How to Clean and Maintain Limewashed Brick

This post is sponsored by Romabio Paints.

A 3 step tutorial to learn how to clean and maintain limewashed brick exteriors using Romabio Classico Limewash + answers to frequently asked questions to decide if it’s right for you.

limewashed white brick colonial house

It has been just over 5 years since we had our exterior brick finished with Romabio Classico Limewash, and I am asked all the time, “Do you regret it?”

To sum it up: Nope! Absolutely no regrets!

natural orange brick colonial house

I do love the look of a natural red brick house, but in the case of our colonial home, I wasn’t at all sad to wave goodbye to our retro 1960s orange exterior as we traded it for an antique style.

After living with it for half a decade, we still love the timeless look of its weathered white patina.

But since our home’s exterior has gone through foundation repairs since our initial application of Romabio Classico Limewash in Bianco White, it definitely needed some cleaning.

If you have this brick finish yourself or have ever wondered about its durability over time, I thought it would help to share the process of limewashed brick maintenance.

dirty limewashed brick before cleaning beside a porch stoop
front porch stoop on a colonial house with topiaries, ferns, and wreath

Related: 6 Small Front Porch Ideas on a Budget to Add Instant Curb Appeal

What is Limewash?

The practice of using slaked lime paint on stone and brick dates back centuries all the way to ancient Egypt to protect structures from weather.

Romabio Classico Limewash is crafted in Italy using natural limestone from the Dolomite mountains. It’s easily confused with German Smear and whitewashing, but it’s a completely different base product where the lime is slaked and then aged making the perfect formulation that allows you to create patina instantly.

white limewashed brick and black shutters
4 gallon bucket of Romabio Classico Limewash in Bianco White

You can customize the look of a partially exposed brick style by pressure washing it off as little or as much as you’d like for an antique effect with subtle movement. Lime wash is a natural, breathable paint that calcifies to the surface allowing moisture to evaporate from masonry.

Its chalk-like finish does a great job of hiding imperfections in old brick and the hard, protective layer of lime based paint can prevent further damage.

contractor on ladder cleaning limewashed chimney

Limewash Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

dirty limewashed brick exterior with algae, moss, and mildew

How to Spot Clean Limewashed Brick

Authentic lime wash is naturally mold-resistant, high UV / fade-resistant, environmentally friendly, needs no primer, and can be applied in one coat. But it can get dirty if it’s not properly protected with Romabio Mineral Shield.

Romabio Mineral Shield technology wasn’t available when we first changed our brick in 2017, but we definitely took the time to protect it after this cleaning.

For any areas that need spot cleaning, you can use a soft brush and mild soap. Then, rinse on a low pressure setting with a garden hose.

Step 1 – How to Use Romabio Algae and Moss Cleaner

On areas around our foundation where we had messy repairs done a couple of years ago, we needed a much bigger cleaning job than a simple spot clean.

Most noticeably, red clay soiled the front of the white surface around our front flower beds, and moss constantly grew on our front steps. A few areas of algae build-up started to form around our eaves and chimney too.

dirt and grass stains on white brick
cleaned brick limewash

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Our local Charlotte contractor, DeHaan Painting, applied Romabio Algae & Moss Cleaner to all of the dirty areas on our exterior using a spray pump first. Then, we left it on for 48 hours.

All of the areas where it set turned bright orange as it lifted away the algae, moss, and dirt. We even saved some to clean up our dirty wooden deck! It works well for cleaning already painted surfaces too. The formula is totally eco-friendly so we didn’t have to worry about it causing any harm to our kids or dog.

romabio algae and moss cleaner
cleaning Romabio limewash with algae and moss cleaner

Step 2 – How to Touch Up Limewash

After the 48 hour wait time, our contractor washed all of it away with a hose to reveal a clean surface. We did have them touch up and blend a few areas with more Romabio Limewash in Bianco White using a small masonry brush so that we could have a fresh new coat for the protection step.

