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Reclaimed, Restored, Renewed: A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Reclaimed Bricks

Reclaimed, Restored, Renewed: A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Reclaimed Bricks - Reclaimed Brick Company

David Johnson |

Reclaimed bricks stand out as an unrivalled choice when it comes to adding a distinctive touch to your construction projects. They have a specific look that new bricks cannot match because of their rustic attractiveness and ancient charm. However, these salvaged bricks require careful cleaning and restoration to reveal their true beauty.

What are Reclaimed Bricks?

Reclaimed bricks are basically old bricks that have been recovered from demolition sites, old buildings, or walls. These bricks, with their unique patina and weathered appearance, bring an antique and characterful look to any building project.

Why Choose Reclaimed Bricks?

Reclaimed bricks are not only beautiful and durable, but they're also an environmentally friendly choice. By reusing old bricks, we can effectively reduce the demand for new brick production, thereby saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Sorting Your Reclaimed Bricks by Size

Sorting your bricks by size should be your first step before beginning your cleaning quest. This straightforward action streamlines the procedure, especially when working with a sizeable stock of recycled bricks.

Removing Old Mortar Remains

Old mortar stuck to the bricks can be quite stubborn. You can use a cold chisel and hammer to chip away the larger pieces of mortar. After that, switch to a wire brush for a more refined clean up. This method ensures that all sides of the brick are rid of mortar remains.

Cleaning Reclaimed Bricks with Muriatic Acid

For those hard-to-remove stains, turn to muriatic acid. Prepare a solution using the muriatic acid and water in the ratio 1:10 (acid to water). Always remember to pour the acid into the water and not vice versa to prevent harmful chemical reactions.
Ensure you wear rubber gloves and eye protection while handling this powerful solution. Submerge the bricks in this mixture and let them soak. Then, remove the bricks, and use a wire brush to scrub off any remaining mortar. Rinse and repeat until you are satisfied with the results.

Safety Measures During the Cleaning Process

Cleaning reclaimed bricks is not a task you want to jump into without taking proper safety measures. When working with muriatic acid, always ensure you have your rubber gloves on and your eye protection in place.

More Tips on How to Clean Reclaimed Bricks

After the acid wash, rinse your bricks thoroughly. This step removes any remaining acid and helps neutralise its effects. To achieve this, a hose with a spray attachment works best. Make sure you inspect each brick closely. If some mortar still clings to it, give it another round of the acid wash.

Using a Wire Brush to Enhance the Cleaning Process

Using a wire brush is a great way to get rid of smaller debris and stubborn stains. Scrub the bricks vigorously, paying extra attention to the nooks and crannies. Remember, the cleaner the brick, the better it will look when laid in place.
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Why is Cleaning Reclaimed Bricks Important?

Cleaning reclaimed bricks is a crucial step towards restoring their beauty and functionality. Moreover, it ensures that any residual mortar or grime does not affect the laying process.

Preventing Damage to Reclaimed Bricks During Cleaning

The cleaning process can be somewhat harsh on your reclaimed bricks. To prevent damage, always start with a gentler cleaning method and escalate only if necessary. Furthermore, don't let the bricks sit in the acid solution for too long.

Best Practices to Store Cleaned Reclaimed Bricks

Once your bricks are clean, let them dry before storing them. Stack them on wooden pallets or blocks, ensuring they don't come in direct contact with the ground. This helps prevent the re-accumulation of dirt and keeps the bricks in top condition.

The Importance of Inspecting Reclaimed Bricks

After cleaning, always inspect your bricks. Check for any stains or mortar residue. Additionally, now is a good time to check the bricks for damage or cracks. If a brick appears to be beyond repair, throw it away.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Reclaimed Bricks

The process of cleaning reclaimed bricks might be a bit tedious, but the end result is worth it. With some effort, you'll be able to restore their former glory and add an unbeatable charm to your building project.
Cleaning reclaimed bricks is a crucial part of their reuse. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a professional builder, knowing how to clean these bricks is a valuable skill. With the steps outlined above, you should be well-equipped to tackle this task.


1. Can I clean reclaimed bricks without muriatic acid? Yes, you can use a wire brush and hammer to remove old mortar. However, muriatic acid helps remove stubborn stains more effectively.
2. Is it safe to clean reclaimed bricks at home? Yes, it's safe as long as you take necessary precautions, especially when using muriatic acid. Always wear protective gloves and eye gear.
3. Can I reuse all reclaimed bricks? Not all reclaimed bricks are suitable for reuse. Some might be too damaged or eroded. It's important to inspect each brick before reusing.
4. How long does it take to clean reclaimed bricks? The time can vary depending on the number of bricks and their condition. On average, you can clean about 100-200 bricks in a day.
5. How should I dispose of the cleaning solution? Muriatic acid solution should be neutralised with baking soda before disposing of. Check local guidelines for safe disposal of such chemicals.

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