How To Clean White Stains Off Brick?

How To Clean White Stains Off Brick
Download Article Download Article Efflorescence is the result of water soluble salts building up over time on the porous surface of bricks. It isn’t harmful to the bricks, it just doesn’t look good. Efflorescence is easily removed if you catch it right away. Using a stiff scrubbing brush, most of it will easily come off.

  1. 1 Use a dry, stiff brush to scrub the powder off of the brick. In mild cases, efflorescence can be removed just by brushing the dry surface. Use stiff-bristled nylon brush or a wire brush to scrub the brick surface.
    • Using a dry brush is most effective if the efflorescence is only in small patches.
    • It’s good to avoid water if you can help it, since water is what causes efflorescence.
  2. 2 Use water and mild detergent to scrub the surface of the brick. For exterior walls, use a garden hose to spray the efflorescence with water. For interior surfaces, use a spray bottle filled with water to wet the surface. Then, use a stiff brush and mild dish detergent to scrub away the powder. Rinse the soap off with fresh water.
    • Once the brick is dry, check to see if the efflorescence is gone. If it isn’t, you may need to repeat this or try a stronger cleaning solution.
    • When treating an outdoor wall, make sure the temperatures will be above freezing all day.


  3. 3 Spray a solution of vinegar and water on the brick and scrub it with a brush. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the surface and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, spray the bricks with the mixture again and use a stiff brush to scrub away the efflorescence. Scrub in small, circular motions before rinsing the surface with fresh water.
    • Vinegar can be abrasive on old bricks. Use a different solution if your bricks are more than 20 years old.
    • You can neutralize the acidity of vinegar by mixing a solution of 2-3 tablespoons (30-45g) of baking soda with a spray bottle full of water. Spray the solution onto the bricks you treated with vinegar.
  4. 4 Use a mixture of muriatic acid and water to get rid of tough efflorescence. A mixture of 1 part muriatic acid and 12 parts water is very effective at removing efflorescence. Presoak the wall with fresh water, then apply the acid mixture using a brush. Let the mixture soak into the brick for about 5 minutes. Then, rinse the brick surface with plain water.
    • Wear rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a respirator when working with acid.
    • When mixing the solution, always pour acid into water, never water into acid.
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  1. 1 Use a sandblaster for tough cases of efflorescence. A sandblaster will wear away the surface of the bricks, so you should only use one if you have already tried a gentler method of removing efflorescence. A sandblaster will remove more buildup, but will also make bricks more susceptible to efflorescence later.
    • Avoid sandblasting brick older than 20 years. This causes more harm than good.
  2. 2 Protect your eyes and skin before using a sandblaster. Sandblasters can cause projectiles of stone, wood, or anything the machine hits to fly back towards you. Wear a face shield with a hood and cover your skin with long sleeves and pants. Wear boots and rubber gloves to protect your hands and feet.
    • It’s dangerous to breathe in the debris caused by sandblasting. Make sure your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth, are completely covered.
  3. 3 Protect delicate greenery nearby with dropcloths. Use duct tape to secure dropcloths over anything you don’t want damaged by the potential flying brick. This can include any shrubbery, gardens, electrical outlets, or light fixtures.
    • Alternatively, use plastic sheeting to cover anything you don’t want damaged.
  4. 4 Fill the blasting bucket with media and use the lowest pressure setting. Use fine sandblasting media for the safest results. Set the sandblaster to the lowest pressure setting to avoid damaging the bricks.
    • The lowest pressure should be strong enough to remove efflorescence, but if it isn’t, turn the pressure up a little bit at a time.
  5. 5 Aim the blasting gun at the bricks from at least 5 inches (13 cm) away. Turn the blaster on and use it to wash away the efflorescence from a distance of at least 5 inches (13 cm). Go back and forth across the bricks using smooth, horizontal movements.
    • If you don’t feel comfortable using a sandblaster on your own, a contractor should be able to take care of it.
  6. 6 Seal the brick with waterproofing material to prevent efflorescence. Some sealants need to be applied with a spray bottle, while others can be painted on with a brush or roller. Use a sealant specifically made to keep efflorescence off of bricks. This is especially important after sandblasting, as the process will wear away the protective surface of the bricks.
    • Apply the sealant from the bottom of the wall, up.
    • Keep your plants, windows, and electrical appliances covered up with dropcloths while you are applying the waterproofing material.
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  • Remove efflorescence as soon as you notice it. Over time, it will become much more difficult to remove.
  • Efflorescence doesn’t cause any harm to bricks
  • Keep water off of bricks as much as possible to prevent efflorescence.


