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Many houses today are embellished with brick features, such as patios, fireplaces, veneer siding, and stairs. Often times, bricklayers will seal the bricks with masonry sealer, making them easier to clean. Cleaning brick that hasn't been sealed requires more time and effort.
Cleaning brick that has been sealed is as simple as mopping your floor or vacuuming your carpet. Vacuum your interior brick features while vacuuming your carpet. Place your vacuum in hard floor mode, or use the attachments. When it is time to mop your floors, mop the brick at the same time, using warm water. When dirt is visible on the brick, scrub it clean with a mild detergent and a scrub brush.
Brick that hasn't been sealed is a little more difficult to clean, but still not hard to do. Brick fireplaces are popular features in many houses. When having a fireplace built, ask them to seal it for easier cleaning. If your fireplace is already installed, but not sealed, there are a couple of solutions you can mix up that will easily remove soot.
If your fireplace is relatively new, or cleaned on a regular basis, you can use a mild detergent mixture to clean it. Combine a small amount of dish detergent with an equal amount of table salt to make a creamy mixture. Apply to the brick, including the crevices, and allow it to sit for ten minutes. Scrub it with a stiff wire brush. Rinse the brick well and allow the fireplace to dry before use.
Fireplaces that haven't been cleaned in a while need a much stronger solution to remove oil and soot buildup. Mix together 1 part Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP, with 16 parts hot water. TSP can be purchased at most home supply stores. Put on a pair of gloves and scrub the fireplace with the TSP solution and a nylon brush. Rinse thoroughly and repeat as necessary.
Cleaning brick outside the house usually involves using a power washer. When cleaning brick veneer siding, set the power washer to any setting less than 1000PSI (6.895MPa). Using plain water, spray from the top of the veneer to the bottom. If you are cleaning a brick patio, spray the brick with a pressure washer, starting from the edge closest to the house and working outwards.
When cleaning brick veneer siding or patios that are excessively dirty or stained, use a power washer with an industrial brick cleaning solution. Brick cleaner is available at most home supply stores in the masonry aisle. Follow the manufacturer directions for using your power washer with an industrial cleaner. Set the pressure washer for less than 400PSI (2.758MPa) and clean the brick in the same manner as above.
Cleaning brick is just as easy as cleaning most other materials. Brick is also durable and will retain its natural beauty longer than most other materials when taken care of. Make cleaning your brick features part of your regular household chores and it will provide you with many years of satisfaction.