How to Clean Mold Off Brick
It’s never fun when mold appears anywhere and seeing it on your brick can be frustrating because mold produces digestive enzymes that eat away at the surface it’s attached to, no matter the material.
It causes structural damage that can weaken your strong brick home plus touching or ingesting mold spores can cause health problems like asthma, nausea, rashes, or other symptoms. For all these reasons, you want to remove mold from your brick as soon as it appears. The good news: it’s a fairly easy process. Just follow our step-by-step instructions and your brick home will be mold-free in no time.
Step #1: Find the moisture source
Sitting water is a breeding ground for mold which is why it’s important that your first step be to find the water source before you clean the existing mold off, otherwise, it’ll just keep coming back. Here are some of the most common places that you should check for water and moisture retention.
- Basement: Examine your basement for leaks that might be getting to the brick and make the necessary repairs to seal those up.
- Walls/windows: If there are leaks in the windows or walls, you can use weatherstrip and caulk to seal them. A common sign of leaky windows is window condensation. If you notice that, you may consider installing insulated glass or storm windows to prevent any further problems.
- Gutters: Make sure to keep your gutters and downspouts clean and channel the water away from the house to avoid foundation leaks.
- Roof: Check your attic for possible roof leaks and repair them.
- Bathrooms near the outside wall: If you have a bathroom that’s located near the wall where the mold is appearing on the brick, install bathroom fans that vent to the outside and run them for a few minutes after showers.
- Plumbing: Inspect your plumbing pipes for leaks and insulate them.
- HVAC and ductwork: If your ductwork has excessive moisture and condensation that is then getting the insulation wet, you’ll need to repair or replace the insulation. You also should make sure the drains aren’t clogged and ensure that everything is draining as it should. Make sure to also change your air filter regularly, every 1-3 months.
- Chimney: If you have a brick chimney, check it for cracks or debris that could be providing shade, preventing the water from evaporating and encouraging mold growth.
- Under your house: If you don’t have a basement, inspect the crawl space under your house for excess moisture. Put black plastic on the ground to lessen humidity.
- Gas appliances: Ensure that your gas and kerosene heaters and fireplaces are properly vented to the outside to reduce the amount of moisture that’s in the air.
Step #2: Take Measures to Clean Safely
Mold is dangerous to inhale or touch, so when you are preparing to clean it, take the necessary precautions to keep you and your health safe. Put on safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a mask to prevent it from coming into contact with your skin or lungs.
Step #3: Use Vinegar
Instead of using the classic mold-killing treatment of chlorine, bleach, and water – which only kills the mold and doesn’t also remove dead mold spores – you’ll want to use undiluted vinegar.
You’ll want to pour some into a spray bottle and spray the infected area. Let the vinegar sit for about 5 minutes then scrub it off using a stiff-bristled brush. Then rinse the vinegar with hot water and spray the area again. This time, you don’t need to rinse away the vinegar; leave it to let it penetrate the brick and kill the mold that’s on the interior.
There are products available at your local home and hardware store that are also effective in removing mold. No matter what you decided to use, make sure you are cleaning the brick when there is low humidity and no chance of rain for at least a day after applying the cleaning product, giving it the chance to settle completely.
If you continue to have trouble either getting rid of the mold completely or with finding the water source, you should consult a professional to help you remove the problem.