Brick floors have a reputation for being easy to maintain, but if they are not cleaned properly, their aspect can deteriorate and appear dirty and unkempt. To learn how to clean brick floors, you will need to know several things that are essential for maintenance to avoid having to replace them altogether.
The first thing that must be said is that brick floors require daily maintenance. If they are sealed, water exposure won’t damage them, but in time, weather elements can degrade outside brick floors to the point that the brick becomes exposed. For indoor brick floors, maintenance is easier, as you will see right away.
Daily vacuuming is a must
Unsealed brick floors can create a lot of grit, as the mortar that keeps the elements together is responsible for that. Due to the fact that the mortar can chip and turn into dust, unkempt brick floors are likely to cause problems for the entire house. From these floors, the dust will be carried to other surfaces, especially carpets.
However, there is a simple method to prevent any troubles of the kind. Consider vacuuming your brick floors daily to reduce the amount of grit. The mortar used can also become home to dirt along the edges, so you should get a vacuum cleaner for hard floors that comes equipped with attachments for eliminating dirt.
Still, you need to make sure that the attachments have soft bristles, or otherwise, the tough edges will cause damage to the mortar and make it chip more than usual. Such attachments can damage even the seal used for sealed brick floors. In case you don’t want to use a vacuum, a broom is a perfect tool. Remember to do it daily to ensure that the grit won’t be carried all over the house, making cleaning a burden.
The most suitable cleaning ingredients for mopping brick floors
Even if daily vacuuming or sweeping can ensure that the amount of grit is kept to a minimum, this doesn’t mean that it’s enough. To make the floors inside your home look great and maintain overall cleanliness, they will also require mopping. For that, you need proper cleaning ingredients, but make sure you don’t deviate from the list below, as such floors can quickly get stained and damaged if you use the wrong chemicals.
A safe ingredient to use on sealed floors is borax. One thing to bear in mind is that borax has superior alkaline properties, so only a little is enough for cleaning the floors. Mix two tablespoons of borax with one gallon of water and make sure that the active ingredient is fully dissolved before using it on your floors.
If you don’t want to risk staining your floors by accident, by using too much borax, opt for baking soda. It is similar in properties with borax but significantly milder. The proportions are the same: two tablespoons of baking soda for one gallon of water. Allow the baking soda to dissolve completely. When you have to deal with stains and odor, this natural deodorizer is an excellent choice.
Another natural ingredient you can use for mopping your brick floors is vinegar. Half a cup is enough for mixing with one gallon of water and obtaining the necessary solution for cleaning floors. Unlike borax and baking soda, vinegar is acidic.
Therefore, you shouldn’t use too much, always mix it well so that the water used for mopping doesn’t cause any damage. For a beautiful shine, use this mixture when mopping brick floors. Another great thing about vinegar is that it’s a natural disinfectant, so it will keep your home free of germs, too.
A weekly cleaning routine
To make sure that your brick floors are always in top condition, it is necessary to schedule a weekly routine for cleaning them. Daily sweeping or vacuuming shouldn’t be neglected either, but once a week is when you get serious about it.
For starters, vacuum or sweep the floors thoroughly as indicated earlier, and follow with a dry-mopping. This ensures that no particles of grit and dust are left out. Next, you should concoct your solution for mopping, choosing from the ones presented earlier.
Mopping brick floors require compliance with specific guidelines. First of all, make sure that the mop you use is only slightly damp when you place it on the brick floors; wring it well after soaking it in the solution of your choice. Sponge mops are not that great because they retain too much water, so microfiber mops are a better choice.
The idea is to scrub the floors with the wrung mop, using a back and forth movement. This way, you will be able to remove dirt and stains from the surfaces you clean. In case you notice some stubborn dirty areas, a nylon brush may do the job.
Check the water in your bucket from time to time. Don’t let it become too muddy or murky, as that will cause the mop to spread the dirt everywhere. Change the water as often as needed, and mix in it the ingredient of your choice, making sure that it dissolves well before usage.
Water is the biggest enemy of brick floors, which is why it is essential to dry the floors after moping them. Dry-mopping is a solution, but there are others you might want to take into consideration, such as a soft towel or a dry washcloth. The most important aspect is that you clean and wipe dry the floors so that they stay clean for as long as possible.
Is steam cleaning a good solution for cleaning brick floors?
Since such cleaning devices use water, you may feel tempted to declare yourself against them, but the truth is that they can be an excellent choice if used correctly. The great thing about a steam cleaner is that it doesn’t use chemicals to eliminate dirt, germs, and bad smells. You can use it sparingly when cleaning brick floors, but when you have to deal with spills and stains, there is nothing easier than putting a steam cleaner to work.
As you may well know, this type of machine performs a deep cleaning of any surface. It is why bathroom tiles and not only are best cleaned when you use hot steam. Besides fighting germs efficiently, the steam particles are capable of entering the smallest pores of your brick floors, driving out all the dirt and grime you would not be able to deal with otherwise.
In case you need to reseal your brick floors, going over them with a steam cleaner before that will help you disinfect them properly. If needed, go over the surface with a dry mop once you’re done with the steam cleaner. You will not only get clean floors, but they will be free of pathogen agents so that your living environment remains safe for you and your family.
Does light-colored dust cover your brick floors?
One thing that appears to give homeowners a ton of headaches is the presence of fine dust of a light color that covers all the bricks. This dust doesn’t come from the mortar between the bricks; it is the muriatic acid used by the bricklayers who made the bricks to wash them before shipping them away.
This dust can become annoying because it doesn’t seem to stop. The problem with muriatic acid is that it continuously eats away the bricks, causing the dust to appear. To eliminate it completely, you will have to flush the brick floors with water to make sure the muriatic acid goes away.
Fortunately, fewer and fewer bricklayers use muriatic acid nowadays. With the employment of more expensive solutions, the problem of the pale dust, so common, is no longer as widespread, and that’s a plus for homeowners who don’t want to deal with it.
Protect the grout to keep the brick floors safe from damage
For perfectly cleaned and maintained brick floors, you should consider giving the grout lines between the bricks the same care and consideration. The problem with grout is that it tends to absorb moisture fast, and it’s not safe from spills and stains. Once it absorbs enough water, it starts degrading, and that, in turn, will also damage the bricks.
It is highly recommended that you reseal the grout lines once a year to prevent that. Also, if you notice stains and other problems, you should consider using a cleaning agent specialized for grout. A steam cleaner will do the job, too, and so will a baking soda and water solution. Unlike the bricks, the grout needs a more potent solution, so use a paste obtained from the ingredient mixed in water to ensure that all the stains are eliminated.
If the damage to the grout is too extensive, there may not be other alternatives except removing it entirely and replacing it with fresh grout.
Sealing brick floors
The surest way to protect your brick floors is by using a sealant. While your floors might already be sealed, that doesn’t mean that the sealant doesn’t wear off. Resealing your brick floors is a must and has to be done regularly to protect them adequately.