Home Beautiful: How to keep your floors & walls stain-free
Let’s face it, your home is not always going to be pristine. Unforeseen spillages and stains are an inevitable part of life. Whether they’re from late nights with red wine, or early mornings juggling kids and coffee, trying to remove them is not always easy. Thankfully, we have come to the rescue with these tips on removing pesky marks from your brickwork, paved areas and retaining walls. What are you waiting for?
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR CLEANING YOUR BRICKWORK
Efflorescence – This is the white powdery deposit often found on the surface of brickworks. It is generally not harmful and will weather away with time. However, if you have guests coming and need the house immaculate, you can brush this off. But make sure the brickwork is dry! Wetting the wall typically dissolves efflorescence back into the brickwork, allowing it to reappear again when the wall dries out. This is a great end of summer job, when the bricks are dry from long, hot days!
Coffee Stains – We’re a nation of caffeine addicts, so coffee stains are a common curse. Luckily, they can be easily removed by applying a cloth saturated in a solution of one part glycerin to four parts water. When the stain is drawn into the cloth, rinse the brick area with water.
Organic Growths / Fungus, Mould & Moss – There’s nothing fun about wall fungi! Treat with diluted sodium hypochlorite bleach combined with a small amount of liquid detergent. Liquid chlorine, Exitmould and White King are suitable for this application. Clean with hot water and detergent. Repeat as necessary.
Wax Crayon – Kids. Don’t you just love them? Wax crayon can be usually be removed with acetone. It should be applied with a rag or tissue on smooth surfaces, or with a small brush on textured surfaces. If it tends to spread, try using a poultice and brush when dry.
CLEANING YOUR PAVED AREA
Sometimes neglected, paved areas really do need some love. Maintaining your paved area will ensure that it holds its good looks and natural appeal forever, ensuring added resale value to you home! Preventative care is the first step; however, all pavement areas are subject to spillages, soiling and a build up of dirt and grime over time. Where possible, wash your paved area with clean water and a detergent. If this fails to bring your area to an acceptable level of cleanliness, try the below methods on some of the most common paver stains.
Oil, Bitumen & Tar – These stains are tough as nails, and usually require two treatments with a commercial emulsifying agent. Mix the emulsifier with kerosene to remove the stain. Clean the kerosene off with the emulsifier mixed only in water. With petrol or lubricating oil stains, free oil must be mopped up immediately with an absorbent material, such as paper towel. Wiping it should be avoided, as it tends to spread the stain and force the oil into the pavement.
The area should be then covered with a dry absorbent material such as a diatomaceous earth, kaolin or whiting and the procedure repeated until there is no further improvement. Subsequently, use detergent to clean up, and rinse well with clean water.
Food Stains & Tyre Marks – Scrub these marks with a full strength detergent and rinse well.
CLEANING YOUR RETAINING WALL BLOCKS
Back up – the rear of your retaining wall is just as important as the front. To prevent possible staining, retaining walls should be backfilled with a clean, free draining material. When garden beds or soil come into direct contact with your retaining wall, the moisture present allows migration of soluble ground salts and can cause unsightly staining. It’s therefore essential care be taken when gardening or re-planting to ensure that the backfill remains in place to protect the wall.
Here’s how to clean some common retaining wall marks.
Timber (Tannin) Stains – Oxalic acid can be used for the removal of hardwood timber stains. Mix 120gm of oxalic acid with 4 litres of warm water, apply on a wet surface and rinse off. An alternative is to use chlorine solutions such as Sodium Hypochlorite (Household Bleach). These can be applied onto the dry surfaces. Repeat as necessary.
Rust Stains – For removal of iron bearing depostis, look to Phosphoric acid. A maximum strength of one part acid to 10 parts water should be used. Use only as directed.