Brick is a durable material that doesn’t need cleaning nearly as often as other building materials. Still, there comes a time when every brick building or structure needs a good scrub. Rust is one of the larger concerns regarding brick stains. If you notice rust stains on your bricks you need to have it removed right away. Otherwise, the rust will spread and deteriorate bricks, creating irreversible damage.
It’s easier than you may think to remove rust stains from brick. Common household products and rust removers can be used to scrub surfaces clean. It is always recommended to start with the least invasive products before resorting to harsher chemicals. Using just six simple steps you can remove even the most stubborn rust stains from brick.
Tools You Need:
- Rubber gloves
- Protective eye wear
- Long sleeves and long pants
- Drop cloths
- Sand paper or steel wool
- Cleaning brush and scrub brush
- A couple of rags
- Garden hose
- Toilet bowl cleaner, or similar cleaner containing hydrochloric acid
- Oxalic acid
- Lemon juice
- Table salt
6 Simple Steps To Clean Rust From Bricks
- Before beginning you want to make sure the area, and you, are prepped and ready to go. You should wear rubber gloves, protective eye gear, and long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from cleaning chemicals. Protect nearby plants by placing a drop cloth over them.
- Use fine sandpaper or steel wool to rub at the affected area. This will help start to loosen the rust. Sweep away any debris using a cleaning brush.
- Create a thick paste using table salt and lemon juice. Apply this paste over the affected bricks and let stand for a good two or three hours. Then, carefully remove the paste using a dry, soft cloth.
- Use a cleaner that contains hydrochloric acid, such as toilet bowl cleaner. It is the acid that helps to remove rust stains. Pour the cleaner directly over any rust stained areas, letting it sit for about five minutes before wiping clean with a moist towel.
- If rust stains are extremely persistent, you can also use oxalic acid for the job. Oxalic acid contains a crystalline toxic organic compound that works with the iron oxide found in brick. Pour over stubborn rust stains and let soak in for the maximum time recommended on the user label. Carefully follow the instructions listed on packaging to avoid damage.
Use a stiff scrub brush to scrub at the remaining rust. Rinse the bricks with water and make sure to completely remove all chemicals.
- If rust stains remain visible, there are a number of commercial rust removal products you can apply to problem areas. Follow the user guidelines regarding how long to let the product sit before scrubbing surfaces with a stiff scrub bush and thoroughly washing clean with a hose. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times before the stain completely diminishes.
Every so often use a garden hose to rinse off your bricks in order to remove small stains that build up. Cleaning often, or as soon as you notice any sign of rust or dirt, will prevent the need to use more invasive cleaning methods. Also, it’s important to find the source of the rust and remove it in order to prevent the same problem from arising again.
How To Know If You’re Dealing With Rust
If you think it’s rust affecting your bricks, you are probably right. Still, there is always the slight chance it is red colored dirt or mold. To make sure it is rust, you can apply a tiny spot of bleach to an area with rust stains. If the problem is actually mold the spot will turn white; it will not turn white if the problem is rust. Bleach does not help remove rust, and may even make the problem worse so only try on a very small area.
Can You Use a Power Washer To Clean Rust Stains Off Of Bricks?
Using a power washer to clean any brick structure should always be a last resort, and should almost always be avoided. The force of water from a power washer can make brick issues much worse. For instance, if your bricks are crumbling they will crumble far worse after being sprayed with the force of a power washer.
Warnings To Consider Before Cleaning Bricks
- Before using any cleaning product on your bricks, always test on a small area first.
- Carefully catch any chemical runoff so that it doesn’t interfere with nearby plant health. Acid from rust removal products can kill plants.
- Wear proper protection and make sure you do not inhale chemical fumes. Protect your skin as well, as acid can burn the skin and eyes.
- Careful not to mix any of the cleaning solutions, otherwise you might end up creating toxic fumes.
Here’s more helpful tips on you can clean bricks.