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how to clean brick

How to clean brick? Sooner or later, you're going to have to tackle brick cleaning on the masonry work in and around your home, including cleaning your fireplace.

Brick cleaning can be a challenge. Because brick, whether indoor or out, gets dirty. Really dirty. And sooty. And moldy.

Fireplaces and other brick masonry grab and hold soot; and outdoor brick is vulnerable to mold or water stains. Despite brick's tough reputation, it can easily be damaged. Yet with the right buffing routine and a little elbow grease, it can look as a good as new.

3 solutions for cleaning brick.

These 3 brick cleaning solutions begin with the easiest, most gentle brick-buffing method and work their way up. Each step in this list is a bit more aggressive than the last. Try them in order. Not only will it be easier on the brickwork, it will be easier for you in the elbow grease department.

Remove any surface debris before you begin. Keep in mind that repeating the stain removal process may be necessary after the brick dries, as wet brick can hide stains.

1. clean brick with a mild dish detergent solution.

Mix 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid, a dash of salt, and enough water to make a smooth solution. Begin cleaning brick by rubbing the solution into the brick surface using a cloth or rag. Let stand for 10 minutes. Scrub the brick area with a stiff-bristle brush. Finish by rinsing with water.

2. clean brick with a solution of chlorine bleach if you have mildew or mold problems.

A 50-50 mix of water and bleach works well to remove mold and mildew on bricks. Apply with a stiff bristle brush. Rinse, and allow to air dry.

3. when the going gets really grungy, clean brick with trisodium phosphate solution (tsp).

Using a stiff-bristle brush, scrub the surface with a solution of a half-cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) mixed in 1 gallon hot water in a plastic bucket. A word of caution here: TSP is caustic and potentially dangerous. So follow the product's directions carefully and keep it away from children.

You'll want to wear rubber or latex gloves, safety goggles and protective clothing to protect against any of the TSP coming into direct contact with skin or directly inhaling fumes.

rinse the brick and allow to air dry.

Repeat if needed, adding up to another one half-cup of TSP to the solution. Rinse again with warm water.

Check out the Clean Organized Home Store for the brick cleaning products and tools you need to get the dirty job done.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.