Things You'll Need
The bumpy texture of bricks makes them a challenge to clean. Abrasive methods of cleaning potentially cause damage to the brick or mortar, especially if the bricks are old. Harsh chemicals sometimes discolor the bricks, leaving your wall looking worse than when you started. Mild cleaning agents combined with a coarse-bristled scrub brush often work to clean the brick. Always start in a small hidden area of the wall when testing a new cleaning method to ensure it doesn't damage or discolor the bricks.
Dust the walls gently with a feather duster or vacuum to remove visible dust and cobwebs. Rags with lint or paper products tend to leave behind more debris on the brick so avoid them when dusting.
Mix together equal parts of a dishwashing detergent that cuts grease and plain table salt. Stir the ingredients to create a paste consistency.
Rub the cleaning paste onto the brick surface using your hands or a rag. Work in small sections of the wall.
Scrub the brick covered in the cleaning paste using a scrub brush that has stiff bristles. Wipe the bricks clean after scrubbing with a rag and warm water. Move onto another section of the brick wall and repeat the process of applying the cleaning paste, scrubbing with a brush and washing off the cleaner.
For a dirtier brick wall, use a mixture of 1 tbsp. of boric acid and 1 gallon of warm water. Wet your scrub brush with the boric acid solution and scrub the brick clean. Rinse the brick afterward with clean, warm water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Painting the brick wall or covering it with mortar in a process called parging helps seal the brick to make it easier to clean. Epoxy sealing products are also available for bricks so they are easier to clean. These sealing products tend to make the brick look shinier and darker.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.