  • Stiff scrubbing brush
  • Garden hose or spray bottle
  • Dish detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Muriatic acid
  • Sandblaster
  • Sandblasting media (fine)
  • Dropcloths
  • Duct tape
  • Protective clothing
  • Waterproofing sealant

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 48,469 times.

Why are my bricks turning white?

The white residue is triggered by efflorescence or salt petering – Efflorescence or salt petering is a crystalline, salty deposit with a white or off-white colour that can form on the surfaces of bricks, masonry or concrete. It will only occur when the following three conditions are met:

There is a presence of water-soluble salts Moisture is present to turn salts into a soluble state Any salts must be able to transfer through a material to the surface. Once this moisture evaporates the salts crystallise and result in the efflorescence you sometimes see on the brickwork of extensions.

How do you get white water marks off outside brickwork?

Hard Water Stains –

Brick occasionally becomes stained when water with a high mineral content settles on the surface. The hard water evaporates, leaving behind a whitish haze that requires the use of an acid-based cleaner. You can purchase a commercial brick cleaner or make your own by combining 1 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon of water. Simply dip a stiff-bristled brush into the solution, scrub the stains and rinse the bricks with clean water.

How do you remove chalky residue from brick?

Put some white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle and apply generous amount of vinegar onto the bricks. Let it soak for 5 minutes before scrubbing the surface with bristle brush one more time.

Why is my red brick turning white?


  • What Causes Efflorescence?
  • How to Spot Efflorescence
  • Preventing Efflorescence
  • How to Remove Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts that can form when water is present in or on brick, concrete, stone, stucco or other building surfaces. It has a white or greyish tint and consists of salt deposits that remain on the surface after water evaporates.

Does white vinegar ruin bricks?

” Q. I’ve been hand-pulling weeds for four days in a row and I’m in not even a third of the way through! Perhaps there comes a point when one turns to the help of chemistry, although I’m really afraid for safety of my outdoor cat. Any suggestions?

– Lena in Mississauga, ON, Canada.

I recently moved to a house with a brick walkway. Unfortunately the bricks do not have any concrete between them and lots of weeds keep coming up. I have heard you speak about flame weeders, which sound much better than chemicals. Where can I purchase one?

– Terri in Telford, PA

I have been searching for the tool you say you use to burn weeds, but have been unable to locate one. Could you please provide a source?

– Kathe at the Viking Resort in Penn Yan, NY

I was thinking about using concentrated Acetic Acid to kill weeds in the grout lines between our pavers. Will 20% vinegar harm flagstone?

– Haia in Reading PA

Clearing my patio by hand usually costs me a full Saturday and a good deal of knuckle skin. But even when I manage to get the roots, they come back in full force inside of a month. I’ve read about solutions that involve vinegar, salt, and boiling water. Of course, Round-Up is out of the question. What ARE the easiest ways to get these weeds?

– Tom in Norristown, PA

A. Yes, it’s been a nasty weed year. The historic heat wave many of us recently endured shut down everything I planted in my garden, but the weeds loved it! And yes, the weeds that grow in between the bricks, pavers, flagstones and such in pathways can be especially annoying.

And although Terri in Telford bemoans her lack of mortar, it’s a necessary fault of walkways—if those spaces were sealed up, the whole thing would crack apart from heat and cold stress. Never use vinegar on any kind of paver, brick, flagstone or concrete; it WILL damage the surface. Same for salt. And the oft-recommended ‘boiling water’ will damage your surface.

You ever try and carry a big pot of boiling water? It sloshes a little more violently with every step until some goes ever the edge, burns your hand, you drop the pot and scald your legs, feet and tootsies. Herbicidal soap sprays are a much more safe and effective walkway weed wanquisher.

Similar to insecticidal soaps, they smother their designated pest with a soap-bubble film—and leave your walkway clean and shiny! Soak the weeds well with the soap at the hottest part of the day during a dry spell and they will wither and die. And yes, one of my favorite garden tools—the trusty flame weeder—also works very well.

