How To Clean Cement Off Bricks

Wednesday 30th August 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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A brick wall CONTENTS

 

Removing cement from your brickwork can be a challenging task, especially when the cement has hardened over time. It is a complex, long process involving dangerous chemicals and laborious methods. It is recommended you bring in professional brick cleaners to remove cement from brick.

At ICE Cleaning, we offer our brick cleaning services across the UK. Our technicians have access to industry-leading equipment, like the TORIK Brick Cleaning System, and can remove biological growth, paint, pigeon guano, and graffiti without damaging the surface below.

Continue reading to learn about the different methods of cleaning cement off bricks and why it should always be left to professionals. 

The challenges of removing cement from bricks

Cement is the adhesive that binds concrete together. Removing it from a brick wall is no easy task, particularly when the concrete has cured onto your bricks as it will have reached its full strength. 

Another problem you will encounter is that the cleaning methods and chemicals used to clean off cement can also eat away at the mortar between the bricks or even the bricks themselves. Removal will need to be done carefully to avoid making the situation worse.

You will need to know what type of concrete was used to determine the ideal cement removal method, too, or you might not remove all of the stain. Limestone-based concrete, for example, can be cleaned off with sulphuric acid. 

How to get cement off bricks

There are lots of different ways to remove concrete from brickwork, all of which require specialist equipment and chemicals which can be dangerous to use. Should you use them incorrectly or without the right personal protective equipment (PPE), you could put your health at risk and damage the environment. 

Physically remove the cement

For large chunks of concrete, gently tap them with a chisel and hammer. You must be precise and take your time during this process to ensure you do not chip away any of the brick.

You can then use a wire brush to scrub off any remaining stains, but we advise against this as it can take off the brick's finish and expose its core. 

Brick cleaning acid

Muriatic acid is recommended for cleaning many different stains off bricks. It is a form of hydrochloric acid that dissolves calcium carbonate so it can quickly eat away at cement. 

Scrubbing the acid onto cement on bricks and pavers is an effective solution, but it must be applied carefully. It can dissolve the outer surface of the brick if left on for too long. It may also eat away at the mortar joints. 

It is a dangerous substance to be exposed to, too. Muriatic acid is corrosive and produces toxic fumes that can irritate your respiratory system, so you will need to wear PPE when applying it. 

Brick acid can pollute the environment, as well, so the surrounding area must be covered with a tarp to protect plants and soil. It should be rinsed off thoroughly afterwards to protect the brickwork. 

Pressure Washing

This may be a popular method for cleaning tough stains off brick, but too a high pressure could cause damage and delamination. It can even damage the rest of your property, for example, window sills must be safeguarded with masking tape to prevent any potential harm caused by high-pressure spray.

Professional cleaners can determine whether this is the right method for your brickwork and will select the correct pressure to remove the cement. 

Vinegar

This acidic household product is used for many at-home cleaning solutions, but it is not effective at removing concrete from bricks. It can dissolve some of the cement in the mixture, but probably will not be able to tackle the entire stain. 

The benefits of hiring professional brick cleaners

Professional brick cleaners can quickly and carefully restore your brickwork to pristine condition without causing any damage. They will have the latest equipment for an efficient, effective clean so you can be sure every trace of concrete will be removed. 

They will also have the knowledge to identify the best solution for your type of brick and mortar, preventing potential damage to your property's exterior surfaces. They should even have experience with environmentally-friendly cleaning techniques and methods to protect the local environment during the cleaning. 

Cleaners should be able to safely work at height, as well. Our technicians are IPAF-qualified so they can reach any stain – including those in difficult-to-reach areas  to ensure a thorough service. 

Professional cleaners can give you peace of mind that your brickwork has been cleaned properly, saving you attempting the extensive and dangerous process of cleaning it yourself. 

Frequently asked questions

What removes dried cement?

A combination of a wire brush and hot water can effectively remove fresh cement splatters. For hardened or cured cement, consider hiring professional cleaners for safe removal.

Does cement stain bricks?

Yes  if left untreated, wet concrete can leave stubborn stains on brick surfaces. These stains become more challenging to remove once the concrete has fully cured.

How do you clean bricks after laying?

Cleaning newly laid bricks requires careful brushing with a soft bristle brush and warm water. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the brick's surface or mortar joints.

Does WD-40 clean bricks?

No  WD-40 is not recommended for cleaning bricks as it could potentially discolour them. Instead, use specialised brick cleaners or contact professional brick cleaners.

Get in touch

Our eco-friendly solutions can eliminate any stains without threatening your health or damaging the surrounding environment. Our technicians have many years of experience cleaning residential, commercial, and industrial properties, and are available 365 days a year, including bank holidays.

Contact our team today by calling 0208 066 0360 or sending an email to enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our brick cleaning services.

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