How to Clean Efflorescence from Bricks  4.7/5 (19)

by Concrete Sealer Reviews

This post was most recently updated on January 26th, 2022

Update 2022 How to Clean Efflorescence on Bricks

We at Concrete Sealer Review are committed to being your go-to source for the latest tips and trends for your concrete and brick paver sealers through 2022 and beyond. Efflorescence, a white deposit of water-soluble salts, is a common problem with brick. In this updated article, we explain how to clean efflorescence from your bricks and restore them to look new. If you have encountered efflorescence on your bricks and have any suggestions or have questions, please comment below.


How to Clean White Efflorescence from Concrete

Efflorescence Brick PaversEfflorescence is a white deposit of water-soluble salts that can appear on masonry bricks. It can be a fine powdery substance or a crystallized buildup. Depending on the type of salts present it can also appear green, brown, or yellow. Efflorescence happens when soluble alkalis are present in the brick or grout and moisture is able to penetrate the brick forcing salt deposits to the surface. This can happen a month after the brick was laid or as long as a year later.

Tips on Cleaning Efflorescence

To clean efflorescence from bricks a chemical cleaner or efflorescence remover can be used. A good mildly acidic soap solution type of cleaner can work well depending on the severity of the salt buildup. In some cases, the use of a pressure washer is not necessary. It can be a simple, spray-on, procedure that eliminates the efflorescence salt deposits from the brick.

In extreme cases where the calcite type of crystallized buildup has occurred, appearing as an ivory-colored very hard substance, a calcite presoak may have to be applied several times prior to using an efflorescence remover. If a pressure washer is needed to aid in efflorescence removal, be cautious of using too much pressure which can damage the mortar joints.

Sandblasting can also remove efflorescence from bricks, but can also leave the brick surface more porous and prone to additional efflorescence problems.

Cleaning efflorescence from brick will not cure the problem, meaning it only cleans the surface of the brick but will not stop efflorescence-prone bricks from re-depositing more salts on the surface. Moisture entering and mixing with the soluble alkali sulfates in the brick is what causes the efflorescence problem. At this point, all you can do after cleaning is to prevent moisture from entering the bricks by applying a brick sealer.

Before sealing bricks it is important to be sure they are completely dry. Allow the brick surface-to-air dry for several days after cleaning efflorescence. Otherwise, you may trap moisture in the brick which would promote efflorescence from reoccurring underneath the sealer.

Cleaning efflorescence from bricks is not difficult with the right brick cleaner and a little patience. Be sure to follow the directions on the efflorescence remover that you use and to apply a good brick sealer once the surface has completely dried.


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john
john
3 months ago

Want to use a vinegar solution to get rid of efflorescence on interior floor and then sponge it off. Will it affect the sealer I will apply when everything is dry?

Earl Cole
Earl Cole
10 months ago

Our concrete was installed in March 2020 and has never been sealed (since it is around our pool we were told it was best not to seal because it could make it slippery). The area under the overhang of our house is not affected but the area in the open is covered by a white chalky material. If you would like to call me, I can best be reached on my cell phone, 916-474-0212.
Thanks, Earl

Earl Cole
Earl Cole
10 months ago

I am sending two photos as a PDF.

Earl Cole
Earl Cole
10 months ago

I hope I attached my photo correctly. If not, let me know and I will try again or you can give me an e-mail to send the photos to.
Thanks,
Earl

Earl Cole
Earl Cole
10 months ago

Do you have a recommendation on efflorescence removers on stamped concrete?

Earl Cole
Earl Cole
10 months ago

Do you have a recommendation on efflorescence removers on stamped concrete?
This concrete is around a pool and we were told not to seal the concrete around a pool because it makes it slippery. Is there a product to help prevent efflorescence that isn’t a sealer?

Shalini Kempen
Shalini Kempen
2 years ago

Does my patio that is being installed right now need to be sealed after it’s installed?
What happens if I never seal it?

Shalini Kempen
Shalini Kempen
2 years ago

I am in the process of getting my patio installed and the patio is not even half way through I see white spots all over the stones.
Is it normal to see these white spots so early while they are being installed?

