Exterior Brick Cleaning: How to Clean Brick in 7 Steps

Regular brick cleaning is an important task every homeowner with this type of exterior should partake in. Dirt and grime can steal the luster of your home’s brick exterior, especially if it features classic brick. While brick is durable and made to last, it too needs occasional maintenance, and requires different attention than other exterior surfaces when it comes to cleaning. Harsh weather, especially in the winter, can be brutal on your outdoor spaces, and no one likes to clean in the cold. Use this easy, DIY brick cleaning guide to restore your home to its original charm so your house can shine during your next outdoor entertainment event.


Step 1: Choose the Brick Cleaning Right Solution

It’s important to note that not all brick is the same, which means that all brick cleaning solutions do not have the same effect. A commercial brick cleaning solution’s effectiveness can vary greatly between traditional burnt clay bricks and concrete, or sand lime bricks. It’s best to determine which type of brick you have and visit your local hardware store to find which brick cleaning solution is best for your home.

For those that do not wish to deal with the harsh chemicals that can sometimes be found in brick cleaning solutions, there are several natural, and more cost-effective solutions to use for cleaning brick. One natural brick cleaning solution that many lean toward is a 50/50 vinegar and water mix for brick that needs to be refreshed. Not only is it safe for the kids, it can also be very cost effective and leave your home with clean bricks.


Step 2: Protect the Area Surrounding the Brick

Protect the area surrounding the brick by placing a tarp or plastic on any type of soil, nearby plants, and vegetation. Brick cleaning solutions, solvents and acids can be harmful to plant life. Even an acid as mild as vinegar can be harmful, so it is crucial to make sure your plants and vegetables are preserved. Brick cleaning solutions and solvents for grime on your brick can even react differently to the other surfaces or windows on your home, so protect non-brick surfaces as best as you can.


Step 3: Test Brick Absorption Rate

Brick can be more porous than other surfaces and can react differently to various cleaning agents. The last thing you want to do is destroy or alter natural color unintentionally while trying to clean bricks. Test your brick absorption rate by spraying water on a small area with the garden hose. If your brick turns darker immediately, clean bricks in small areas and varying time intervals. If it doesn’t, clean brick up to 100 square feet at a time. Not sure what 100 square feet looks like?


Step 4: Saturate with Water

Wet the area to be cleaned with the garden hose, ensuring you saturate the area you’re about to clean from the top down. This is a best practice when it comes to having clean brick.


Step 5: Prevent Streaking

Because brick cleaning solutions and loose dirt can run down your house, saturate the area below the area you’re cleaning with water too so you can avoid unsightly streaks. This will also ensure that the surrounding area isn't damaged or altered when trying to achieve clean brick.


Step 6: Apply the Brick Cleaning Solution

Now it’s time to apply. Apply your brick cleaning solution to your saturated area. Scrub, power wash, or hose down your surface per your brick cleaner’s instructions. If you use a vinegar and water brick cleaning solution, it is recommended you scrub the surface area with a hard-bristled brush or broom, or power spray the area after applying the solution.


Step 7: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the area thoroughly after cleaning, ensuring you use a large amount of water to make sure all residue from your brick cleaning solution is rinsed away. Remember to wash from the top to the bottom, as this ensures a thorough and even luster once your brick dries.


Brick cleaning doesn’t have to be done by a professional. Achieving clean brick is simple and can be done regularly to ensure your home exterior looks great. With this easy 7-step DIY, your brick exterior can be restored back to its original luster in no time!


Did you like this brick cleaning guide? Check out some more helpful tips and Do-It-Yourself guides as well as our other guide on home exterior cleaning.


Contributed to Your Home blog by Joshlin Grayson

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Published 8.22.19

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