Chemical Cleaning 101: Safe & Effective Outdoor Cleaning

Have you ever looked at the stains and dirt on your brick patio or walkway and thought how to get rid of them?

You might find the answer you've been looking for in chemical cleaning. It's not only a good way to clean outdoor areas, but it also saves time and doesn't cost much. In this article, I'll dive into the world of chemical cleaning and look at how it can turn dull, dirty brick surfaces into shiny, clean ones. So, let's get a cup of coffee and get started!

Chemical Cleaning for Brick Surfaces

Chemical cleaning is a way to get rid of dirt and germs from surfaces by using chemical reactions to break down bonds and clear dirt and germs.

It is a good way to get rid of dirt, grime, and other messes from brick and other outdoor surfaces.

Chemicals are used to break down and/or get rid of things like dirt, grease, and leftover food.

Surfactants are an important part of cleaning products and their ability to clean surfaces by getting rid of buildup that makes it easy for bacteria and other germs to grow.

Corrosive cleaning agents are highly reactive chemicals that can eat away or corrode dirt, surfaces, live tissue, and most other common materials through a chemical reaction.

Chemicals Used in Commercial Pressure Washing

Chemicals are also used in commercial pressure washing to clean outdoor areas.

Chemicals are often used in industrial pressure washing to remove grease from concrete, remove graffiti, clean hoods and ducts, wash houses and decks, restore masonry, and get rid of paint and coatings.

Oxalic acid, citric acid, sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydroxide, bleach, ammonia, and potassium hydroxide are some of the chemicals that are often used in industrial pressure washing.

Surfactants are also used in commercial pressure washing to lower a liquid's surface tension, which makes spreading and scrubbing easy.

Safety Precautions

It's important to remember that some cleaning agents can be dangerous and cause problems like rashes, burns, coughing, and asthma.

Employers should teach their employees on how to safely handle and use cleaning chemicals.

This includes making sure workers know which cleaning chemicals need to be diluted and how to properly dilute the cleaners they are using, giving workers a place to wash up after using cleaning chemicals, and making sure there is enough air flow during cleaning tasks to prevent the buildup of dangerous vapors.

Using Safe Cleaning Products

When it comes to removing biological dirt from surfaces, such as membranes, chemical cleaning can be very effective.

But some cleaning agents are dangerous and can cause things like rashes, burns, coughing, and asthma.

It's important to clean with products that are safe for both people and the earth.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests using cleaners that are better for the earth and people's health.

Protecting Workers

Using safe cleaning products is important, but it is also important to protect the people who work with these products.

Employers can keep workers safe by teaching them how to mix and use cleaning products properly, making sure there is enough air flow while cleaning, and giving workers a place to wash up after using cleaning chemicals.

You can also put walk-off mats inside and outside of entrances to keep dirt from getting into buildings.

Chemicals Used in Brick Cleaning

Acid Solutions

Acid solutions are strong brick cleaners that can get rid of deposits, stains that are hard to get rid of, rust, and almost any other chemical stain.

But they should be used very carefully so as not to damage the brick.

Muriatic acid, which should be dampened before use, is one of the things that can be used to clean bricks.


Degreasers are also used to get rid of grease, oil, and soot.

Trisodium phosphate is a strong cleaner that can be used when nothing else will work.

Hydrofluoric Acid-based Gels

Gels made with hydrofluoric acid are used to clean the unglazed surfaces of clay and faience.

Hydrofluoric acid is used in this method to break up the silicates.

But it's important to remember that this method could easily damage the surface, so it should be used with care.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Product

It is best to test all chemicals used to clean stonework before using them on a large scale.

The best way to figure out which cleaning chemical to use on a certain type of brick is to ask the company that made the brick.

The best way to clean stonework is the one that cleans it well while being the kindest to it or causing it the least damage.

So, it's best to start with the gentlest cleaning solution and work your way up to the harshest one.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

If they are used right, chemical cleaners can be safe for outdoor surfaces.

Outdoor cleaners that are good for the environment, like BuildKleen, are made with all-natural ingredients and don't have acids, alkalis, biocides, or bleach in them.

Instead of killing the green or black growth, these types of cleaners get rid of the dirt and grime so it's easy to rinse.

They can be used on patios, decks, and even chicken farms because they don't have any harsh poisons.

Health and Environmental Concerns

It's important to remember that some cleaning products can be harmful to people and the earth.

Some cleaning goods contain chemicals that can irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, or other parts of the body.

Also, the concentrated versions of some industrial cleaning products are considered dangerous, which could make it hard for users to handle, store, and get rid of them.

Using green cleaning products can help lower the risks to people's health and the environment that come with cleaning.

