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Can You Use Vinegar on Brick? (Read This First!)

Brick is not easy to clean, dirt tends to penetrate the crevices that are present in the surface of bricks. 

This hardens over time and almost becomes one with the brick and this can make the brick look dirty. In order to combat this problem, many people use vinegar to clean bricks.

Using vinegar on brick

Vinegar can be used on brick to help with cleaning it. It is known to quite effectively clean brick. But the best quality about vinegar is, it absolutely destroys effloresces that commonly build up and stays on the surface of mortar which is used to keep the bricks binded to each other.

The process of cleaning brick with vinegar is quite simple and straightforward but it is best to know how and how much to use it.

Despite being strong and sturdy, brick still can get damaged. Therefore, it is best to get yourself acquainted with the right process of cleaning brick with the help of vinegar before you start.

We must also realize that vinegar does not come in only one form. There are a few different variations of vinegar available today in the market.

And due to the differences in ingredients and the manufacturing process, they can differ from one another on how they will perform on brick.

And for this exact reason, we have added a list below of a few different vinegars, explained if they can be used on brick and what will likely be the outcome.

White Vinegar:

White vinegar can be used on brick but it might be a little harsh in its purest form. However, if white vinegar is the only type you have on hand then you should use it by diluting it with water.

This way it will not be damaging to the brick. It also depends on what you are trying to remove from the brick because let’s say for example, moss has accumulated on the surface.

This can easily be removed by using only a little amount of white vinegar in water.

However, in order to remove old grout that has collected on the brick, you will most likely have to increase the white vinegar content in the vinegar and water mixture for it to work on effectively removing the grout.

Apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar can be used instead of distilled white vinegar to clean bricks. It is obviously different from distilled white vinegar but it does the job of cleaning brinks.

It is able to remove accumulated dirt, mineral deposits and bacteria from the surface of the brick but again it is necessary to be mindful of how much apple cider vinegar you are using because too much of that stuff will start to erode brick while taking care of dirt and bacteria.

However, there is another benefit to using apple cider vinegar. When bricks are cleaned using apple cider vinegar ants and other small insects tend to stay away as they do not like the pungent smell that apple cider vinegar emits.

Distilled vinegar:

Distilled vinegar is a more purified version of regular vinegar and it happens to work the best on brick. A lot of cleaners recommend that distilled vinegar works wonderfully when it comes to cleaning hard surfaces such as brick.

But similar to the other vinegar option, distilled vinegar should not directly be used on brick. It must be diluted with water before using it on brick. This way the brick will be cleaned but it will not get damaged in the process.

All of these vinegars can be used in the cleaning process of bricks more or less but try to avoid using vinegars that contain added fine because this is a byproduct and once the vinegar dries after cleaning, it leaves behind a milky white film on the brick due to the presence of byproducts.

This can alter the look of the brick wall in an unpleasant way.

Can vinegar damage red brick?

Vinegar does not damage red brick but it has been stressed time and time again that vinegar must always be heavily diluted by mixing it with water before it can be used to clean brick with.

Because the strength of pure vinegar can and will damage and discolor the surface of red bricks. And as we know the red color of red bricks is sort of the point of having them. Therefore, the color fading will not be a good look.

It all comes down to how vinegar is being used. The correct usage can give you the cleanest brick walls as vinegar is known to fight dirt, stain, grout, moss from the brick surface but using the vinegars with add fine and undiluted can be bad for brick, especially the surface of the brick.

How effective is vinegar on brick?

Vinegar is effective on brick. Actually it is so effective and strong that it might end up discoloring or worse damaging the surface of the brick wall if the wrong amount is used or if it is left on the brick for longer than a few hours.

A mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water can easily get rid of moss and mold from brick. And when the vinegar content is raised and left for 10 minutes or so, vinegar is able to get rid of even tough and stubborn stains from the bricks that simple soap and water cannot get rid of no matter how hard you scrub.

As we have mentioned above it is also able to get rid of effervescence which doesn’t exactly accumulate on the brick surface but can make the overall brick wall look unappealing as it begins to appear on the mortar that holds the bricks together and forms the wall.

Ergo, vinegar -whether it is apple cider, distilled or white- are very effective on brick and will help in getting rid of dirt and stain that ruin the rustic, bare brick wall look, doesn’t matter if the brick wall is situated indoors or outdoors.

How to clean bricks with vinegar?

Cleaning bricks with vinegar is a very costly-friendly and easy process. If your brick walls have begun to look old and/or dirty, you can follow the steps we have listed below on how to use vinegar to clean bricks with.

Mix solution:

Start off by taking a spray bottle and pouring either equal parts vinegar and water or 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water and shake it. This will help them mix together properly.

Spray the surface:

Now, you can spray this mixture on the brick where the dirt and stain mainly are or you can also cover the entire wall with the vinegar and water mixture.

Wait to sit:

Do not start cleaning the brick instantly. Let the vinegar and water mixture sit and soak for a couple of minutes. This will make the next step easier as it will begin to loosen the dirt and grout that have collected on the brick.

Clean the surface:

After letting it sit, you can now start cleaning the walls with a sponge mop. This should get off the dirt but if it does not work.

Then you can switch the sponge mop for a nylon-bristled scrub brush and give it a hard scrub. This will surely get rid of any remaining dirt, grout or moss.

What is the best thing to clean brick with?

Vinegar is a great cleaning agent for brick but it is not the only thing you have to use to clean brick. There are a few alternatives you can choose from when it comes to cleaning brick. Some of them are known to work better than vinegar at cleaning bricks.

Natural fiber acid brush:

This brush is so effective at cleaning the tough brick surfaces that you will not even need any extra cleaning agents to get the job done.


Bleach is also another option you can use to clean brick.

Trisodium phosphate:

Many people have been also using trisodium phosphate to clean brick.

Powering washing:

This has gained a lot of popularity in recent years and for good reason.

It works astoundingly well in cleaning brick among other masonry surfaces. However, usually only professionals handle power washing which can hike up the price but the end result seems to be worth it.

Final Thoughts

Vinegar can be used on brick. It is mainly used on brick walls and floors for cleaning purposes. And since it is an affordable and easy option, a large number of people prefer this over other methods of cleaning brick. And it also will not cause damage to the brick if used correctly.