How to Clean Brick Floors (Step-By-Step Guide)

By Harold K. Hardesty Updated January 8, 2021

Time to give your brick floors a new life 

How to Clean Brick Floors (Step-By-Step Guide)

Brick floors may seem more difficult to clean than it is. Contrary to popular belief, brick is easy to maintain, provided you’re using the right cleaning methods.

If brick floors are exposed to grit and dirt for too long, these abrasives can act like sandpaper and cause the floor to degrade over time. Besides getting dirty, the floor’s seal may also be damaged due to dirt exposure.

Table of Contents

While most other floor types have specific deep cleaning requirements, the maintenance for brick floors is much simpler. Even better, if the brick in your house is sealed, it will withstand water exposure quite gracefully.

However, irrespective of the type of flooring, every surface needs some level of care.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to clean brick floors. Since all these methods are straightforward, you don’t need to be a cleaning guru to follow them.

Can You Vacuum Bricks?

Yes, you can vacuum brick floors. In fact, you should vacuum them daily to remove the dirt and gravel from the surface.

Opt for a vacuum that’s suitable for hardwood floors. Use the brush attachment for cleaning pet hair and dust off the bricks. Don’t use beater bars or other hard accessories since they’ll break the seal on the brick floors.

Alternatively, you can use a broom to sweep bricks. While cleaning, don’t forget to attend to the mortar since this is where most of the dirt is gathered.

If the brick in your house is sealed, you won’t have to worry much about cleaning. However, unsealed bricks tend to create a lot of grit. Thus, they may damage hardwood floors, carpets, and other parts of the house.

If you sweep or vacuum daily, you can prevent this from happening.

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How to Clean Brick Floors With a Mop?

Besides sweeping, you can also mop bricks since it’s a great way to remove dust and debris.

1.Select a Cleaning Solution

If you want to use a commercial cleaner, make sure that it’s a mildly alkaline solution. Alternatively, you can opt for home remedies such as the ones discussed below.

Vinegar 

If you’ve ever read a cleaning guide, you’d know there’s rarely a cleaning recipe that doesn’t have vinegar. Since it’s acidic and has natural cleaning properties, vinegar makes a fantastic home remedy for brick floors.

Along with making the brick flooring shine, vinegar also disinfects it,(1) removing disease-causing bacteria(2) from your home.

Baking Soda

Whenever there’s a mention of vinegar, baking soda is most often the next ingredient on the list since they both work together well.

Since baking soda is alkaline, it helps break up acidic messes. Plus, it deodorizes the floors, getting rid of any nasty smells.

Borax

Borax is also alkaline like baking soda, but much more concentrated than it. That’s why you should only use a small amount of Borax on the bricks.

Add two tablespoons into a gallon of water, and you have a mixture that you can use for regular or spot cleaning.

2.Start Mopping

Once you’ve chosen your preferred cleaner, go ahead and start mopping the brick floors. For commercial cleaners, follow the recommended recipe on the product packaging.

Dip the mop into the cleaning solution. Then, wring out the extra moisture and dampen the mop. While mopping the brick flooring, make sure to apply a bit more force than you would on your hardwood floors. Doing so will help the brick cleaner get into the crevices in the surface.

My Tip

Do not use a flat cloth mop for the job since it will lose its shape after being used on a rough surface. Instead, a spin or string mop will be great for brick floors.

However, if you’re dealing with stubborn stains, a nylon brush with tough bristles will help you break them up.

3.Let It Dry

After mopping, remove the excess moisture using a dry towel. Get into the grout lines to ensure that no water remains there.

Leftover moisture can cause damage to the surface in the long run.

Make sure to let the floor dry sufficiently before allowing foot traffic on it again. Drying the brick floors is also a good way to prevent smudges.

How to Clean Brick Patio Floors?

Since patio floors are outside the house, they’re subject to more damage due to weather changes. Therefore, you’ll have to use more extensive deep cleaning remedies for these bricks. In some cases, you may have to use sulfate-based solutions for a thorough cleanup.

Alternatively, you can put your pressure washer to use. It can help remove tough stains and break up old dirt or grime.

