Cleaning Brick Masonry

Without doubt, brick is one of the most durable and strong options when it comes to home and business construction. Being a naturally durable material, brick is an excellent insulator and protector. You will also discover that brick provides an excellent return on the money, making it one of the best investments possible. However, just as with any exterior surface, brick can become dingy and dirty. In this article, we wanted to address the appropriate ways of cleaning brick masonry.


The first step is to check the brick for absorption. For this, simply use a sponge, garden hose, or cloth to thoroughly, soak a small area. If you notice the brick become dark immediately, it is absorbing moisture. Now, you can still use water to clean the surface but rather than cleaning 100 square feet at a time, reduce the area. In fact, if you plan to clean your brick masonry during the hot summer months, we suggest you stick with smaller areas.

Some of the supplies you will need include a bucket, wooden scraper, and stiff bristle brush. Typically, dipping the brush into water and scrubbing will remove stubborn dirt. However, if the brick is exceptionally dirty, add in a small amount of mild laundry or dishwashing soap. Once the area of brick masonry has been cleaned, you would then need to rinse it off with clean water. Depending on the severity of the stain, you may need to repeat the scrubbing process more than once.

Paint Stains

If you have recently painted another portion of the home that resulted in some paint stains on the brick, these too can be cleaned by using a commercial type of paint remover. The best option is to apply the cleaner to the paint stain and then let it dry completely. Next, use your wooden scraper and brush to clean the paint off. Once done, you again want to rinse the washed area with clean water.

Oil and Grease

Sometimes brick masonry will also become stained from oil or grease. In this case, use one pound of trisodium phosphate with one gallon of water. Mix well and then add just a small amount of powdered chalk to help create a thick paste. Using a trowel, simply apply the paste onto the wall so it is about one-half inch thick. Again, allow the mixture to dry. Scrape it off and rinse with clean water and the oil or grease stain will disappear.


Many times, brick masonry needs to be precleaned before it is actually cleaned. This means removing the large mortar pieces within 24 hours of the siding being installed. Then within one week, the cleaning of the brick can take place. Of course, if you have any plants or trees near the home, they would need to be protected by covering them during the cleaning with a plastic tarp.