How To Clean A Dirty Brick Wall

Over time the beauty of your brick exterior can fade as dirt and grime build up. But take heart - you can brighten up those dingy bricks and restore them to their original glory and extend their life with some easy cleaning and maintenance tricks. Read on to learn how to clean brick wall exteriors by removing dirt, moss, mold, mildew, and rust, simply and beautifully. For any type of masonry work, you can trust the professionals at Royal Masonry. If you would like a free consultation or quote, contact Royal Masonry today.

brick house.jpg


How To Clean Brick Wall Exteriors - Before You Begin

Before you begin to clean your exterior bricks, you should protect the surrounding area so that you don't damage anything while cleaning. Take the time to do the following before you begin:

  • Place a protective tarp over any nearby bushes
  • Place a protective plastic covering over any flower beds
  • Apply painter's tape around window and door trim


Method 1: Using a Garden Hose

According to Bob Villa, it is best to try the least aggressive approach for cleaning your bricks to see if that work, before attempting to use chemicals and higher pressure tools. A simple garden hose is a good start.

Source:  WikiHow

Source: WikiHow

Materials Required

  • garden hose
  • spray nozzle
  • stiff bristled brush (not wire)
  • water

Steps to Follow

  1. Start at the top of your wall and work your way down to the bottom.
  2. Move the spray of water from side to side as you work your way down.
  3. If you come across an extra dirty area of brick, allow the spray to linger longer. Use a stiff bristled brush and scrub to remove stubborn dirt.
  4. Repeat this type of cleaning once a year to prevent dirt and debris from building up.

Method 2: Using a Pressure Washer

If your bricks are too soiled and the garden hose method doesn't work, you can try using a pressure washer. If you don't own a pressure washer, you probably can rent one from a local rental company.

Materials Required

  • power washer - 3,000 lbs of pressure per inch or less
  • water

Steps to Follow

  1. Make sure you have your pressure washer set to 3,000 pounds of pressure per inch or less to avoid damaging your bricks.
  2. Start at the top of your wall and work your way down to the bottom.
  3. Move the spray of water from side to side as you work your way down.

The following video will show you how to use a pressure washer to clean a brick wall.

Method 3: Cleaning Off Moss, Mold, Or Mildew

Areas of brick that receive limited or no sunlight may have moss, mold, or mildew growing on them. If this is the case, you will notice black or green areas on your wall.

Source:  WikiHow

Source: WikiHow

Materials Required

  • chlorine bleach & water
  • synthetic soft bristle brush
  • safety goggles & rubber gloves
  • garden hose with spray nozzle
  • spray bottle
  • plastic spatula

Steps To Follow

  1. Using a plastic spatula, scrape off the moss, mold, and mildew.
  2. Combine one cup of bleach with one cup of water.
  3. Test for unwanted colour changes in your brick by applying the bleach solution to a small area of brick.
  4. Wait one week. If the brick does not change colour then you can continue.
  5. Thoroughly soak your bricks with water, using your hose.
  6. Spray the bleach solution onto the bricks using a spray bottle, while the bricks are still wet.
  7. Wait one week and then soak the bricks again with water.
  8. Scrub off the moss with a brush.
  9. Rinse with water.

Method 4: Cleaning Rust off Bricks

rust on bricks.jpg

When removing rust from your bricks it is important to do it without causing more staining or opening the surface of the bricks.

  • oxalic acid
  • protective eyewear and gloves

Steps To Follow

  1. Make sure that you carefully follow the safety instructions given by the manufacturer when working with acids.
  2. Test a small area of brick to make sure that it doesn't damage or stain your bricks.
  3. Carefully apply the acid only to the stained areas.

Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Never use a pressure washer on crumbling or damaged bricks. This will further damage your bricks. According to How To Clean Stuff, power washers should only be used as a last resort.
  2. DIY Network advises to never use a wire brush to clean your bricks. It will leave tiny pieces of metal behind on the bricks that will eventually rust and leave unsightly stains that are difficult to remove.
  3. It is usually less effective to remove moss from your bricks in colder weather. According to How To Clean Stuff you will have more success if you do it while the moss is actively growing.
  4. The only type of acid that will actually remove rust is oxalic acid. According to How To Clean Stuff, muriatic acid will not work even though it may be recommended to you.

Time Required

The time required to clean your brick will depend on the size of your walls and the extent of the dirt and mold. Remember that the time can be cut down considerably by regular, yearly cleanings to prevent excessive build-up.

Royal Masonry - Your Stone Mason Experts

If you have any masonry projects in mind or if you require brick or stonework repairs, contact the master stone masons at Royal Masonry. Royal Masonry has built a solid reputation for the highest quality workmanship at the most reasonable rate. Come see us today for all of your masonry requirements.