soot over time on both the facade and hearth. Cleaning is a necessary part of maintaining a fireplace’s functionality and aesthetic.
Unfortunately, cleaning a fireplace can be difficult; simply wiping away soot won’t do the job. Thankfully, there are a few tricks to making this difficult task easier.
First thing’s first, it’s vital to ensure that your cleaning process starts with a cold fireplace. It is best if it hasn’t been used in several days. Once it’s cold, take out the grate and any ashes. You can use a vacuum, especially those with a brush attachment, to manually remove any dust and soot.
Cleaning fireplace brick involves one important technique: saturating the brick with water before applying any type of cleaner. Since fireplaces are installed inside homes and often near carpet or walls, it can be helpful to place a waterproof drop cloth down first to ensure nothing gets wet or dirty during the cleaning process. You can wet the bricks using a masonry sponge, baster, or spray bottle, all of which are conveniently available at any local hardware or grocery store.
Fortunately, there are plenty of cleaning solutions for bricks. Just make sure to choose one based on the brick’s age and the extent of the stains found on its surface. Skip to “Methods of Cleaning Bricks” for more tips.
Even though bricks can easily absorb water, you have to do more than just spritz them to get them clean. Remember, bricks have a rough texture and porous composition, which makes it difficult to reach every crevice.
Any abrasive cleaning methods will damage the brick, especially if it is already old. Lastly, using harsh chemicals as a cleaning solution can discolor the brick, ruining its appearance.
Before cleaning your brick walls, dust them using a vacuum or feather duster, allowing you to remove any visible cobwebs or dust. Then, using a wet rag or your hands, rub a cleaning paste all over your brick walls. To be thorough, it’s best to work in small sections rather than completely rubbing it all over your walls at once. Once you have applied the cleaning paste, gently scrub the brick using a stiff-bristled scrub brush. Wipe away the paste with warm water and a rag.
Typically, warm water will sufficiently clean your brick walls. However, if there are still traces of dirt on the brick after using the suggested method, try to opt for a cleaner that’s well-suited for removing dirt from bricks. If you want to use a natural cleaning solution, create a dish detergent and table salt mixture. This concoction is perfect for cleaning any stains and grease.
As they say, “prevention is better than a cure.” If you have brick floors, they are inevitably going to get dirty. Practicing a weekly cleaning routine will prevent dirt buildup, damage, or repairs.
To clean your brick floors, start by thoroughly sweeping, dry-mopping, or vacuuming the floor’s surface. This will remove any dirt or dust from your floor’s surface. You can then choose one of these cleaning solutions:
- Two tablespoons of Borax mixed with a gallon of water
- One part vinegar mixed with 10-15 parts water
- One to two tablespoons of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water
- Any high-quality commercial cleaning agent that’s made specifically for stones, tiles, and bricks
Since you’re working with a large area, it is best to use a bucket and mop for cleaning floods. Submerge a mop into the cleaning solution of your choice. Then, wring it out so it is slightly damp but not dripping. A microfiber mop is recommended for rough surfaces like brick floors. Vigorously mop the floor to remove any stains, grease, or dirt.
After mopping, wipe the floor with a washcloth, soft towel, or dry mop. Doing so will allow you to remove any liquids from grout joints and crevices, preventing any smudges or streaks as the brick floor finishes drying.
As mentioned above, there are various ways of cleaning bricks, whether they’re on the interior or exterior of your house. To make the job easier for you, here are some methods that you can use:
To clean bricks with vinegar, simply mix one part of vinegar mixed with 10-15 parts of water. You can opt for distilled white vinegar, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s acidic, which makes it damaging for bricks that are 20 years older or more. Some people like to add two tablespoons of dishwashing detergent along with the mixture. Follow the instructions above for the particular brick installation you’re cleaning.
When cleaning bricks with dishwashing detergent, start with the mildest solution. This is a gentle cleaning method, so you will have to assess if it can remove the dirt and soot from your bricks. If the test solution works, create a full solution using a quarter cup of dishwashing detergent and dilute it in four cups of water. This mixture is gentle to the point that it’s even safe for old bricks.
Mix three tablespoons of dish soap with a half cup of baking soda. Make a thin paste and spread it across the bricks. Let the paste sit for ten minutes, then scrub with a brush. Rinse off with warm water. If using this method for brick walls, you may need to make the paste thicker with more baking soda for it to stay on the walls long enough.
Trisodium phosphate is a powdery compound that’s available at any home improvement store. Mix this compound with water, and scrub the brick with a scrub brush. Since trisodium phosphate is hazardous, use safety goggles and heavy-duty rubber gloves when cleaning your brick with this mixture.
Continue cleaning your bricks and they will last you for a long time. With our tips, cleaning your brick fireplace, walls, or floors won’t be considered a chore anymore! If you don’t have time to clean your bricks yourself, contact a professional service to do it for you. At Bailey Boys, we know how to clean bricks and keep even the oldest brick installations looking pristine.