Shalini Kempen
Shalini Kempen
2 years ago

Is it necessary to seal the patio that I’m in the process of being installef?
Is it ok to never seal it?

Shalini Kempen
Shalini Kempen
2 years ago

I am in the process of getting my patio installed but the workers are not even half way through and I notice white spots all over the paving stones. Is it normal for the white spots to appear while the stones are being installed?

AMY G.
AMY G.
2 years ago

I have some efflorescence on basement concrete floor. Painter did not remove efflorescence before putting epoxy down and needless to say the efflorescence bubbled up under the paint within a few days. How do I address this problem? Thanks.

Sheila G.
Sheila G.
2 years ago

Hi! I have a Cambridge paver patio, and the supplier recommends Gator Seal (we prefer the natural look). Any experience with this product? Thanks!

David W Stoklosa
David W Stoklosa
3 years ago

Will an efflorescence cleaner remove old sealer buildup and remove the white haze

David W Stoklosa
David W Stoklosa
3 years ago

Clemons concrete cleaner does not appear to be available in my area. The supplier carries Clemons but not this product. Recommends Pro-Line Dura Strip. Is this comprable

John Carlsen
John Carlsen
2 years ago

I have used paint stripper and a steam cleaner to remove efflorescence and sealer on 4 feature brick pillars. I sealed it with a Bunnings product called diamond coat. It looked great for several days but came back nearly as bad.
I have now read that the best time to get best results is when weather is warmer and bricks are dry. Leave several days between stripping old sealer, using efflorescence and applying new sealer.
The sellys paint stripper worked very well but it insn’t cheap.

Don Czerwinski
Don Czerwinski
3 years ago

Good Morning,

I have a client who used an extreme amount of salt on the sidewalks this past winter and I’m looking for a chemical that will remove said salt on the brick face and sidewalk edges at the brick. Any advise?

Thank You

Germaine M Owens
Germaine M Owens
3 years ago

Hello.. my pavers were installed recently and I now see this whitish stuff on top. Please help. What do I need to do? Thank you

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Germaine M Owens
Germaine M Owens
3 years ago

Thank you

Ralf Grant
Ralf Grant
3 years ago

I have this efflorescence showing up on some of the in side bricks on the dining room walls. the house is about 65 years old. I definitely. My girl friend been living here since 1972, and this just showed up. I will admit we are in central Pa. and this has been the wettest year!

Danny Morrison
Danny Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralf Grant

Find out where water is coming into wall from above, roofing, flashing, bad mortar joints exposed to weather, and repair first… Then and only then fix problem inside….

Arthur
Arthur
4 years ago

Any idea what this is and how to remove?

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Mark Ammons
Mark Ammons
4 years ago

I used Syntech Masonary to remove cloudy look on paver, looked good when i I applied. Almost an oily feel to it and darker the pavers. When rinsed off still did not remove the milky look.

Bill Barber
Bill Barber
4 years ago

1. How long after laying patio pavers over a concrete patio should I wait before applying the EaCo Chem NMD80 efflorescence remover/cleaner. The pavers were laid 2 months ago, and have a good deal of efflorescence residue on the surface.

2. How long should I wait between cleaning pavers and applying Supreme Shield SB600 sealer?

3. Will this sealer prevent any recurrence of efflorescence?

Thank you,
Bill

Diana Morgan
Diana Morgan
8 years ago

What is the best brick efflorescence remover? Have tried bleach, vinegar, so-called brick cleaners,
power washing, etc.
Diana

Judy
Judy
6 years ago

Do you work for a company? If so, do you do interior brick cleaning?

Thomas
Thomas
8 years ago

Hi,
Thanks for all the info you offer, it's very helpful. I have a fair amount of effloresce on a 4 month old concrete paver patio. I have two questions: 1) Would you recommend a specific brand of effloresce remover and 2) do you think the SureBond 6000 sealer would work well for preventing effloresce in the future or is it likely to trap it under the sealer. Thanks!

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