Laurie said, “I have an interior brick foyer. When the walls and ceiling were primed, paint got on a quarter of the bricks. Any idea how to clean this and maybe polish them? Using a pressure washer indoors is not an option.”
Some people like having painted brick while others prefer the more natural look. Thankfully, brick is a hard surface that can go from one to the other and back again if desired, though it would be easier to simply apply a new coat of paint over the first if just changing the paint color is your goal. However, to change your brickwork from painted to unpainted, follow the steps below. These steps can be used on either an interior or exterior brick wall.¹
Removing the Paint
You Will Need:
- Commercial paint remover
- A wooden scraper
- A wire brush
- Steel wool
- A sponge
- A bucket
- A towel
Steps to Remove the Paint:
- Ventilate the area well.
- Apply a paint remover, such as Peel Away 7, onto the painted area of the brick.
- Let the paint remover dry.
- Scrape off the paint using a wooden scraper, wire brush, or steel wool.
- Once the paint is removed, rinse the bricks with water. This can be done by just sponging water from a bucket onto the brick.
- Use a towel to pat the brick dry.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Always protect your hands with gloves when working with a paint-remover.¹
- An alternative to scraping the paint off by hand is to sandblast it, though this would best be left to a professional.¹
- There are types of older brickwork that are softer and therefore could be damaged by too harsh of a scrubbing. Use caution when scrubbing your bricks until you are sure they can withstand the pressure.²
- Interior brick is more susceptible to dirt and stains than outdoor brick. Once the paint has been removed, your brick will be exposed to such problems. Consider sealing it and also coating it with paste wax to keep it protected and polished.³
- For information on removing paint from exterior brick, see the Paint Removal section of the article How to Clean Exterior Brick.
- Clean It Fast, Clean It Right by Jeff Bredenberg
- Talking Dirt by Jeff Campbell and The Clean Team
- Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook