clean bricks

02/12/2012 - 09:26

when the builders repaired our roof they left lots of old lime plaster from the roof on the floor bricks which we are keeping.We've almost plastered the room now and we'd like to clean the floor so has anyone got any ideas?No chemicalsNo sand


yup - been there..  after our replica old tiles had been laid the painters came in and stained them with water splashes from their brushes... lots of them as in 'this is how we keep the dust down' There was nothing for it but to use an abrasive sander thingy to skim the tops of the tiles a bit.  The result is that the floors now have an even older worn look... not at all horrible.

I know you said no chemicals but it depends how bad you want to keep them. Builders use acid to clean floors in Italy and its pretty nasty stuff but very effective. You can get it at builders merchants but need a mask and gloves, windows open when you use it.

In my opinion you are never going to get those bricks looking good without using some acid in the equation somewhere. If you really wanted to, you could use lemon juice or vinegar, but why not buy effectively the same stuff from the builders' merchant, where it will be termed acido muriatico. (You can buy this in the supermarket, but it is much stronger from the builders' merchant). To use the least possible acid (and to create the least fumes) get as much of the lime stuff off the bricks by stiff brushing, even use water if the droppings are soluble until you are left with onlly a 'film' over the bricks. Then a quick acid wash and a rinse, and you'll be there. The Geal products are good - (though I wouldn't personally pay their prices for their acid based cleaning agent if I needed more than one bottle full) - their finishing products are breathable and effective, and many of them are 'invisible' once applied leaving the bricks looking entirely natural. 

thanks for that great advice all -I did buy some acid that was supposed to remove cement/lime plaster marks from brick but it only works on very light stains not well trodden in plaster and dirt! I'll try the builders merchants too.I was wondering if sand could be worked over the surface somehow that might work too. Or maybe some type of over night 'poultice' that lifted the plaster?

In Italian, it is translated as "acido muriatico" or "acido cloridrico". In English, it is also called muriatic acid. Here is what it is: It is actually a powerful chemical, although our bodies produce it... I'm afraid that the only non-chemical helper may be "elbow grease"...or "olio di gomito" in Italian. Not sure whether it works with lime, though...

Why the preference for 'no Chemicals and no Sand Blasting' in this day and age you should take all the help technology has to offer. Unless it's some crazy Eco thing, and surely in Italy that's a non starter for a country that can't even get recycling right...

Yesterday, I went to the very large Leroy Merlin shop in Bayonne (France) and they have the largest amount of products for all kinds of jobs around the house. I was buying a few things there to take ot Italy, but, at the same time I looked very carefully at the shelves that had everything to clean bricks and tiles trying to check whether they had something more ecological.... No way, although the shop has lots of ecological friendly products, to clean bricks and pavements more help is needed, so it is all chemical. Basically, they are a combination of solvents and acids. My advice would be to go to the nearest Leroy Merlin or BricoIo, or similar shop in your area and check there. Good luck!

...... Or take a sensible precaution like, next time get your builders to lay dust sheets down before undertaking any work, or lay plastic sheeting down before painting/plastering/varnishing...!