Homemade Brick Cleaning Solution
If you need to clean your brick fireplace before Santa's next visit, it's time to start mixing your own brick cleaning solution.
If Santa isn't on his way to your house this year, you can still clean your brick patio for your holiday guests.
Either way, mixing your own brick cleaning solution is often a better option than using a commercial brick cleaner. Commercial cleaners can be hard on both your wallet and the environment.
Cleaning Indoor Brick:
There are two major types of indoor brick dirt: Dust and soot. To get rid of the dust, simply vacuum the brick around the mantle, hearth and sides regularly.
By cleaning the brick often, you'll also reduce the amount of soot that clings to it when you light a fire.
You'll probably vacuum up a lot of ash when clean the fireplace, so make sure you change your vacuum cleaner bag if it gets too full.
To clean indoor brick you'll need:
- Rubber or latex-free gloves
- Clean water
- Old, clean cloth
- Drop cloth
- Stiff or hard-bristled brush
To make the brick cleaning solution:
- Two ounces of dish washing soap
- Two ounces of kosher salt (you can use regular salt if you don't have kosher salt)
- Mix the dish soap and the salt in the bucket
- Add just enough water to make a thick, creamy paste
The Cleaning Process:
Lay the drop cloth in front of the fireplace to protect your floor. Put the gloves on and rub the solution into the brick with the cloth. Let it dry for 20 to 30 minutes and then scrub with the brush.
Heavy Duty Brick Cleaner:
If your fireplace is covered with a lot of soot that won't come off with the dish soap and salt solution, add 1/4 cup of ammonia to the cleaning mixture.
The ammonia will be much more harsh on the brick, so be careful. Test the mixture first on an extra brick or one that is hidden in the back of the fireplace. DO NOT USE BLEACH WHEN CLEANING WITH AMMONIA.
Cleaning Outdoor Patio Brick:
Before you clean your outdoor brick, power wash your patio. Not only is it fun, it will remove most of the mold, mildew and dirt from the brick and make the actual cleaning and scrubbing easier.
- Add two tablespoons of borax to every gallon of water.
- Using a hard-bristled long-handled brush, scrub the patio.
- Work in sections by pouring a bit of the solution on the brick and then scrubbing.
- If you have rust stains from a dripping faucet or hose, use a commercial rust cleaner like Zud instead of the borax mixture.
Removing Mold And Mildew on Outside Brick:
If mold and mildew won't come off with the power washer or the borax, you can add one cup of bleach to every gallon of water.
Bleach will remove mold and mildew fast, but use care to rinse it off completely because it is caustic (highly alkaline)and could damage things that it comes into contact with.
I don't have to mention that you don't want to get the bleach solution on you, your clothing and you certainly don't want to track it inside on your shoes.
DON'T MIX BLEACH WITH AMMONIA- EVER. BLEACH AND AMMONIA MIXED TOGETHER PRODUCES A TOXIC GAS.