I use BernzOmatic’s “”Outdoor Torch””; you screw a camp-stove sized propane bottle into one end of the long wand, click the igniter and a cute little flame comes out the other end. Wait for a dry spell, wave the flame over the tops of the weeds, and they will dehydrate and die.

Any hardware or home supply store can order one for you, many stores have them in stock this time of year, and you can order directly from BernzOmatic by calling their toll-free #, 1-800-654-9011 (they don’t sell online) A number of other companies sell similar devices; the Canadian company Rittenhouse, for instance, sells a basic flamer and a more expensive device called the “”Infra-Weeder Dandy Destroyer”” that uses high-powered radiant heat instead of open flame.

It has a spike on the end (designed to plunge into the hearts of dandelions and cook them to death) that looks like it would do a swell job in the spaces between pavers. (Both of these tools use the same small, disposable propane bottles as the BernzOmatic.) Rittenhouse used to also have an “”Infra-Weeder”” with a flat head—HEY! I heard that!—that was designed just for walkway use, but it appears to have been replaced with a similar looking but very expensive professional model that uses a big refillable gas-grill sized propane tank and sells for over a thousand bucks as opposed to a couple hundred.

If you do choose flame, be careful not to set leaves or brush—or yourself—on fire. This shouldn’t be a problem on pavers (the leaves and brush, anyway), but once you have one of these things, you are tempted to use it everywhere. So if you wander off with your flamethrower, have a helper handy with a hose.

Or limit your pyromania to the patio and use a soap or “”vinegar”” spray to kill weeds in driveways and garden beds. I say “”quote”” because it is technically illegal to call vinegar an herbicide. In their slightly-less-than-infinite wisdom, the EPA has deemed vinegar safe to use and exempt from pesticide regulations, but only as an inert substance, despite the fact that vinegar is pretty much the opposite of inert.

But the government says it is and if you argue with them they will fine you and have you stopped at airports for the rest of your life. You can buy 10% and 20% acidity “”high strength”” vinegars—they’re available in some retail locations and via the Internet—but by law they can’t call them herbicides on the label or tell you how to use them.

The best they can do is label them “”horticultural vinegars””, the assumption being that you will use them instead of nasty bleach to clean your pruning tools, nudge, nudge; wink, wink. That’s why the various organic herbicides popping up on retail shelves these days declare a different active ingredient; clove oil is a popular choice.

What are white stains on brick?

What to do about white stains on a brick berm over a fishpond Q: Three years ago, we bought a house with a backyard brick berm and fishpond that are probably around 20 years old. We also have a brick wall surrounding our entire backyard. Mineral stains have appeared on the brick, but only over the pond.

I’ve read on the Internet that I could use baking soda or vinegar to remove the deposits, or power wash them off. But my husband and I are wary of doing anything that could harm the fish that live in the pond. We plan to ask Harmony Ponds, the company we hire each spring to clean the pond, for advice.

What do you recommend as a way to remove the white spots without harming the fish? Assuming we are able to clean the brick, are there steps we should take to keep this from happening again? A: The white spots are efflorescence, a crust that develops when water laden with mineral salts moves through the bricks and evaporates, leaving salt crystals behind.

  1. It’s ugly but usually doesn’t cause damage, so you can take your time figuring out a solution.
  2. The salts can come from many different things, including the clay in the bricks or the Portland cement, sand or even water used to make the mortar between the bricks.
  3. Because the deposits in your yard are showing up only on brick that is holding back soil, the salts are probably in the soil or in fertilizer used in the planting beds.

Because you already hire a company to clean your pond each spring, dealing with the efflorescence at the same time is definitely the way to go. To ensure that the cleaning doesn’t harm the fish, ask the company to scoop them out and temporarily house them in a container with lots of clean water.

  • Don Jump, owner of Harmony Ponds in Lorton (703-978-2800; ), said the company has a 1,000-gallon tank they use for this.
  • Saving the pond water, along with the fish, also helps them because it avoids an abrupt change in the chemistry of the water.
  • And getting the fish out of the way safely before you tackle the efflorescence is a lot less stressful than doing it when the water is already contaminated and you’re racing to keep the fish from dying.

With the fish and water out, the pond cleaners can remove the mineral crust. The Brick Industry Association, a trade group, recommends starting by scrubbing with a dry, stiff brush, then switching to a brush with water and finally to a cleaner formulated to remove efflorescence from masonry.

