How to use brick acid

Written by dave lawrence
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How to use brick acid
Muriatic acid is used to clean brick walls. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Buildings constructed with brick sometimes require cleaning. Cleaning may involve removing excess mortar from the bricks of a new construction project or removing efflorescence on an existing structure. Efflorescence is a stain on the bricks caused by soluble salts and other materials released from the mortar. Masons use muriatic acid to clean bricks. Muriatic acid is strong and is mixed with water. You can acid wash bricks yourself and save money.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hose
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Muriatic acid
  • Extension pole
  • Thick-bristled brush

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  1. 1

    Put on the safety glasses and the rubber gloves. You must not mix the acid solution until you are properly protected.

  2. 2

    Spray your brick wall with water using a garden hose. Spray the wall with water at least two times. The surface of the wall must be thoroughly dampened.

  3. 3

    Pour one gallon of clean water into a bucket. Add 378ml of muriatic acid. This is a ten-to-one water-acid ratio.

  4. 4

    Screw an extension pole onto a thick-bristled brush. Scrub the bricks with the acid-water solution using a combination of vertical and horizontal strokes. Continue applying the solution until the surface is clean.

  5. 5

    Spray the brick wall with the garden hose. Use plenty of water to rinse the wall.

Tips and warnings

  • Generally, darker bricks require a lower acid-to-water ratio than lighter bricks.
  • Start with a ten-to-one solution and gradually increase the acid ratio if necessary.
  • Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses at all times. Muriatic acid can cause burns.
  • Muriatic acid emits dangerous fumes. Use caution when mixing the cleaning solution.
  • Using too much muriatic acid can "burn" the bricks, causing permanent discolouration.

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