Ways of cleaning masonry

If you have a brick property or brick features in your home, such as a fireplace or feature wall, you will sometimes find stains which need cleaning. There are several different products to spruce up your masonry.

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Getting rid of fungus, mildew or moss

Mix two pints of household bleach with one gallon of warm water. Use a stiff brush to wash down the walls and this will generally get rid of the problem. Rinse with clean water afterwards but make sure the bleach has had time to work first. It is the bleach and not the scrubbing which gets rid of the spores, so you do not need to use too much elbow grease.

Removing paint

Paint can be removed in a variety of ways including sandblasting, using paint removers, wire brushing, washing with muriatic acid or power washing. The most effective way is to use a commercial power washer, which can be hired by the day, as it is easy to operate and does not make a mess. This is fine for external masonry cleaning, but all that water would cause problems for interior bricks. These can be cleaned using a chemical stripper.

Muriatic acid cleaning

Use one part muriatic acid to nine parts water on red-brick walls. This can be used to get rid of oil, soot or white mineral residues. Allow the acid to set for about 15 minutes, before cleaning with a bristle brush and rinsing with clean water. Try it on a small area first to make sure it does not damage the brick, and do not use a solution stronger than the 10% maximum.

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Commercial cleaners

You will find a variety of commercial masonry cleaning compounds on the market, such as these at https://www.stonehealth.com/stone-cleaning-products/. These could contain acids as well as wetting and buffering agents, to minimise deterioration of mortar joints or damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, because the formula for each compound could be complicated and you do not want to risk damaging the brickwork.

After-care for your brickwork

After thoroughly cleaning brick or stone, you can apply a sealer to minimise the damage from salt air or extreme weather – this is particularly useful if your property is near to the sea. This is an effective and easy way to take care of your masonry.

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