It is no fun when mold appears on brick. Mold produces digestive enzymes that eat any surface it is attached to, causing structural damage. If you touch it or inhale the spores, it can cause health problems like asthma, nausea, rashes, or other allergies. As soon as mold appears on your brick, it is important that you remove it. The good thing is, removing mold from brick is a relatively easy thing to do when you follow some simple instructions.
Step 1 - Find the Water Source
Moisture and water retention are major sources of mold on brick, so finding the water source before you clean is important. If you don’t find it and fix it, the mold will most likely return. There are many different possible problem areas that could be causing water and moisture on your brick, so if you hear water, check these places to find out where it is coming from.
- Roof: Check your attic for any possible roof leaks and repair any that you find.
- Walls/Windows: Water can be reaching your brick via leaks in walls and windows. If you find some, use weatherstrip and caulk. If you have window condensation, consider installing insulated glass or storm windows to prevent more problems.
- Plumbing: Inspect your plumbing pipes for leaks. If you find any, you need to insulate them.
- Gutters: Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean, and channel water away from the house to avoid foundation leaks.
- Basement: Leaks in your basement could be making their way to your brick. Examine your basement and make any necessary repairs.
- HVAC Units and Ductwork: If your HVAC ducts have excess moisture and condensation that is getting the insulation wet, repair or replace the insulation. You also want to make sure the drains aren’t clogged, and that the HVAC unit is draining properly. Use a high-quality air filter and change it often.
- Under the House: If you don’t have a basement, check your crawl space for excess moisture, and put black plastic on the ground to reduce the humidity.
- Bathroom Vent Fans: If you have a bathroom near the outside wall where mold is appearing on brick, install bathroom fans that are vented to the outside. Be sure to run them for a few minutes after showers.
- Gas Appliances: Gas and kerosene heaters, as well as fireplaces, need to be properly vented to the outside to reduce moisture in the air.
- Chimney: If you have a brick chimney, inspect it for cracks and debris that could be providing shade and preventing moisture from evaporating.
Step 2 - Take Safety Precautions
Because mold is dangerous when you touch or inhale it, you have to clean mold with safety in mind. Start by putting on goggles, rubber gloves, and a mask to prevent it from getting on your skin and in your lungs.
Step 3 - Use Vinegar
Until recently, the recommended treatment to kill mold was a mix of chlorine bleach and water. Now, though, the Environmental Protection Agency says that combination is only effective in killing the mold, but not removing dead mold spores, which can also cause major health problems.
Instead of using bleach and water, pour undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it on the affected areas. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it off with a stiff-bristled brush. Next, rinse the vinegar with hot water, and then spray the affected areas again.
After the second spray, you do not need to rinse. Let the vinegar penetrate the bricks so it can kill the mold you can’t see.
There are mold removers that you can purchase from your local home store, like Gone!, Wet and Forget, and Green Envy. But, no matter what you use to remove the mold, it is best to clean your brick when there is low humidity and no chance of rain for at least a day so your cleaning product has time to properly settle.
If you are still having trouble getting rid of your mold and can’t find the water source, you should consider calling a professional to help you fix the problem.