Brick walls, chimneys, and pavers surely look nice and improve your home’s aesthetics.
Yet, when efflorescence enters the chat, it can be an eye sore not to mentioned a pain to get rid of.
I understand how frustrating that white powder could be to remove even after adding water to the surface to take it down.
It rarely works!
However, I’ve create some good efflorescence removal tips that I’d like to share with you.
Besides giving you tried-and-true ways on how to remove efflorescence from brick, I’ll explain the science behind it and answer a few questions you might have.
Let’s get your brick looking nice and clean again!
What Causes Efflorescence on Brick?
To understand why some brick walls are prone to efflorescence, you must know how this phenomenon takes form first.
Here’s how it goes:
When the water evaporates, you’ll end up with an off-white dusting on the brick’s surface.
That’s also known as the salts that were inside the water.
Of course, not all brickwork suffers from efflorescence.
The following things are usually to blame for the appearance of efflorescence on brick:
- Exposure to high moisture levels
- Installing building materials incorrectly
- Not enough ventilation for masonry
- Small paths in the brick surface where the water can pass through
Now that you understand why efflorescence occurs, you must be wondering why it’s sometimes hard to remove.
Well, efflorescence is only a challenge to remove if the cause behind it is still in action.
If it keeps reappearing after successful removal, chances are:
- There’s a water source with soluble salts and minerals nearby
- There are cracks in the brick letting water gather and dry on the surface
So, after you learn how to remove efflorescence from brick pavers, walls, or chimneys, you must tackle the original problem.
It’s no different if you’ve got mold on bricks – there’s a moisture source that is feeding the problem! Find it, fix it and then clean things up.
6 Steps to Get Rid of Efflorescence on Brick
Thankfully, efflorescence isn’t impossible to remove after all.
After following these steps, the problem should disappear immediately when you’re done!
Step 1: Grab Some Cleaning Supplies
Depending on the condition of your brick surface, you’ll need all or some of the following items to remove the white, stubborn powder.
- A stiff scrubbing brush
- Dish detergent
- A garden hose or spray bottle
- White vinegar
Lastly, you may need to order a brick efflorescence remover, which can definitely make your job easier and help you get faster results for extra tough or thick stains. Grab yours here.
Step 2: Scrub the Powder off the Brick
Just like when removing soot from brick, you’ll use a stiff-bristled brush to remove the white dusting from your brick chimney, wall, or pavers.
Sometimes, if the efflorescence is mild and it’s in small patches, this step is all you’ll ever need to get rid of it.
At this point, your best bet is not to introduce water to your brick surface since it’s the main cause of efflorescence.
Step 3: Use Water, Detergent, and a Brush to Remove Efflorescence From Brick
If your brick walkway or exterior walls have a bigger efflorescence issue, just scrubbing them with a dry brush will probably not work.
In this case, here’s what you can do:
Spray your pavers or exterior walls with a garden hose, or wet your brick chimney using a spray bottle filled with distilled water.
Then, dip the brush in mild dish detergent.
Next, use the wet brush to scrub at the brick walls, chimney, or pavers and rinse the residue with fresh water.
Once the brick is dry, take a look at it and see if the white powder is effectively gone.
If not, you may need to repeat this step or switch to a stronger removal method.
Step 4: Remove Efflorescence from Brick With Vinegar
Even though vinegar can be abrasive on brick walls, it may be a good alternative to use if the surface isn’t older than 20 years of age.
Simply enough, add equal parts water and vinegar to a spray bottle, shake well, then wet the efflorescence-affected surface.
Let the solution sit for a few minutes, then repeat the process and scrub with your brush afterward.
Make sure to always move the stiff brush in circular motions.
After that, rinse your brick wall or chimney with fresh water.
Step 5: Apply Brick Efflorescence Remover
For extra tough efflorescence stains, you’ll want to use a masonry efflorescence remover.
It’s far safer to use than muriatic acid and should work like a charm.
All you’ll need to do is dilute the efflorescence remover based on the condition of your brick wall.
On the product container, you’ll find directions for light, moderate, and heavy cleaning.
After following the right dilution instructions, apply the solution to the efflorescence on your brick pavers or chimney with the brush.
Once you’re done scrubbing the surface, let the solution sit for five minutes before spraying the area with fresh water.
Step 6: Prevent Future Efflorescence Problems
Now that you’ve successfully removed the unwelcome stains, it’s time to take some extra precautions to keep efflorescence away.
Make sure you do the following:
- Keep water away from your brick wall, chimney, pavers, or retaining wall
- Ensure the brick structure is always well-ventilated
- Hire a professional to determine the exact source of the issue if the efflorescence is serious
How do i remove extra stubborn efflorescence?
If the previous steps only improved the appearance of your brickwork slightly, you may want to use a sandblaster to get rid of the white powder.
This is how the process basically goes:
Remember that this method isn’t always recommended since it can wear away the brick surface.
Only consider this as an option if all else fails, or if your brickwork isn’t too old and fragile.
The following points explain the right way to use a sandblaster to remove efflorescence:
- Protect your body from projectiles that might fly your way
- Put on a face shield, a hood, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, rubber gloves, and boots
- Drape plastic sheets on any nearby surfaces that you want to keep safe
- Add fine sandblasting media into the blasting bucket
- Set the pressure to the lowest setting
- Direct the blasting gun at the brick wall from a distance of 5 inches
- Move back and forth across the bricks in horizontal movements until you’ve covered the entire area
- Apply sealer to your brick wall to keep efflorescence from visiting it again
You can buy your brick sealer here.
Is efflorescence on brick a serious issue?
Generally, having efflorescence on your brick walls, chimney, or pavers isn’t dangerous.
However, you should still keep in mind that it can cause moisture problems.
As a result, the building materials might be prone to damage in the long run.
Having efflorescence on your brick walls, retaining walls, or pavers shouldn’t keep you up at night. But it’s definitely not easy to ignore.
After reading my guide on how to remove efflorescence from brick, you’ll have your bricks looking like new.
Just whip out your brush and cleaning supplies to remove this nuisance. If these gentle ways don’t work, consider using a more robust cleaner or even the sandblasting method if necessary.
When you’re done, make sure to find out the main cause behind the efflorescence to keep it from resurfacing.