Project Guide

How to Clean Bricks

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Prepare the Area for Washing
Prepare area for washing - How to Clean Brickwork
  • Look for any cracks in the brick or mortar; these will have to be repaired before pressure washing. 
  • Cover and protect light fixtures, electrical outlets and jacks with a waterproof material so water won't be forced into them during cleaning.  
  • Cover nearby shrubs, bushes and flower beds. 
  • Ensure that windows are tightly sealed. 

Tip: Some old bricks can't stand up to pressure washing. If you live in a century home, consider getting a professional opinion.

Apply Detergent
Apply detergent - How to Clean Brickwork
  • Use a low-pressure nozzle on the pressure washer to spray on your selected detergent from the top to bottom of a wall, or from one end of the sidewalk to the other. 
  • Let the detergent sit for a few minutes so it can break up surface dirt and stains. The product packaging will indicate how long to leave it before high-pressure washing/rinsing.
Turn Up the Water Pressure
Turn up water pressures - How to Clean Brickwork
  • Use a surface-cleaner attachment or higher-pressure nozzle to clean the brickwork, again working from top down. 
  • Spray in horizontal strokes over a 3- or 4-foot-wide area at a time. 
  • Start with moderate pressure and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the ideal nozzle distance from the cleaning surface.
  • Increase the PSI (pressure) as needed. 
  • Rinse walls thoroughly. 
  • Use a garden hose to thoroughly rinse nearby surfaces, such as the driveway, walkway, patio and soil of detergent residue. 

Safety: If working on a wall, use an extension attachment — never stand on a ladder when pressure washing.

Spot-Treat Problem Areas
Spot-treat problem areas - How to Clean Brickwork
  • Check your brickwork after it has thoroughly dried, after a day or two. 
  • Spot-treat any leftover stains the pressure washing left behind, such as stubborn mildew or algae, or set-in rust or masonry bloom. 
  • Wet the stained areas with clean water and cleaner with a sprayer or, for especially persistent stains, a wire brush.
  • For mildew and mold stains, mix equal parts chlorine bleach and water. 
  • For mortar stains and rust, dilute an acid-based masonry detergent following the manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Rinse thoroughly and let dry.