Efflorescence is the whitish substance you see on brick pavers. It occurs when the moisture in the brick pavers evaporates, leaving a chalk-like salt. Efflorescence is naturally occurring and will disappear over time. However, just the mere presence of efflorescence somehow tarnishes the overall appeal of your brick pavers. Although you can’t do anything about the chemical reaction, you can get rid of efflorescence as soon as it shows up. Here’s how you can do this.
- Wet the brick pavers. Using a hose, direct jet of water at the brick pavers. Notice that efflorescence will become barely visible when the brick pavers are wet. But that does not mean it is totally gone.
- Brush the brick pavers. If efflorescence is somewhat new, you can make do with brushing the brick pavers. Use a stiff brush and scrub in one direction. Make sure to exert extra pressure. To make brushing a lot easier, pour a few drops of soapy water over the brick pavers.
- Use muriatic acid. Old efflorescence is almost impossible to remove with soapy water, so there’s a need for a stronger cleaning agent like muriatic acid. Mix one part muriatic acid with ten parts water. Then, put the mixture in a spray bottle and squirt an amount over the brick pavers. Let the acid solution sit for around 30 minutes. After that, brush the brick pavers with a stiff brush. The efflorescence will disappear after a few brush strokes. Remember to use gloves when working with muriatic acid, as skin contact may cause serious problems. Also, cover the nearby plants with plastic sheet to protect them from acid spills.
- Spray efflorescence cleaner.You can use efflorescence cleaner in place of muriatic acid. It is much safer to use and, as claimed by some manufacturers, environment-friendly. They also say that unlike muriatic acid, efflorescence cleaner does not damage brick surfaces. Use the efflorescence cleaner as instructed by the manufacturer. Generally, though, it is easy to spray as a solution. Spray the recommended amount over the brick pavers. Let it sit for a few minutes to give the efflorescence cleaner enough time to burn the chalky substance. After a while, scrub the brick pavers with a stiff brush.
- Rinse the brick pavers. Whether you use muriatic acid or efflorescence cleaner, it is important to rinse off the cleaning solution. Again, use a hose to spray water over the brick pavers. If you need to further scrub, do so. Most likely, though, efflorescence will disappear after you apply a cleaning solution and do scrubbing.
Finally, apply sealer. This is to prevent future buildup of efflorescence. Most manufacturers of efflorescence cleaners offer sealers, so check their products. Sealer works best on clean brick pavers, which is why you need to properly and thoroughly clean the brick pavers before sealing. Also, follow the instructions and read the warnings printed on the product label. Remember that sealer is a chemical product that may pose health hazards if improperly used.