Floor-cleaning Tips

Brick Floors

Caring for a porous brick floor is a lot of work no matter what you do. If you use a solvent-base wax on the floor, you have to seal it. If you use a water-base polish, you'll occasionally have to strip the wax buildup.

The best way to care for your brick floor is to keep it sealed and waxed. You'll need to use a commercial sealer for brick; neither varnish nor lacquer will do. Here's what else you need to know about treating a brick floor:
  • Damp-mopping after vacuuming will prevent dirt from building up on your brick floor. Try putting 1 cup of vinegar in the water; the floor will shine without being polished -- a real time-saver.
  • Use a solvent-base wax, so that you don't have to strip your floor. A solvent-base polish can be applied over a water-base polish, but a water-base polish cannot be applied over a solvent-base polish. The solvents in the wax dissolve the layer of wax that is on the floor during each application, so there is no wax buildup.
  • Remove wax buildup by applying a wax-stripping product with a scrub brush or floor-scrubbing machine that has a brush attachment. Rinse the floor thoroughly after applying the stripper. Do not clean your brick floor with acids, strong soaps, or abrasives.
As you'll find out in the next section, ceramic tile is a lot less difficult to maintain than brick.

Quick Care for a Brick Floor
While the following method of caring for a brick floor is not as effective as treatment with a stripper, sealer, and paste wax, it is quick and inexpensive.

Since this homemade solution contains ammonia, the floor is stripped every time you wash it, eliminating wax buildup. Most acrylic liquid waxes are self-sealing, allowing you to skip the application of a sealer.

Clean and strip the floor with a solution of 1⁄4 cup low-sudsing, all-purpose cleaner; 1 cup clear ammonia; and 1⁄2 gallon cool or cold water. Caution: Wear rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area when using this powerful solution. Apply the solution to the floor with a sponge mop, using pressure for heavily soiled areas; rinse with cool, clear water for spotless results. Then apply two thin coats of an acrylic floor wax.