  • Jump said his company starts with these steps.
  • If the efflorescence is new, a brush usually scrubs it right off, he said, and if it’s been there for about six months, a cleaner usually works.
  • But what we’re usually dealing with is years old,” he said.
  • For that, his crew turns to an angle grinder fitted with a wire wheel, which the team uses as gently as possible.

He estimated cleaning the bricks would take about one hour, which would add $160 to the spring-cleaning bill for customers like you who have signed a contract to have the company do seasonal pond cleaning. The spring-cleaning service fee ranges from around $240 for a small pond like yours to $1,000 or more for large, complicated ponds, Jump said.

  • Customers who want one-time cleaning pay a higher hourly rate of $240.
  • Waiting until spring to deal with the efflorescence would save you money and would probably make the cleaning last longer.
  • Efflorescence tends to show up more in the winter than in the summer, because the bricks tend to stay damp longer in cold weather, allowing more salts to move through.

And, as the Brick Industry Association notes in a paper about dealing with efflorescence, “It is usually not advisable to wash efflorescence off the brickwork except in warm, dry weather, since washing results in the presence of considerably more moisture, which may bring more salts to the surface of the brickwork.” As for fixing the underlying problem, you would need to keep moisture from moving through the bricks.

  • What would have been easy during construction is more work now.
  • You would need to excavate the soil behind the brick and either waterproof the back of the brick or line the planters so moisture can’t seep out through the front.
  • You’d still need a way for excess moisture to escape, however, both to keep plants healthy and to keep waterlogged soil from pushing out the bricks.

A common solution is to install weep holes through the wall at the base. Outfitted with pipes that slant downward toward the front of the wall, the weep holes would allow water to drip out beyond the face of the brick. A landscaping company that does masonry work can offer advice.

Can you reverse white washed brick?

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Whitewash from a Building – There are a lot of questions people have about removing whitewash from the exterior of a building that is made out of brick or stone. Some of the most common questions people have include: Why do people like to have whitewash on the outside of a building? There are a lot of reasons people apply whitewash to the outside of the building.

First, whitewash can add an extra layer of protection. It can protect your building against moisture, particularly during a thunderstorm. Second, some people like the appearance of whitewash. Therefore, it could help you increase the value of your building. Is it possible to remove whitewash by myself? Yes, it is possible for you to remove whitewash from brick or stone by yourself.

There are special paints and solutions that can help you strip whitewash from the outside of your building. It can take a long time for you to remove whitewash, particularly if it covers the entirety of your building. You should be patient during the process.

What is the white powder on my bricks?

Introduction –

You’ve seen it on a lot of buildings, perhaps even at your Corporation.That white powdery substance is called efflorescence, it’s a deposit of soluble salts which is most obvious during the winter, but may also be observed throughout the year following heavy rains and sudden drops in temperature.Often, it is apparent just after the structure is completed when the designers, builders and owners are most concerned with the appearance of the new structure.

Do white water stains go away?

Baking Soda – Get those white marks—caused by hot cups or sweating glasses—off your coffee table or other wooden furniture by making a paste of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon water. Gently rub the spot in a circular motion until it disappears. Remember not to use too much water to remove water stains from wood. Need more stain removal tips? Here’s how to remove sticker residue,

What is the best brick cleaner?

How to Clean Brick (Indoor or Outdoor) Brick is built to last, but it does need care and cleaning. Whether you’re cleaning the bricks on the exterior walls of your house or the bricks around your fireplace, these simple tips will help you learn how to clean brick.

Brick can be used on floors, fireplaces and interior walls. The first step in cleaning brick is to remove surface dirt or, from a fireplace, soot. Use a brush or vacuum to remove loose dirt before wet cleaning. You can use natural cleaners that you mix up yourself. They’re more affordable and safer than commercially prepared cleaners.

Natural cleaner one: Make a thin paste out of 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and a little bit of water. Apply to brick and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and wipe off with a soft cloth. This method is best for cleaning small areas, like the brick trim around a fireplace.

  • For larger areas like a floor or wall, go with natural cleaner two, vinegar.
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water and pour into a spray bottle.
  • Spray on the bricks and let is sit for a few minutes.
  • Use a sponge mop to clean the bricks.
  • If the bricks are very dirty, use a nylon-bristled scrub brush and put some elbow grease into the scrubbing.

