Cleaning outside brickwork such as walls, paths and fences on a regular basis not only retains the brick looking fresh and new, but also increases its lifespan. Moss, mildew and layers of grime trap moisture that degrades the surface of the brick. Removing grime will conserve your brickwork for years to come.
Condition is Everything
Inspect the brickwork for any damage, before cleaning. Cracks, chips and missing chunks of mortar may allow water to seep beyond the surface, resulting in irreversible damage. Make any necessary repairs prior to cleaning the bricks that water and detergent do not make the issue worse.
Test It Out
If you’re planning to use any detergent on the bricks, test an inconspicuous area prior to cleaning. Spray or use the cleaner on the brick, scrub as you would during cleaning then rinse. Check the brick when it dries to guarantee that the detergent hasn’t caused any discoloring.
Spray It Off
Use a pressure washer to remove grime and surface dirt. Take care to not damage the masonry using the maximum pressure or holding the sprayer too near the bricks. Keep the pressure below 3000 psi. Typically, pressure washing will be sufficient to wash out the brick. When it is stained or heavily soiled and the sprayer doesn’t depart the brick tidy, you might have to use a detergent.
Utilize a commercial brick cleaning solution to remove stains and grime, or create your own. For grime, mix equal portions laundry detergent and water. Particularly those due to moss, mix one part bleach. Or, make a paste you could spread on the brick by mixing one part salt and one part dishwashing liquid then adding only enough water to make a thick paste. Start at the base of the wall and work your way up, letting the detergent endure for five to ten minutes prior to scrubbing with a brush and rinsing.
Blast It Off
As a final resort, you may use abrasive blasting to remove stains and dirt. This process can damage mortar and bricks if not done properly. It is not suitable for historical or soft bricks. This sort of job is best performed by an expert. If you decide to do it yourself, test a small area first to make sure the abrasive doesn’t pit or damage the brick. Abrasive blasting options include lavender, nut shells, cherry or peach pits and glass rings.