Housekeeping Challenge 101

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user 26

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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wow! fighting with a bathroom that is old bricks. it has a white film on it. this house was constructed in the 1700's, then additions in the 1800's. this part i guess is 1800's.
research online seems to indicate that the film is from the process used when the floor was set with muriatic acid and that this is leaching from the grout.
so i have been washing and trying to rinse and rinse ... but it is still chaulky looking. and i guess if i am not careful i could damage the floor.
and get this -- once it's clean, it's not recommended to seal the floor because the bricks might start to crack.
any experience with this type of floor?
what is 'washing soda'? that i read about using.
i am seriously thinking of getting it as clean as i can and then painting it to make it look better. i have a friend who painted a concrete floor and she says yes, it's doable. it's a relative's house and they say 'anything' .....
Cannot help with the bricks problem but I advise if you are going to paint swallow hard and go to Sherwin-Williams. We painted the kitchen floor (ancient linoleum) with porch paint (with LOTS of sand in it) and it was nice for about 10 years. It is due for a new paint job this winter. We got porch paint from Lowe's for the front porch when we sided the house in 2004 because the siding and the old porch paint were not a good color match. THAT paint is already needing replaced.
The kitchen in this house is the hub and since it was a back porch, has no insulation and gets cold in the winter. It is constantly walked on when cooking, doing laundry, is the entrance most used, gets things dropped on it constantly as DH looses muscle strength (and I always was a klutz which is why I can move so fast for a fat girl - when knives drop, they go point first) and that floor just started looking bad in the last year or so.
Wish you could post a photo?
We have a $5000 estimate for those sorts of bricks from a restoration dude. If it were me, I would definately try to paint them with some special paint. But they will continue to deteriorate and crack if not fixed properly.
i need a new digital camera in order to post photos. mine went capput a while back.
the brick floor is in terrific shape! all smooth. no cracks or chips. it's just that it always looks like it has a dirty grey film over it. so the floor is staying, as is. they like the floor. i (we) just want it to look nicer.
Washing soda is sodium carbonate, not to be confused with baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate. You can buy washing soda from various sources online, including, and I've never used it myself, but it's supposed to be great.
You might want to try LimeAway on an inconspicuous are to see if it will remove the haze if it were soap or hard water related.
update so far: i found a 'recipe' online for cleaning brick floors, esp around fireplaces, with a mixture of equal parts dishwashing liquid and baking soda. since i have lots of that on hand, i gave it a try. you rub it into the bricks and let it sit til dry, then clean it off. i did a test patch and that looked better. family says, go for it so i have done the whole floor. so far so good ... i don't want to be too enthusiastic right away because the wet floor always looks better than when it's dry. ... but it's starting to look better. we'll see.