Cleaning Frequency and Method

When cleaning outdoor areas, you should think about what kind of surface it is and how often it is touched.

Surfaces that are easy to touch are more likely to spread germs and may need to be cleaned or disinfected more often.

It is not necessary, effective, or suggested to spray cleaning or disinfecting products on outdoor surfaces that are not touched often, like sidewalks, roads, or groundcover.

Why Masonry Cleaning is Essential for Chemical Cleaning of Outdoor Surfaces

If you're looking to clean outdoor surfaces, chemical cleaning is a great option.

But before you start spraying chemicals all over your masonry surfaces, it's important to understand the importance of masonry cleaning.

Masonry surfaces, such as brick, stone, and concrete, are porous and can absorb chemicals, making them difficult to clean and potentially damaging to the surface.

That's why it's crucial to clean masonry surfaces before applying any chemicals.

Masonry cleaning involves using specialized equipment and techniques to remove dirt, grime, and stains from the surface without damaging it.

This ensures that the chemicals used in the chemical cleaning process are effective and won't cause any harm to the surface.

So, if you want to achieve a clean and beautiful outdoor space, make sure to prioritize masonry cleaning before chemical cleaning.

For more information:

Masonry Cleaning 101: Importance, Methods, and BenefitsMasonry Cleaning 101: Importance, Methods, and Benefits

Benefits of Chemical Cleaning

Chemical cleaning is an affordable way to clean outdoor areas like buildings and pavement.

It is often cheaper than using machines to clean, such as hydro-blasting.

Before using soap or other chemicals, you should test the surface with plain, high-pressure water to see if the results are good enough.

Chemicals don't always make things better, and if you don't use them, you can save a lot of money.

Using Green Cleaning Products

Using green cleaning products can help make cleaning less dangerous for people and the world.

But it's important to remember that cleaning products can be bad for your health and the world in a number of ways.

They may contain chemicals that can irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, or other parts of the body.

So, to reduce the risks that come with chemical cleaning, it is best to use green cleaning products.

Effective Chemical Cleaning

Using chemicals to clean outdoor areas can be a good way to get rid of dirt, grime, and other contaminants.

To make sure the drugs are used safely and effectively, it is important to follow the right steps and rules.

The risks of chemical cleaning can be kept to a minimum by testing the surface before using chemicals, using green cleaning products, and following the right way to store, handle, and use chemicals.

Cleaning Brickwork

To clean brickwork, you need to choose effective cleaning solutions and use regular, right ways to clean.

The type of damage and the type of brick will determine which cleaning products to use.

Some companies that make colored mortars don't suggest chemical cleaners, and bricks that have been salt-glazed or metallic-glazed shouldn't be cleaned with unbuffered acids or some cleaners made by the company.

You should also stay away from abrasive powders and tools or brushes for cleaning metal.

Removing Stains from Stone, Tile, and Concrete

Stone, tile, and concrete are porous, which means that liquids can get into them and stay there.

What can get in and stay there depends on how big the holes are.

Most food, drinks, and plants leave organic stains that can be cleaned with a mild, neutral cleaner or a strong cleaner.

Before you try to get spots out of stone, tile, or concrete, you should take off any coatings that are on them.

Frequency and Precautions

Frequency of Chemical Cleaning

How often you should use chemicals to clean brick surfaces varies on things like the weather, the type of brick and mortar, and what the manufacturer suggests.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions or choose the gentlest way that still gets the job done.

The best time to clean a new brick building is between 14 and 28 days after the building is done.

The longer mortar and grout smudges stay on the surface, the harder they are to clean, and cleaning them before the mortar has hardened could damage the joints.

But high-strength mortars (type "S" or with a compressive strength of 1800 psi or more) should be cleaned within 3�7 days.

Before cleaning, you should always test first.

Using Chemical Cleaners

When cleaning stonework, it's best to choose the most gentle way to get the job done.

Before you use chemicals to clean stonework, you should try cleaning it by hand with a bucket, brush, and pressurized water.

Chemical cleaners tend to work better when the temperature outside is at least 50 °F (10 °C) or higher.

If you want to know how well a cleaning product or method works, you should look at the bricks and mortar in the test area after it has dried enough, which usually takes about a week.

Before putting the cleaning agent on the rest of the building, the cleaned bricks in the cleaning area should be approved.

Precautions for Chemical Cleaning

Cleaning with chemicals can be dangerous, so it's important to take steps to keep workers safe.

Workers who use cleaning products should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and safety masks to avoid getting dangerous chemicals in their eyes or on their skin.

Workers should also be taught about the dangers of cleaning chemicals and safe ways to do their jobs, like not putting different cleaning chemicals together.