Natural cleaner three is baking soda and dish detergent. Make a thin paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of dish soap to 1/2 cup baking soda. Spread it on brick, let sit for 10 minutes and then scrub off with a brush. Rinse with warm water. Another cleaning option for larger areas of brick is to mix trisodium phosphate, a powdery cleaning compound available at home improvement stores, with water, and scour the brick with a scrub brush.

  • TSP is hazardous, so wear heavy-duty rubber gloves and safety goggles.
  • You can use all of these methods on the interior and exterior of a fireplace, which gets sooty after a winter of fires.
  • Nowing how to clean a brick fireplace keeps it working safely and looking great.
  • If a side of your home doesn’t get much sunlight, moss, mold or mildew can grow on the bricks.

Mix a cup of bleach into a gallon of water and apply to the wall with a sponge. Use a natural or nylon-bristle scrub brush to remove the growth. Don’t use a wire brush because it leave bits of metal behind that will rust and stain the bricks. Knowing how to clean brick will keep your home lovely, longer.

How do you restore color to brick?

Got White Stain on Brick Walls or Garden Walls ? Use This Trick to Get Rid Off

Professional Sealer Application – A professional sealer application can help rejuvenate old brickwork and restore its bright red color. Professional-grade pneumatic spray equipment can ensure efficient and expedient sealing work. Some brick sealants will require multiple coats, while others will protect brickwork with only one layer.

Will hydrogen peroxide clean bricks?

Restoring discolored bricks – White, light gray, and translucent bricks can yellow over time, especially after prolonged exposure to sunlight. Soaking old white bricks in hydrogen peroxide is a popular method to brighten them up, and YouTuber JangoBricks demonstrates how to do this,

Does baking soda damage brick?

Download Article Download Article A fireplace can be a cozy addition to any home, but one of the inevitable byproducts is soot on the surrounding bricks. Soot can leave lasting stains on the material it comes in contact with, so it’s important to clean this buildup at least once a year.

  1. 1 Let your fireplace cool for at least 12 hours before you start. Hot bricks should not be cleaned. After your fire, let everything cool down overnight or for at least 12 hours before you start any cleaning methods. This will protect your hands and make sure no chemicals get warmed up as you use them.
    • If you use your fireplace for heat, consider cleaning it during the summer months when you won’t need to use it as much.
  2. 2 Remove the ashes and loose soot. Use a brush and dustpan to clean your fireplace out before you start scrubbing it. Throw away any ashes or large pieces of charred wood that may be in the fireplace. This will make your cleaning process much easier.
    • You can set aside wood that has not been burned to use later.


  3. 3 Lay a drop cloth or towels down to protect your floors. As you clean, you may drip water or chemicals on the floor around your fireplace. Lay down a protective covering on your floors surrounding your fireplace to make sure you don’t damage your carpet or hardwood. Warning: Do not use newspapers, as the ink can transfer onto your floors if it gets wet.
  4. 4 Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands. As you scrub your fireplace, you may end up getting chemicals on your hands. Put on rubber kitchen gloves to protect your skin and avoid irritation. If you are using TSP cleaner, put on safety goggles as well.
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  1. 1 Make a paste of a 1:1 ratio of water and baking soda. Combine 4 tbsp (56 g) of baking soda with 4 tablespoons (59 mL) of warm water. Stir the ingredients together until they form a thick paste. If your mixture is too runny, add more baking soda.
  2. 2 Rub the mixture into the bricks with your hands. Scoop large amounts of your baking soda paste and spread it onto your fireplace. Work from the top down to create a thin layer all over the brick face. Spread extra paste on the inside of the fireplace, since that is where the soot will be the thickest.
    • Put on rubber kitchen gloves to protect your hands, or use a clean rag to spread the paste instead.
  3. 3 Let the paste sit for 10 minutes. The baking soda will work to break down grease and grime on your bricks. Allow the paste to sit for about 10 minutes to loosen up the soot. Do not let the paste dry or harden all the way, or it could damage your bricks.
    • If your paste does get too dry, spray it with water to loosen it up again.
  4. 4 Scrub the mixture away with an abrasive scrub brush. Use a scrub brush with hard bristles to scrub away the mixture. Dip your brush in water occasionally to wash away the baking soda residue. The mildly abrasive baking soda will work with your brush to scrub away tough soot.
    • Do not brush so hard that you damage the bricks themselves.
  5. 5 Wipe down your bricks with warm water and remove the drop cloths. Use a soft sponge dipped in warm water to completely remove any baking soda left on your bricks. Let the fireplace dry completely before you use it again. Remove any drop cloths or towels you put down to catch spills.
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  1. 1 Combine a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Combine 1 cup (240 mL) of white vinegar with 1 cup (240 mL) of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to make sure they are mixed well. Use a clean spray bottle that has not ever had any harsh chemicals in it.
    • You can buy empty spray bottles at most home goods and hardware stores.

