Is Brick Backsplash Hard to Clean?

A brick backsplash can add beautiful texture and visual interest to any kitchen. However, some homeowners wonder if brick is difficult to keep clean. Here is what you need to know about cleaning and caring for a brick backsplash.

Choosing the Right Brick

One of the first steps in ensuring your brick backsplash stays beautiful is choosing the right type of brick. Glazed brick and ceramic tile made to look like brick are easier to clean than actual clay bricks. The impervious glazed surface prevents stains from being absorbed into the material.

Unglazed natural clay bricks have a more porous surface that can more readily absorb oils and spills. However, unglazed brick has an attractive, natural look that some homeowners prefer. Just be aware that more cleaning and sealing is required.

Cleaning Brick Backsplashes

Daily Cleaning

For daily cleaning, simply wipe down the brick with a soft, damp microfiber cloth. This will remove light dust and grime. For anything stuck on, use a soft nylon brush or plastic scraper to gently loosen debris before wiping with the cloth.

Weekly Cleaning

Once a week, give the brick a deeper clean using a mild soap and warm water solution. Dish soap or a gentle stone and tile cleaner work well. Use a soft cloth to wipe on the solution, agitating gently with a brush if needed. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a towel.

Vinegar mixed with water is also an effective cleaning solution for brick backsplashes. The mild acid in the vinegar helps dissolve hard water deposits, soap scum, and grime.

Preventing Stains

One of the biggest enemies of brick is oil. Vegetable, olive, canola and other cooking oils can seep into the pores of brick and cause staining. Be sure to wipe up any splatters and spills promptly. Using a protectant spray can also help repel oil and make cleaning easier.

Other problematic stains include wine, coffee, juice, grease, food and hard water deposits. Again, quick clean up is key for preventing permanent discoloration. For hard water stains, use an acidic cleaner to help dissolve mineral deposits.

Deep Cleaning

For a periodic deep clean, consider a commercial brick cleaner. Look for a product specifically made for natural stone and brick. This will be a bit stronger than dish soap but still gentle enough not to etch or damage the surface.

Let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes after applying to allow it to penetrate. Use a stiff bristle brush and some elbow grease to scrub away stubborn gunk and buildup.

Power washing or steam cleaning the brick every 6-12 months will also revive its appearance. Just be careful not to use too much pressure as that can damage the brick.

Sealing the Brick

Applying a penetrating sealer to brick about once a year will help protect it from stains. The sealer fills in the porous surface so spills and grime can’t sink in. It also makes the brick more stain resistant and easier to wipe clean.

Look for a water-based sealer made specifically for natural stone and brick. Solvent-based products can damage the masonry over time. Always follow the product instructions carefully.

Resealing will be needed annually or when water starts to soak in rather than bead up on the surface. Be sure to clean thoroughly before applying a fresh coat of sealer.

Is Brick Backsplash Hard to Clean?

While brick does require some regular care and maintenance, it is not necessarily hard to clean. With proper sealing and by using the right gentle cleaners, a brick backsplash can stay looking beautiful for many years. The key is addressing spills and stains quickly and doing a thorough periodic cleaning. With some elbow grease and the right techniques, a brick backsplash can be kept sparkling clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean oil off a brick backsplash?

If oil splatters onto a brick backsplash, it’s important to act quickly. First try to blot up any excess oil gently with a paper towel. Then use a mild dish soap on a soft cloth to scrub away the stain. You may need to use a plastic scraper for stuck-on grease. Avoid harsh cleaners which could damage the brick.

What is the most stain resistant brick backsplash?

Glazed ceramic brick tiles will be the most stain resistant and easiest to clean. The impervious glazed surface prevents absorption of oils and spills. Unglazed natural clay brick has a more porous surface that can more readily soak in stains.

Does brick backsplash need to be sealed?

Sealing a natural clay brick backsplash about once a year will help protect it from stains. Look for a water-based sealer specifically made for brick. The sealer fills pores in the surface to prevent absorption of oils, juices, greases and other problematic stains.

How often should you clean a brick backsplash?

For regular maintenance, wipe down brick backsplash daily with a soft damp cloth. Use a mild soap and water solution weekly to remove any grime. Vinegar and water also works well. Give the brick a deep cleaning periodically and reseal every 12 months or so for optimal stain protection.

Can you use bleach on a brick backsplash?

No, avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals on a brick backsplash as these can damage and discolor the surface. For tougher cleaning, look for a cleaner specifically formulated for natural stone and brick. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before gently scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush.

What happens if you don’t seal brick?

Without proper sealing, natural clay brick is more vulnerable to damage from moisture and stains from oil, grease, food and other kitchen splatters. Sealing fills in the porous surface to help repel water and make the brick more stain resistant. Unsealed brick will require more intensive cleaning.


A brick backsplash can be a wonderful addition to any kitchen. While it requires some regular sealing and cleaning, brick is not necessarily difficult to maintain. With the proper gentle cleaners, techniques and periodic resealing, a brick backsplash can stay looking beautiful and well-protected for many years of daily use. Taking quick action on spills, doing routine wiping and deep cleaning sessions as needed will keep your lovely brick backsplash in top condition. With a little diligent care, a brick backsplash can be a long-lasting and stunning focal point in your kitchen.