When using a pressure washer, use the fan-spray nozzle. Keep the nozzle at a distance from the floor. You can also use a flat-spray nozzle as a substitute.

Depending on the brand you’re using, the washer will come with instructions on how to use it for brick surfaces without causing discoloration and etching. Follow the steps carefully.

However, if you don’t know how to use a pressure washer, hire a professional. If you scrub the floors roughly, it can cause scratches and leave marks that are impossible to remove.

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How to Steam Clean Brick Floors?

Steam cleaners have dual functionality as they also disinfect along with the cleaning. That’s why it’s good to have one at home.

You can use them on different surfaces, including bricks. Owing to the penetrating ability, steam cleaners can get into the tiny crevices in the flooring and clean them thoroughly.

Plus, they disinfect the surface without using any chemicals.

Therefore, steam cleaning is a viable option for bricks. Simply use the settings according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and you’ll be good to go.

Weekly Cleaning for Brick Floors

Sweeping or vacuuming brick floors daily is a necessity. But you should also deep clean them every week to ensure that stains and dirt don’t set into the surface.

What You Need

Here are the ingredients you need to make this cleanser for brick floors:

Step by Step

If some messes are too stubborn to be cleaned by mopping, use a nylon brush to break them up. Lastly, use a dry mop or towel to remove moisture from the grout joints.

Sufficient drying will help prevent streaking in the long run.

How to Deal With Dust on Brick Floor?

A common concern with the brick floor is the amount of dust that it brings along. Since this dust has fine particles, it’s difficult to remove with a quick sweep. The worst part about it is that it spreads to the rest of the house.

The main reason behind this is the usage of hydrochloric acid-based cleaning methods after installing the floor. Although hydrochloric acid (3)is hazardous, it’s effective at cleaning bricks.

A disadvantage of using muriatic acid is that it reacts with the limestone grout and produces lime that appears at fine dust on the floor. Truth be told, there’s not much you can do to prevent this.

However, you can combat this by flushing the floor with water to remove the muriatic acid altogether.

It’s important to go for an expert bricklayer who’ll use an advanced commercial cleaner to remove the acid residue after installing the bricks. Due to this, the dust production will be significantly reduced, making it easier for you to keep the floor clean.

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Should You Seal the Brick Floor?

Brick floor absorbs moisture due to its porous nature. Moreover, an unsealed brick floor also produces more grit that spreads from one part of the house to another.

Therefore, it helps to seal the brick floor. You can use two kinds of sealers for the process.

Most homeowners tend to opt for the second kind because it’s easier to maintain. Along with preventing water absorption, the film also does not allow dust to pass through.

However, sealing the bricks will change the floor’s appearance. For example, when you apply a film-forming sealant on the floors, it will make the surface darker.

Likewise, some wax sealants may change color with time, turning a dingy yellow.

Polish and Wax

Besides sealing, you can also wax the brick floor in your house. Typically, two types of waxes are used.

1. Water-based Waxes

These waxes have a heavy-duty effect. You can apply them to unsealed floors too. Besides protecting the floors from stains and liquid spills, they also add a shine to the surface. However, you can’t use a water-based wax if the previous polish on your brick floors was solvent-based.

If the older wax was water-based, it still has to be stripped to apply the new wax. Otherwise, the polish can buildup with time.

2. Solvent-based Waxes

A solvent-based wax forms a protective coat on the brick floor. If the surface previously had water-based wax, you can still use the solvent-based variant on it after stripping the previous coating.

Warning

If you’re not equipped for the job, hire professionals. Otherwise, you may end up ruining your brick floors while attempting to wax, seal, or polish them.

Let the Brick Cleaning Begin

Most people prefer having brick flooring because of its old-school vibe. Since grit and dust are common issues with brick flooring, you need to be consistent about cleaning. With daily sweeping and vacuuming, you can keep the surface dust-free.

However, when it’s time to deep clean the floors, you need to bring a damp mop out. Another way to reduce the dirt is to apply a sealant to the brick floors in your home.

How do you care for your household brick floors? Also, let me know which of these methods of cleaning brick floors do you like the most.

About the Author

Harold K. Hardesty

Harold is a Flooring Specialist at TheHouseWire, educating people on the flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years.

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