    Warning: If your bricks are more than 20 years old, vinegar may be too harsh on them. Use a non-acidic cleaner like baking soda instead.

  2. 2 Spray the inside and outside of the fireplace with the vinegar solution. Working from the top down, spray your vinegar solution all over the bricks. Pay special attention to areas that have a lot of soot, which could be right around the opening of the fireplace. Make sure you have a drop cloth down to catch any drips.
    • If you have leftover vinegar solution, you can use it as a natural cleaner for bathrooms and countertops.
  3. 3 Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Vinegar is mildly acidic, so it will work to break down the soot and grime stuck onto your bricks. Let the vinegar and water sit on your bricks, but do not let it dry. Don’t let it sit for longer than 10 minutes, or the acidity could start to damage your bricks.
  4. 4 Scrub the bricks from the top down with a scrub brush. Dip your scrub brush in warm water and scrub your bricks. Pay special attention to the grooves in between bricks and any areas that have a lot of soot. Scrub at the bricks until the vinegar smell is no longer there.
    • You can sprinkle baking soda over your bricks to remove the vinegar faster. However, this will cause a foaming reaction on your bricks and could create a mess.
  5. 5 Clean your bricks with warm water and remove the drop cloths. Use a soft sponge to quickly spread warm water over all your bricks. Take away any drop cloths or towels you used on the floor around your fireplace. Let your fireplace dry completely before you burn anything in it again.
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  1. 1 Put on gloves to protect your hands. TSP, or trisodium phosphate, can damage your skin if you get it on you directly. Put on rubber kitchen gloves to protect your hands. Avoid touching TSP with your bare hands as much as you can.
    • You can find rubber gloves at most home goods stores.

    Warning: TSP can also harm your eyes. Wear safety goggles if you are concerned about splashing.

  2. 2 Mix trisodium phosphate and warm water in a bucket. Combine 8 tbsp (112 g) of TSP and 1 gallon (3,800 mL) of warm water. Use a plastic bucket that will not come into contact with food later. Stir the mixture until it forms a thin, watery paste.
    • You can buy TSP at most hardware stores.
  3. 3 Use a hard-bristled brush to scrub the mixture into the bricks. Scrub the paste into your bricks on the outside and inside of your fireplace using your brush. Work from the top down, and apply extra paste to areas with more soot. Scrub at the areas to remove the soot. Be careful not to damage the bricks themselves as you scrub, especially if your fireplace is old.
  4. 4 Rinse the bricks with warm water using a sponge. Use a soft sponge to apply warm water all over your bricks. Gently sponge away any TSP residue that is left on your bricks. Rinse your bucket and brushes thoroughly once you are done using them.
    • If there is still soot left on your bricks, apply more TSP paste and scrub them again.
    • When you’re done, remove the dropcloths.
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Add New Question

  • Question Is it easy to clean soot off of brick? Chris Willatt is the owner and founder of Alpine Maids, a cleaning agency in Denver, Colorado started in 2015. Alpine Maids has received Angie’s List Super Service Award for three years in a row since 2016 and has been awarded Colorado’s “Top Rated Local House Cleaning” Award in 2018. House Cleaning Professional Expert Answer Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer. It can be, yes. You can get the soot off with regular cleaning tools like soap, water, and all-purpose cleaner. Even when you get the soot off though, there’s always that smoky smell left. The only way to get that out is to use an enzyme treatment.
  • Question What if some of the soot got on the drywall? Alicia Sokolowski is a Green Cleaning Specialist and the President and co-CEO of AspenClean, a green cleaning company in Vancouver, British Columbia. With over 17 years of experience, Alicia specializes in creating a healthier, green alternative to chemical-based cleaning products and services. Green Cleaning Specialist Expert Answer Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer. For drywall, hook your vacuum hose up with an upholstery attachment and suck up any big chunks of soot. Then, wipe the area with a dry microfiber cloth. For the remaining stains, soak a cloth in any all-purpose cleaner and scrub the stubborn soot stains away before drying it off by hand.
  • Question Can I paint over fireplace brick that has been stained? You could. Just be warned the paint may or may not peel off.

