Cleaning Brick and Stone

by Amy Gordon
(last updated February 22, 2016)

Brighten up dull brickwork by rubbing it with a piece of broken brick of a matching color and texture. Use the broken surface as the abrasive, and it will remove the face of the bricks being renovated, exposing a clean surface. The same treatment can be used for a grubby stone surface. Make sure your bricks are colored throughout. Some bricks are dyed on the surface with a different color on the inside; if you use this abrasive technique with them, you'll ruin your brick.

You can also brighten brickwork or masonry by raking out about a half inch of weathered mortar and replacing it with new mortar. A good way to do this is to use a large-gauge nail or spike and use it to do the scraping. When the scraping is done, use some compressed air to blow away the debris before replacing the mortar.

Where brickwork is stained with cement or mortar drippings, check with your local hardware store for some special cleaning fluid you can use to remove the drips. Look for a type that dissolves the cement or mortar without affecting the masonry. Be sure to protect your eyes and hands with goggles and gloves while working, as the cleaning fluid is usually acidic. You should also be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging very carefully, being careful to avoid the mortar you want to keep.

Pressure washers can remove grime and algae from brick and stone walls with pure water, but this may damage any wood surrounding your brick. You don't want to force water into gaps and cracks around frames or between the brick or stone and its surrounding wood, as this increases the risk of wood rot. Also be aware that pressure washers can easily dislodge soft mortar from between brick or stone, so you may need to do a bit of patchwork after the washing.

For oil stains on brick paving, use a proprietary cleaner such as that used for cleaning car engines. You may also spread cat litter over the patches, allow the litter to absorb any oil stains, and then brush it off.

For mold or algae growth on stone or brick, use a proprietary fungicide to kill off the growth. Follow the instructions on the packaging very carefully.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...


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