Related: See how to limewash a fireplace in an afternoon here.

cleaned romabio limewash on a chimney

Step 3 – How to Protect Limewash

Once cleaned with Romabio Algae & Moss Cleaner and touched up with Romabio Classico Limewash, our contractor waited a week and then applied a coat of Romabio Mineral Shield as an invisible top coat. It repels water, reduces weathering, and extends the life of lime paint to reduce staining from grass, clay, and dirt.

You can apply it on stairs, risers, interior fireplaces, downspouts, and any horizontal exterior surfaces as they get worn away the fastest. Just apply one coat with a brush or sprayer, and you’re all set.

romabio mineral shield
cleaning algae and dirt on limewash brick around a flower bed
limewashed brick colonial house and flower beds

Our Cleaned Limewash Exterior 5 Years Later

I love our brick even more now that it’s all cleaned up from our foundation repair drama.

It gives us peace of mind knowing its protected for years down the road so that we don’t have to go through the maintenance process again for a very long time.

Related: You can see more about how to limewash brick exteriors or limewash interior fireplaces here.

limewashed brick colonial house and flower beds

Frequently Asked Questions About Brick Limewash

How long does limewash last on brick?

A limewashed brick exterior can last twenty to thirty years in mild climates. Romabio Mineral Shield can extend the life of limewashed surfaces in regions that experience harsh rain and snow.

Does limewash turn brick pink?

Nope! It is completely opaque and dries to a flat, calcified finish.

It will look milky when first applied, but once the limewash has dried, it will turn solid white, so you can use it on any color brick, stone or masonry surface. Limewash and whitewash are often easily confused; whitewash can turn brick pink but limewash does not.

Can I use limewash over painted brick?

Sadly, no. Limewash only works on unpainted natural types of brick and other porous surfaces like stone. But you can use Romabio Masonry Paint for a solid, opaque finish that lasts 20 years.

Can I hire a painter to apply limewash?

Limewashing generally requires more training than house painting. We used Hans from Reflections of Italy who is an artisan trained extensively in Italy, and he did a phenomenal job. You can hire a Romabio Preferred Pro to eliminate the guesswork of finding the right contractor.

natural brick colonial before
white limewashed brick with black gutters, black shutters, and black painted garage door
limewashed brick colonial house with Romabio limewash

Got any other questions? Let me know in the comments. All these years later, we are still totally in love with it.

More Brick Limewash Project Advice

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  1. I love your posts. This one is nothing short of being amazing. Too, it’s just in time for us, because we are thinking of removing our vinyl siding and replace it with metal siding, but white in color. However , several friends have said that will not be a wise thing to do, because of it getting and showing dirt often. Please let me know what’s your take on this?

    1. Hi! How exciting for your new project. We enjoy our white. We have just now cleaned it up for the first time in five years. I will remind you that our white is limewash with a little bit of brick showing through. So it may camouflage the look of dirt a bit more than a solid smooth white paint. I don’t exactly have a direct answer of what direction to go. 😌

  2. I’ve followed your blog for some time now and I love your style, ideas, diy info…all of it! What I find unusual is there are never any comments. Am I missing something? Are they private?

    1. Hmmm… we do have comments and lots of them on older posts, but I have to approve comments in order to post them because we deal with a lot of spam, unfortunately. So I end up having to filter those out. Our new posts usually have no comments until I can approve them after a day or so to remove the spammers. This post now has 5. Are they not showing up? Nowadays more people comment on social media posts than on blogs, so that’s a factor too.

  3. Just love the outside of your gorgeous home! It’s just perfect now! You are so blessed! Enjoy!

  4. Did you ever consider overgrouting? I saw another influencer do that with her brick and it looked really good. Having said that, her brick wasn’t that orangey color.

    1. We thought about it but, yes, like you said, we’d still have the orange tone I don’t love. If we had red brick, I definitely would have considered that route.

  5. Glad you did it too – I remember what a big big reveal that was. What a difference, huh! Glad you are keeping it looking so great. We have to paint our house every five years. Maintenance is expected with every kind of surface once painted, I guess, huh?

    Hope that protection really helps a lot this time!

    Happy summer, Lauren.