How to Clean Brick (Indoor or Outdoor)

Keep brick walls, floors and fireplaces clean and inviting with simple tips from DIY experts.

Fire Pit Sitting Area

Fire Pit Sitting Area

Follow the brick paver road to a serene sitting area and unwind next to the marsh. Adirondack chairs offer comfortable seating next to the fire pit.

Photo by: Charleston Home + Design Magazine

Charleston Home + Design Magazine

Brick is built to last, but it does need care and cleaning. Whether you’re cleaning the bricks on the exterior wall of your house or the bricks around your fireplace, these simple tips will help you learn how to clean brick.

Interior

Brick can be used on floors, fireplaces and interior walls. The first step to cleaning it is removing surface dirt or, from a fireplace, soot. Use a brush or vacuum to remove loose dirt before wet cleaning.

You can use natural cleaners that you mix up yourself. They’re more affordable than commercially prepared cleaners and are safer. Natural cleaner one: Make a thin paste out of 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and a little bit of water. Apply to brick and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and wipe off with a soft cloth. This method is best for cleaning small areas, like the brick trim around a fireplace. For larger areas like a floor or wall, go with natural cleaner two, vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and pour into a spray bottle. Spray on the bricks and let is sit for a few minutes. Use a sponge mop to clean the bricks. If the bricks are very dirty, use a nylon-bristled scrub brush and put some elbow grease into the scrubbing. Natural cleaner three is baking soda and dish detergent. Make a thin paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of dish soap to ½ cup baking soda. Spread it on brick, let sit for 10 minutes and then scrub off with a brush. Rinse with warm water. 

Another cleaning option for larger areas of brick is mixing trisodium phosphate, a powdery cleaning compound available at home improvement stores, with water and scouring the brick with a scrub brush. TSP is hazardous, so wear heavy duty rubber gloves and safety goggles. 

You can use all of these methods on the interior and exterior of a fireplace, which gets sooty after a winter of fires. Knowing how to clean a brick fireplace keeps it working safely and looking great.

Exterior

If a side of your home doesn’t get much sunlight, moss, mold or mildew can grow on the bricks. Mix a cup of bleach into a gallon of water and apply to the wall with a sponge. Use a natural or nylon-bristle scrub brush to remove the growth. Don’t use a wire brush because it leave bits of metal behind that will rust and stain the bricks. Knowing how to clean brick will keep your home lovely, longer.

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