Employers should make sure there is enough air flow and a place to wash up after using cleaning chemicals.

Cleaning High-Touch Surfaces

When cleaning outdoor areas, you should think about what kind of surface it is and how often it is used.

Germs are more likely to spread on surfaces that are easy to touch, and if the area gets a lot of use, it may be necessary to clean more often or sanitize in addition to cleaning.

Before using soap or other chemicals, you should test the surface with high-pressure, normal water to see if the results are good enough.

If a chemical cleaner must be used, it is important to call the right people to get a map of the storm drains near the project site and to block off the storm drains before cleaning.

Proper Storage and Handling of Cleaning Chemicals

To keep people safe, it is also important to store and use cleaning products in the right way.

Cleaning products should be kept in a place that is clean, cool, dry, away from air conditioning intake vents, and no more than eye level.

They should be put in different places based on how dangerous they are, and similar goods should be kept together to avoid dangerous reactions if they are mixed.

Cleaning chemicals need to be used and stored in a certain way.

Employees should be shown how to do this, and safety signs should be put around the building.

Professional versus DIY Chemical Cleaning

Cleaning outdoor surfaces can be hard, but it's important to use the right goods and tools to keep yourself safe and get the job done well.

Chemicals used to clean can be dangerous and cause problems like rashes, burns, coughing, and asthma.

Before buying cleaning supplies, it is important to figure out whether sanitizing or cleansing is needed.

DIY Chemical Cleaning

Homeowners can clean outdoor surfaces with the right goods and tools, but they should be careful when cleaning with chemicals.

How much it costs to clean outdoor areas with chemicals depends on the product and the surface.

A one-gallon bottle of 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner can be bought for about $19 at Amazon, Walmart, The Home Depot, and Lowe's.

This product can be used on a variety of outdoor surfaces, such as concrete patios, wood decking, concrete sidewalks, asphalt roads, bricks, canvas awnings, plastic furniture, and vinyl siding.

Another product that can be used on different surfaces without cleaning or rinsing is Wet & Forget Outdoor Multi-Surface Cleaner.

It comes in a liquid concentrate with a trigger sprayer that has a large volume for easy and thorough use.

It can be put on decks, concrete, brick, and other outdoor areas.

At the time this book was written, this item cost $18.

Professional Chemical Cleaning

When it comes to chemical cleaning, it's best to leave jobs like chemical roof cleaning to the experts.

For chemical roof cleaning, substances like sodium hypochlorite are used, which can be dangerous if not used correctly.

To get dirt and other waste out of air ducts, it may be necessary to use special tools and chemicals called biocides.

But the EPA does not suggest cleaning air ducts unless it is absolutely necessary.

This is because it is still not clear what the benefits of cleaning ducts are in most cases.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is a good way to clean outdoor surfaces like tiles because it requires less cleaning solution and can clean big areas well. The average cost of pressure and power washing across the country is $281, and most pressure washing costs between $250 and $324. Prices range from $119 to $152 on the low end to $527 to $850 on the high end. Pressure washing can be used to clean surfaces like vinyl siding, concrete floors, wood decks, brick, stone, metal, and stucco of mildew, dirt, and other grime. The size of the surface, the type of surface, and the location all affect how much it will cost to power wash.

Note: Please keep in mind that the estimate in this article is based on information available when it was written.

It's just for informational purposes and shouldn't be taken as a promise of how much things will cost.

Prices, rates, and fees can change because of things like market changes, changes in regional costs, inflation, and other unforeseen circumstances.

Reflections on the topic at hand

In the end, cleaning with chemicals may seem like a quick and easy way to clean outdoor surfaces, but it's important to think about what could go wrong. Even though it might get rid of dirt and grime, it can also hurt the surface and the surroundings. Before you grab that bottle of toxic cleaner, take a moment to think about other ways to clean, like using pressure washing or natural cleaning products. You will not only protect your outdoor areas, but you will also help protect the environment. So, if you have a dirty brick wall or porch, you might want to think twice before using chemicals to clean it. Your yard will look better, and so will the world.

Looking for a new Pressure washer?

Choosing a gadget can be very difficult if you know nothing about the technology.

Some will pay for features they do not need while others may not consider what they really want.

So I created this quick, newbie guide to help you focus on what is really important to you:

0 2-12-13The Best Pressure Washer (For You!)

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Links and references

  1. Cleaning Materials and Methods (book)
  2. City of Milwaukee's website (online resource)
  3. pw1

    My article on the topic:

    Chemical Cleaning 101: Safe & Effective Outdoor CleaningBrick Cleaning 101: Tips, Tools & Methods

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