White Residue on Home after Pressure Wash Video

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rob allen

Staff member
Sep 5, 2007
Real Name
Robert Allen,Jr.
Business Location
United States
I went and did a pest control job at this house last week. I do all kinds of work at this house and he asked could I take care of this problem you see in the video. He had a guy pressure wash the home and a month later this is what's going on. He said he smelled heavy bleach as the guy was cleaning. Is this efflorescent residue? If so how can it be remedied? Guy said he will pay whatever it takes. It's a neighborhood where NFL football players live and he is picky. So any advice?



New Member
Nov 21, 2009
Minneapolis, MN
Real Name
Tom Peebles
Business Location
United States
White Residue on Home after Pressure Wash Video

A very good company for you to work with would be Prosoco. They have great customer support, probably have a rep in your area. If they do he will come out to your work site and evaluate the brick for you and suggest products to use. I've used them on some very difficult jobs and they stuck with it until the problems were solved. The largest job we did with them was the exterior at the Mall of America this was were they help me the most. Their web site is prososo.com and they have a distributor locator there just put in your zip.

Hope this helps you.


TMF Portable Specialist
Jan 6, 2009
Real Name
Wes Perry
Business Location
United States
We have a white residue on all sorts of things here in Colorado. I'm not sure if it's anything similar to what you're experiencing Rob. Here it's generally just mineral deposits, usually caused by rain and snow. Does the white residue flake away at all Rob?

We can usually rinse them away fairly easily with a good pressure washer. If it's really bad you can also soda blast it as well.


TMF Hard Surface Specialist
Mar 18, 2009
Real Name
Joe Stafford
Business Location
United States
That is efflorescence Rob, which is salt left over from moisture as it dries. It is recommended that neither an alkaline nor an acid solution be used since both will increase the salt content. Seeing as how the efflorescence is pretty minimal, I would use a stiff bristle brush and remove the salt and then clean with minimal water and dry the surface as fast as possible. Over time though, the problem will fix itself as the salt content will deplete. That is, of course, if there is no moisture problem inside the veneer. If there is a moisture problem, then the source needs to be found and fixed. In masonry, moisture can travel up, down and sideways, so the source may be tricky to locate. I would start with checking the weep holes and the flashing.



Active Member
Dec 18, 2008
Real Name
Rickie Fontenot
Business Location
United States
All good suggestions above; but did everyone notice the red mortar; Residue is the on edges of brick into the mortar; The bleach has damaged the mortar. Rinse; Reapply Enzibrite by MPC; it may cure the problem. A nuetral cleaner/ rinse agent also be needed. Never use acid cleaners on mortar; otherwise much like this job it can turn out to be a rather expensive fix.

I have a custy we were doing pressure washing for last week; their maintenance guy had been using pure bleach trying to get rid of stains in concrete. Well last week they called me and asked me to take a look at it. I told them the bleach so badly damaged the concrete it will need to be resurfaced; basically ground down or completely replaced.

Enzyme cleaners should be a large part of everyones chem arsenal !!


TMF Portable & VCT Specialist
Jul 14, 2008
Real Name
Jaime Fabara
This is what I found!
I guess I should have been a little more clear on what type of work I do. I wash new masonry and do mostly commercial work. I would very rarely do houses. You are right most of the brick layers that do residential work wash behind themselves. How many brick are on a regular house? 5,000? I am not sure. The job I am doing now is a school. It has 244,000 brick on it. If you figure a masonry company is getting paid $2,000,000 to lay brick and block they don't want to haggle with washing the brick. They want their guys only laying brick. Around here they pay their brick layers around $25+ an hour. Besides they figure my price in with their bid and they pass it along so it isn't really like they are paying for it.
You talk about effloresence appearing on the brick from the sprinklers. I bet you that it is not effloresence. I think it is lime. Effloresence is salt. It is caused by water behind the brick trying to get out. Many things cause it. The first thing is when you get a new building all the rain that may have gotten trapped and the water in the masonry comes to the surface and evaporates leaving behind the salt and other impurities in the water. That is where you get the white powder. Most effloresence can be simply washed off with a garden house. The problem is it comes back. If it keeps coming back that means that water is getting behind the wall. Then whoever needs to look into the flashing that was installed to see if water is entering because of that. Cracks in the brick or the joints can cause water to leak in too. Also in areas where freezing is a problem can cause effloresence to happen too. Sometimes it can become a mystery to some. The sprinklers are probably leaving behind the hard water spots and that of course is lime. You get the same white junk in your shower and it is tough to get off a smooth surface let alone a porous one like brick. They brick manufacturer will tell you that if it is effloresence not to keep using acid on it.
As far as the price of sure kleen they sell it here for about $10 a gallon. I don't know why it is so high in your area? Where do you buy it? I buy mine right from the brick yard.
As far as cleaning brick with high pressure. That is up to the person washing it. I will not tell someone to use high pressure to wash it. All I can say is I have used it. It takes a really long time because you have to be so careful when you get near the joints. Since I laid brick for awhile I don't worry as much about hitting a joint because I can fix it really easy. Just get out a tuck pointer and your hubbard and it is fixed. I always carry mortar and sand with me to fix stuff like that.
Now as far as muratic vs. sure kleen goes I will always use sure kleen. I don't know where you got that sure kleen has hydroflouric acid. If you look on the side of the sure kleen it tells you to becareful because it contains hydrochloric acid. I just went out to make sure. Also the msds sheet tells you that it contains hydrochloric acid. So muratic and sure kleen both have it. I now muratic is nice because we can buy it for $3 a gallon. That beats $10 a gallon or as you say in your area $19 a gallon. I use sure kleen 600. They also have sure kleen 800 and vanatrol. Sure kleen is a toned down acid with a detergent added. Muratic has been known to burn brick. Besides when you work on commercial job sites for new buildings you have your general contractor overseeing the whole job. He is there to make sure everything goes like it is written out in the job description. I have to use what they tell me to. It is different washing brick on a $200,000 house comapered to a $20,000,000 school. I have been on jobs so big that they have 3 masonry companies working the same job. Then they call in 3 pressure washing companies to wash it. I think it is cool working with the other companies because it gives you a chance to exchange ideas.
When I said I can use plain water on jobs I was talking about new masonry. If the brick layers where clean it the way they laid the brick kyou can sometimes just wash with plain water but higher pressure. When masonry is first laid there is a haze to it. The brick looks dull. If it is good hard brick and it has set for awhile then you can sometimes use higher pressure.
The only thing I don't like about commercial work is in a couple of weeks I have to wash some brick that goes over 55 feet.
I would like to get into some residential work and get a couple more people working for me.