Brick Cleaning Tips
Brick is supposed to be low maintenance, but as an interior and exterior wall, it requires some cleaning. The job can be messy, but the results of cleaning are pleasing.
The thing to remember is that too much cleaning can be harmful. Years past, sandblasting was popular, but often removed the hardened, baked on outer layer of the brick. The surface left behind was much softer and prone to deterioration from the weather. Sandblasting is out of favor, and so are other harsh cleaning methods. The Pitch for cleaning bricks was and still is use the gentlest method that gives satisfactory results.
One way to remove grimy spots from bricks is to take a similar brick, break it in half, and rub it against the spot. The soft interior act as an abrasive scrub pad that does remove the soiled spots on the wall.
The best-recommended technique is to use a power washer which is very effective in removing all types of mold, Grimes, and dirt from bricks, powerful yet gentle enough to maintain the exterior integrity of the bricks.
If a power washer is not available I recommend a garden hose with a pressure nozzle, if the garden hose does not clean the walls to your satisfaction, you can simply rent a power washer. Which attached to a spigot and is operated with gas or electric High-end models allows you to adjust the psi ( pounds per square inch ) up to about 4500 lbs/sq in. which also includes a reservoir for cleaning agents that feed into the water stream. Use the lowest pressure that gets the job done.
When using these pressure washers, it is best to cover any delicate shrubs nearby, outdoor lights, with plastic sheeting. Begin at the top of the wall and let the water soak into the grime for half hour before spraying over the same area a second time. Whether you are careful or not, you will probably be bombarded with spray misting, so wear full-length rain gear if you want to stay dry.
Stains caused by mortar or salts that leach out of the brick and forms a whitish powder, called efflorescence, indoors, can be removed with a dilute muriatic acid. Wearing safety goggles, heavy rubber gloves, and protective clothing, mix ten parts of water with one part of muriatic acid in a plastic bucket. Pour the acid into the bucket and not the other way around, so that the acid doesn't foam and splash back at you.
Use a natural bristle brush to apply the mixture. the diluted acid will foam on the stain. Scrub them off. Then neutralize the acid on the wall by washing it down with a solution of two parts water to one part ammonia. Finally, flush the cleaned area with water.
Caution: If you use muri indoors open all the windows, and wear a respirator along with goggles. If your nose or eyes begin to sting from vapors, leave the room and splash your face with water. If you splash the acid onto any parts of your body flush them immediately with water If it should get in your eyes seek medical attention quickly (like now).