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Brick floors give the best rustic look to a space. Their simplicity and homespun look are the reason we’re seeing more of them around us. Not only that, brick floors are durable, smooth and low maintenance. If your brick floor is sealed, it’s going to be easier to clean and it’ll keep stains at bay too. If not, don’t worry, I’m here to explain to you the cleaning process brick by brick (pun intended).
But First, what is sealing?
Bricks are porous in nature and so is their grout used in flooring. We apply sealer to prevent stains on the floor. If your bricks (pavers) are already sealed, the grout between them will still require sealing. Commercial sealers are available at hardware stores- LastiSeal Penetrating Brick Sealer.
Clean the floor thoroughly and let it dry before sealing. Your installers will have probably used muriatic acid if it’s a new floor, so be extra careful and wash off any acid traces. Follow the instructions on the sealer container to the T. You must reseal your floor yearly.
Hey, this isn’t too much of an effort. Sweeping the floor daily or vacuuming it is enough. Daily cleaning gets rid of dust and particles which might harm the sealer coat on your floor. Post sweeping, you can damp mop the surface with a cup of vinegar mixed in water. Take 5 minutes out of your day and do a surface cleanup, please.
You must channel your inner Monica Geller Bing once a week to properly clean the brick floor. We start by sweeping the floor thoroughly to eliminate all the dust and then making our own cleaner (yay).
Mix one cup vinegar with a gallon of water.
Mix 2½ tablespoons of baking soda with a gallon of water.
Mix 1½ tablespoon of borax in a gallon of water.
Use a stone cleaner like Sheiner’s Stone and Tile cleaner.
Soak your mop in your choice of cleaning solution and wring it. Attack your floor and get rid of any grease or gross stuff. Post solution clean-up, wash your floor with warm water. Then take a dry cloth and absorb any residual liquid. We don’t want streaks or stains.
Now you always have commercial products like OxiClean and Stain Solver, but then what’s the point of this article?
If you’re dealing with water stains, make a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Apply it on the stain and let it sit for 5-7 minutes. Then scrub the area with an old toothbrush until the stain disappears. Then rinse thoroughly with water. After 15 minutes, rinse again and then dry off (the floor) with a towel.
If your luck is down in the dumps and you’re tackling oil stains, we start by feeling sorry for you. If the spill is recent, soak up the oil with paper towels for damage control. If you’ve realized the problem later, go get some kitty litter or sawdust. Put the litter on the stain and let it be overnight. Once the litter has done its job, scrub the stain with detergent. Rinse and dry. After 20 minutes rinse and dry again.
Dealing With Dust
There’s no reason to stress if you see fine white dust on your floor despite your repeated attempts at cleaning. Remember muriatic acid? The one installers use. Yes, that causes the grout to shed and leaves white powder on your pretty floor. I know that white footprints are the last thing you need but I’m about to flush that problem away. Literally.
This flushing has nothing to do with toilets though. Flush your floor with water till your muriatic acid goes away and your grout stops leaking. Take a break, let your floor dry, then begin again. This is a slightly long and tedious process because you must KEEP flushing. Give it a week before you start expecting results.
Okay, How Do I Make My Brick Floor Shine?
Polishing and waxing basically falls into two categories: solvent-based and water-based. You can apply a solvent-based wax on a water-based wax but not the other way around. In either case, any previous wax must be removed.
Make a solution of 7 cups of water and ¼ cup of ammonia. Mop your floor with it to strip off any previous wax. Rinse off its traces with water. Once the floor is dry, apply the wax. If your water-based wax is self-sealing, you won’t require a sealant separately. A solvent-based wax will need a sealer.
AquaMix has a good line of products suited to brick floors.
Before We Wrap Up…
Here are a few tips that will help maintain your brick flooring:
1. Reseal your floor each year.
2. Don’t use strong chemicals or acids on your brick floor.
3. Before trying a new product, test it on a small patch.
4. Rinse the floor with water thoroughly after each cleaning.
5. Make sure that the commercial products you use are brick safe.
6. Okay, you’re good to go. Go and clean that floor! Break a leg (or should I say brick a leg?)