How to Clean Old Brick for Reuse

Because we cannot get bricks in the size that are on the farmhouse, we have decided to reuse the ones that have been removed during the den and chimney demos. To reuse bricks, one must first remove the old mortar. It’s not hard work, but it is very tedious.

First, you buy a brick hammer. An approximately 10 oz hammer with a chisel on one end. You could use a regular hammer and mason’s chisel, but we didn’t have one of those either.

Mason Hammer

Next, use the chisel end to chip away the old mortar. Or in my case, my pinky fingernail.

Yep, my very first swing of the hammer caught the edge of my nail and ripped it off. Holy-cow! I thought I might pass out. However, with Mr. Awesome truly injured, I had to harden-up and definitely not pass out. ..pain is weakness leaving the body…pain is weakness leaving the body…pain is weakness leaving the body….

In hindsight, work gloves and possibly safety glasses are recommended.

The internet further suggests soaking the bricks in a solution of muriatic acid and water to soften the mortar, but who has time for that? We need to clean 1000 bricks!!

Once my finger stopped bleeding mostly and I could breathe normally, I traded the medieval torture device for a screw driver to knock the mortar from the holes in the bricks after Mr. Awesome chipped the mortar off the surface.

After about 2 hours of this monotony, we were fully covered in dust and our hands had started to cramp. We had cleaned about 75 bricks. Good thing the windows I FINALLY ordered on Saturday will take 3 weeks to arrive. At this rate, we’ll need 3 weeks to clean the bricks.

Yesterday at the office I learned to a couple new and exciting facts … the letter “a” is the third most common letter in the English language and the pinky on your left hand is responsible for typing that letter over, and over and over again. 


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