Removing residue from red brick

Old 03-16-15, 07:23 AM
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Removing residue from red brick

This actually involves a new brick fireplace inside but I thought this would be the best forum for my situation.

I needed to clean mortar residue from my new brick fireplace. In the hopes of avoiding an acid wash, I attached a steel wire brush to my drill and used that to knock away the surface mortar. This worked wonderfully on a prior fireplace.

This time, however, the red brick has taken on a grey staining. It's hard to tell if the wire brush left some sort of residue or it's actually a burnishing of the brick.

In the end, I did an acid wash after all but this hasn't cleared up this stain. I've tried some general household cleaners as well with no luck.

Thoughts on what I can do? Thanks.
Old 03-16-15, 09:25 AM
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It sounds like steel that rubbed off the wire brush. I would start with trying to remove it mechanically with a stiff brush (not metallic) or maybe a Scotch Brite pad or even sandpaper. As a last resort a 50/50 solution of nitric acid and water can dissolve/convert steel but that get's back to the original thing you were trying to avoid.

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