How To Clean Bricks Without Acid

Thursday 13th July 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Someone power washing bricks CONTENTS

 

 

Brick acid can quickly remove tough dirt, limescale, and stains on brickwork. But if used incorrectly, it can permanently damage bricks, put your health at risk, and even cause pollution. You must leave brick cleaning to professionals to ensure a safe, thorough clean.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer quick and effective brick and stone cleaning services. Our technicians can get rid of all traces of dirt, graffiti, paint, and biological growth on your property without damaging your brickwork. They are available across the UK, 365 days a year, including bank holidays.

Continue reading to find out how to clean brickwork without using acid.

What is brick acid?

Also known as muriatic acid, it is an aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid that is usually used to clean brickwork. Most products contain a 10% concentration of the acid but some can contain up to 36%.

It is a corrosive solution that dissolves calcium carbonate which accumulates on brickwork and other stubborn stains including mortar, cement, and limescale.

Why you should not clean bricks with acid

Brick acid is a very dangerous substance. It is corrosive and can cause skin burns and eye. It even produces toxic fumes that can irritate the respiratory system.

Cleaning bricks with hydrochloric acid could damage your brickwork if not used correctly, such as soaking it for too long, as well. Muriatic acid may dissolve the outer surface of the brick and eat away at the mortar joints. The exposed surface can absorb water and cause brick and mortar to crumble.

It can pollute the air, water, and soil near where it is being used, too. The area around where the bricks are being cleaned must be covered with a tarp, for example, to protect plants as well as the other surfaces it may damage, like metal and wood.

Using acid for cleaning bricks can also be a difficult, extensive process. You will require lots of specialist equipment including personal protective equipment (PPE), a tarp, and several brushes to dry brush the brickwork, apply the acid, and remove it.

It is a long process that may need to be repeated to ensure all stains have been removed. You will need to use it outside or in a well-ventilated area to keep yourself and others safe. If you do choose to clean bricks with acid, you must have the sealant replaced every one to two years.  

Alternative ways to clean brickwork

There are lots of home remedies for cleaning bricks. Here are some of the most popular methods for removing dirt and stains from brickwork yourself.

Pressure washing

Although pressure washers can blast tough grime and paint off brick, too high a pressure could damage it and cause delamination.

Professional cleaners will know whether pressure washing is the best way to clean your brickwork and will select the right pressure to ensure a thorough, damage-free clean.

Vinegar

Scrubbing brickwork with a vinegar-water mixture is a safe cleaning method as vinegar is a weak acid. However, not diluting the vinegar can damage the surface of the bricks, and using a wire-brush to scrub at the dirt and stains may take off the brick’s finish and leave behind small bits of metal.

Bleach

A mixture of bleach and water can kill mildew and moss growing on your brickwork. You must wear PPE during this process as bleach is corrosive and can irritate and burn the eyes and skin. It will not tackle tough stains, either.

To ensure your brickwork is cleaned effectively, you should bring in professional brick cleaners. They will have the equipment and expertise to deliver a high-quality clean without damaging your masonry, putting your health at risk, or harming the environment.

How to clean mortar off bricks without acid?

Brick cleaning acid is often used to get rid of mortar and cement on brickwork. This is because both contain calcium carbonate which brick acid dissolves. Other cleaning solutions, like vinegar, are too weak to remove mortar.

Some suggest that instead of removing it with acid, use household products like water, baking soda, and detergent, or chip away at it with a chisel and hammer.

However, it is recommended that you hire brick cleaners to clean mortar from your masonry. They will have the specialist products and equipment required to remove all the mortar safely.

Why you should leave brick cleaning to the professionals

Firstly, they will be trained in identifying the optimal cleaning solution for your problem and your brickwork, and ensure they leave no damage behind.

They will also have access to the latest brick cleaning equipment, such as the TORIK Brick Cleaning System. This uses super-heated water to blast off tough grime and dirt including graffiti, oil, and biological growth without affecting the brick underneath.

Specialist cleaners, like our technicians, should be IPAF-qualified, too. This means they will be able to safely work at height and clean difficult-to-reach areas.

Contact us today

Our technicians can use a range of non-abrasive, eco-friendly brick and stone cleaning solutions that will quickly restore your brickwork. We are corporate members of several organisations including IOSH, BICSc, and SafeContractor, and can adhere to all health and safety requirements.

Give us a call on 0208 066 0360 or send an email to enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our brick and stone cleaning services and get a free, no-obligation quote.

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