Tips For Maintaining and Cleaning Bricks

Tips For Maintaining and Cleaning Bricks

February 20th 2024

Bricks often make up the structural integrity of a building and have a classic appeal. They look as good as they perform, but people often overlook general maintenance. Cleaning your brickwork regularly enhances its aesthetic appeal and reduces the need for replacements.

In this guide, we'll reveal how you can keep your bricks looking fantastic through some simple cleaning and maintenance tips.

Why is regular brick cleaning important?

Bricks are highly durable, but that doesn't mean they're indestructible. Not only are they exposed to the elements, but brickwork is also susceptible to water damage, mould and general deterioration.

Removing bacteria

All construction materials can form the perfect habitat for mould and bacteria to grow. If you live in areas prone to rain and the bricks don't receive much sunlight, bacteria - some of them harmful - can thrive.

Structural integrity

The porous surface of bricks means they can quickly gather dirt and moisture, resulting in the growth of algae. Over time, the growth can compromise the stability of the brickwork, which impacts your building's structural integrity.

Regular maintenance can prolong your building's lifespan and ensure it maintains its structure for years.

Aesthetic appeal

Let's not forget that nobody wants to have an ugly home. Curb appeal is also essential if you plan on selling up and moving on - after all, some homebuyers value this over anything else.

Ageing and dirty bricks might not seem like a big deal, but simple cleaning is essentially a facelift for your building's exterior.

The best ways to clean and maintain your bricks

So, now you know why it's necessary to keep your bricks looking great, it's time to reveal the best ways to clean them. While some people prefer to hire professional brick cleaning services, following these tips means you can tackle a variety of stains alone.

Removing algae and mould

Areas of the building's exterior that don't receive much sunlight typically experience higher levels of mould and algae. If the problem is relatively minor, you can use a pressure washer to remove it, but excess water might cause additional issues.

Chemical treatments such as biocides are best for stubborn mould and algae. Once applied to the brickwork, they'll remove stains and prevent further growth. However, be sure to read the instructions, as chemicals can be hazardous when not handled correctly.

Cleaning general grime and dirt

While dirt and grime are inevitable with brickwork, they're usually harmless. However, it does impact the aesthetics of your building, and a simple cleaning will have it looking fresh again.

In most cases, you can use a simple detergent and gently wash the dirt away, but metal brushes and wire tools can damage the surface.

Gentle pressure washers can be beneficial, but you should avoid using a high setting.

Metallic stains

Most clay bricks contain iron, and some manufacturers also use magnesium when producing them. When these bricks are exposed to moisture, a natural reaction occurs, bringing the iron to the surface and causing a stain.

If magnesium is present, you might also notice a black or dark brown stain. Specialists advise leaving the stains to reduce naturally, but you can use a file on the mortar joints to speed up the process.

Vanadium stains

Vanadium stains have a distinctive yellow-green colour, making them unsightly. However, using a dilute oxalic solution can remove them. Other solutions - particularly ones containing hydrochloric acid - can worsen the stains.


You'll immediately notice efflorescence for its white colouring, which appears across the bricks when soluble salts form on their surface. Clay bricks contain salts, which can dissolve when exposed to moisture and then reform into a white powdery stain.

In most cases, efflorescence happens when constructing a building or not storing the bricks in a cool, dry place away from moisture. However, if you experience it, you can either wait for it to fade naturally or use a damp sponge to wash the stain away gently.

Mortar and cement stains

Mortar and cement stains are usually avoidable, but poor bricklaying work can also result in residues that run along the bricks. When this happens, the best thing to do is wait for the mixture to dry completely, avoiding it spreading across the surface.

There are cleaning products designed to remove dry cement, but it's also a good idea to contact a professional if you are unsure how to eliminate the stains.


Some people notice stains around blue bricks, also known as peacocking. It usually happens when the mortar is too wet, but saturation of the brickwork can also be an issue.

Peacocking will eventually fade - the best thing is to leave it and wait for nature to take its course.

Prevention is better than the cure

Sure, there are plenty of ways to clean stained bricks, but prevention saves time and money. Here are some ways to reduce the likelihood of staining:

Focus on Quality Bricks stored in dry conditions are less likely to develop problems when you're laying them. If you buy bricks from a reputable supplier (like Brickhunter!), you can be sure of their quality.

Mortar Choices When choosing mortar, ensure it's compatible with your brick type and prepare it according to the instructions. Wet mortar can lead to stains, but using the right mixture prevents this.

Use Sealant A suitable sealant can add a layer of protection to your brickwork, ensuring moisture doesn't penetrate it.

Ensure Drainage Poor drainage is one of the most significant risks to bricks. Ensure the gutters are working correctly to prevent damage.

We're here for you

Choosing quality bricks that won't let you down shouldn't be a headache - as long as you know where to look. Brickhunter is the go-to place for all of your construction needs. We stock a range of high-quality and cost-effective bricks from suppliers across the UK.

Shopping with us means you don't have to sacrifice quality, as we go out of our way to ensure each supplier meets our high standards. If you need help chossing bricks, please feel free to contact us.