Dirty brick flooring


Old 01-02-00, 04:29 AM
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elshwhere I have found some rather pleasant but eneven brick flooring which requires some cleaning. I have been told caustic soda is good any other ideas ?
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Old 01-13-00, 12:16 PM
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Figgins -
I am moving your question into "Bricks and Masonry" - perhaps you will get an answer there.
Old 01-15-00, 09:02 AM
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Caustic Soda is sometimes used on some types of Brick, but it is not a general purpose cleaner, nor is it suited for all type of Brick. Treatment with Caustic Soda, with complete rinsing afterward, is used for Vanadium stains.

Caustic-Soda (Potassium Hydroxide) or Sodium Hydroxide (AKA: Lye) are strong Bases with a Ph of 14 (the highest possible Ph). Vanaduim salts occur within some Brick (generally Blonde to Tan units, with some red units). Leaching Vanadium salts leave stains that have a greenish tint or appearance. Acid washing ligher units tends to aggarvate leaching. Thus acid washing is not recommended for units known to conatain Vanadium.

The Caustic-Sodas are known "grease cutters". Possibly that's why they are used in some Drain Openers. Combine a Sodium Hydroxide solution with the rendured Tri-Sterin of Tallow and you have Lye Soap.

Many types of cleaners can be used on Brick and Mortar. The problem with irresponsible slinging of cleaners is that some of them will harm Brick and Mortar and create more difficult cleaning problems.

The Do It Yourself.coms' "How To pages" list the common methods for cleaning brick and mortar http://www.doityourself.com/brick/index.htm
Some of those methods are ill advised for some types of Brick and Mortar, and for some circustances. Most of them may be used about 70% of the time.

The general rule of thumb is use the least intensive method possible. Starting with dry brushing, onward to plain water, then graduating to netural cleaner, are better methods for the general cleaning of brick and mortar than are Acids or Bases. Cleaners made for Terrazo and Marble are "Netural Cleaners".

Only when a lessor method fails should a stonger cleaner be used. And then a test patch is done. Just as important as netural cleaner si using water with a near netural Ph, that lacks heavy mineral deposits. Hard waters leave mineral deposits behind. The minerals can combine with the brick or mortar creating more difficult cleaning problems. Soft waters, high in Sodium, can combine with the Calcium in the mortar or brick creating white efflorescence stains.

In your case this is how I would proceed: hot moppings with a netural cleaner, with more hot mopped rinses. The next graduation would be hot mopped ammonia with more hot mopped rinses. Ammonia is hard on the lungs, so you may want to skip it. If both methods failed, hot mopped TSP, with more hot mopped rinses. If a non-mineral stain is encountered:

If the stain is water based, use water.
If the stain is alcohol based, use alcohol
If the stain is acid based, use alkali to neturalize (baking soda).
If the stain is alkaki based, use acid to netruralize (vinegar).
If the stain is grease, use soap.
If the stain contains albumin (milk or blood) do not use hot solutions as they cook and fix the protein. The use of the prefered solvent "carbon tetrachloride" has been banded. One of the newer "critic acid" cleaners must be used instead. Using one may or may not leach mineral salts.

I know that this hasn't been a great amount of help for you, but there are no univeral answers to the questions: "How do I clean brick and mortar", "What is the best cleaner for brick and mortar", and "What is the best method for cleaning brick and mortar?" The answers lie in Chemistry. The best answer is use the least intensive method possible.

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