See more answers Ask a Question 200 characters left Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Submit Advertisement

Only burn dry, clean wood to keep your fireplace clean for longer.


  • Never use abrasive chemicals when you clean soot from brick. Many will leave a flammable film which could be dangerous the next time you use your fireplace.
  • Only clean the fireplace when you are certain all ashes are entirely cold. Heat can remain trapped in the ashes for several days after a fire and you could inadvertently burn yourself.


  • Baking soda
  • Drop cloth or towels
  • Gloves or rag
  • Abrasive brush
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Abrasive brush
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles (optional)
  • Abrasive brush
  • Sponge

Article Summary X One easy way to clean soot from brick is with a baking soda scrub. If you’re cleaning a fireplace, let it cool down for 12 hours before you start. Sweep away any loose ashes and soot and lay down a drop cloth to protect the floor. Put on a pair of rubber work gloves to protect your hands.

  1. Mix up equal parts water and baking soda to create a paste, then scoop up the mixture in your hands and smear it over the bricks, working from top to bottom.
  2. Let the paste sit for 10 minutes, then scrub it away with a hard-bristle scrub brush.
  3. Dip your brush in water occasionally to rinse it as you work.

When you’re done, wipe the bricks down with a damp sponge to completely clean away any remaining soot and baking soda. Let the bricks air dry completely before lighting another fire. To learn how to remove tougher soot stains with TSP, read on! Did this summary help you? Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 426,731 times.

Can efflorescence go away on its own?

8 FACTS ABOUT EFFLORESCENCE It appears like a thief in the night. Your once perfect paver walkway or patio is now plagued by a mysterious white coating. Before the questions start flooding in, educate yourself (and your clients) on these eight facts about efflorescence.

  • FACT #1 The word efflorescence is derived from the Latin word efflorescere, which means to blossom out.
  • FACT #2 In the context of hardscaping, efflorescence is the migration of salts to the surface of concrete pavers or retaining walls (where it later forms that aforementioned dreaded white coating).

FACT #3 Efflorescence does not equate to defective pavers or retaining walls. In fact, it’s a normal and natural occurrence that can happen in any cement-based product. FACT #4 In many cases, efflorescence will disappear on its own over time (usually after the first year of a paver or retaining wall installation). How To Clean White Stains Off Brick FACT #5 Efflorescence can also be removed with special cleaners like the Gator Efflorescence Cleaner, Fact #6 On average, you should wait about 60 days before applying an efflorescence cleaner. Since it’s difficult to determine the severity of efflorescence in pavers, it’s best to just let the pavers breathe and partake in their natural process.

Fact #7 If you elect to use a cleaner, always test a small patch in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire job. And be sure to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Most of the time a single cleaning solves the problem. But remember, efflorescence is natural, and Mother Nature may bring it back later.

Simply clean your project again. Fact #8 The severity and persistence of efflorescence on your project will determine how long you should wait to seal your pavers. While some sealers are “breathable,” sealing pavers can have an impact on the releasing and natural wearing of efflorescence.

  1. Give your pavers time to acclimate and go through the natural process of efflorescence.
  2. Then worry about sealing.
  3. It’s always a good idea to consult with your paver or retaining wall manufacturer as well.
  4. Nowledge is power.
  5. Remember that efflorescence is a normal and natural occurrence so be sure to set the right expectations at the front end of the project.

Now it’s time to go and share what you know about efflo! Want to learn how efflorescence can impact a paver sealing job? Click here! How To Clean White Stains Off Brick

Can efflorescence be stopped?

Efflorescence Can be Prevented – The most effective way to prevent efflorescence is to keep water from seeping into the wall. If you notice efflorescence crystals, there is probably a leak somewhere allowing water from the outside get in. Once you locate the source of the water leak and get it plugged, you can then use an efflorescence remover to clean the walls.