How To Clean Red Brick

Wednesday 23rd August 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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A red brick wall CONTENTS

Red brick is a durable, low maintenance, and robust type of brick that adds a bold, rustic charm to a property. To keep your brickwork free from stains and in good condition, you must clean your red brick regularly.

However, there are lots of different brick cleaning methods to choose from, all of which correlate with a type of stain. Use the wrong one and you could fail to remove the stain or may damage the brickwork.

We offer our brick and stone cleaning services nationwide, here at ICE Cleaning. Our technicians have years of experience removing a range of stubborn stains including dirt, graffiti, paint, and biological growth from brickwork. They are available 365 days a year, including bank holidays.

Continue reading to learn about the different stains that could form on your brickwork and find out the best ways to clean red brick.

Grime

Soot and dirt build up on bricks over time. They will not cause damage but should be removed for aesthetic reasons.

Removing grime can be as simple as applying a detergent solution with a nylon brush. However, this can be difficult depending on how hard it is to reach the stains. Professional cleaners, like our brick cleaners, are IPAF-qualified so they can safely work at height and get rid of any dirt and soot.

Efflorescence

White blooms and marks on your bricks are caused by the formation of salts on the surface of bricks after they have been saturated with water.

Just like dirt, this is a natural stain and it will eventually be washed away with the rain. You can speed up this process by spraying your brickwork with water but avoid using a pressure washer.

If the pressure it too high, it can damage the surface of the bricks and lead to stains, more efflorescence, scarring, and delamination. You can learn more about efflorescence in this blog.

Lime staining

When water flows through cement or mortar, the water dissolves the free lime in it. It’s then deposited on the brick face in form of white stains and blooms like efflorescence.

Hydrochloric acid (known as brick or muriatic acid) is required to remove these stains. This is a very dangerous, corrosive substance which can cause skin burns, eye damage, and respiratory irritation. Only professional cleaners should use it to ensure it is correctly and safely used.

Metallic staining

Iron, manganese, and vanadium are all present in clay and can lead to a range of stains on your brickwork:

  • Iron: when iron compounds come to the surface, they can oxidise and create rusty stains
  • Manganese: this is a colouring agent that might produce dark brown and black stains
  • Vanadium: as it is a soluble salt, it could appear on the surface as yellow or green stains

While iron and manganese stains can weather away, vanadium must be treated with oxalic acid. This substance is harmful to be exposed to and could cause a range of health problems including skin and eye irritation, headaches, and convulsions.

Cement and mortar stains

Brick acid is often used to get rid of stubborn cement and mortar stains on brickwork, but it can damage it if used incorrectly. The acid can break down minerals and convert them into salts which might end up weakening the bricks.

Paint and graffiti

The removal process will depend on the kind of paint on the brickwork and how many layers there are. Should you use the incorrect process, and you might not remove all the paint and could cause more damage.

Muriatic acid is usually used to remove paint and, as previously mentioned, should only be mixed and used by professional brick cleaners. Incorrectly removing lead paint can be hazardous, too, and you may accidentally release it into the air.

Our technicians can remove all the paint on your brickwork without damaging the surface underneath. You can learn more about our paint removal services here.

Biological growth

Moss and algae naturally grow on brickwork, particularly in cold, damp, and shaded areas. They usually don’t need to be treated and can be solved by addressing the conditions causing them to grow, but biocides can get rid of them, too.

Why you should always bring in professional brick cleaners

Brick cleaning can be a laborious, dangerous process, particularly if you are handling harmful chemicals or are trying to reach high-up areas.

Professionals, like our technicians, can take care of the entire brick cleaning process for you. They have experience cleaning red brick houses, as well as the personal protective equipment and tools required to safely remove even the most stubborn stains.

Some cleaning chemicals may also damage the environment. Cleaners will know how to protect the surrounding area to prevent chemical run-off or they will only use environmentally-friendly solutions.

You can find out more about why you should hire a professional brick and stone cleaning company in this blog.

Contact us today

Our technicians have experience cleaning many different types of stones including brickwork, blockwork, granite, sandstone, and limestone. They have been accredited by a wide range of organisations including BICSc, SafeContractor, and IOSH.

Get in touch by giving our friendly team a call on 0208 066 0360 or sending them an email at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to learn more about our brick cleaning services.  

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