How to Remove Ivy from Walls

Ivy and walls seem to go hand in hand in landscape design, but it takes a good bit of maintenance to keep it pruned and tidy. And if you’ve ever pulled ivy off a wall, you know that the tiny roots adhere to the brick or siding like glue, leaving behind a maze of fuzzy tendrils that can leave your wall looking like a mess!

At my house, one wall of the porch is covered with ancient ivy tendrils from well before my time. I figure they’re a good worst-case scenario, since they’re dried out and stuck like glue, and the brick is textured, so they’re embedded deep inside the nooks and crannies.

Brick wall before. Those hairy tendrils stick like glue!

There’s no magic chemical or spray that will remove ivy from walls. It just takes lots of elbow grease or what we call around my house “a good old-fashioned Scrub-A-Rama.” In a nutshell, you have to scrub the ivy roots off with a brush, but the trick is to find an approach that’s strong enough to remove the ivy but not so strong that it damages your brick or paint.

Of course, smooth brick or siding is going to be much easier to clean than textured brick or stone. Depending on your situation, you may not be able to erase every strand, but you can certainly improve the overall appearance.

Ivy Removal Tips

To tackle this job at your house, follow these tips:

  • Removing Ivy: When removing ivy, pull it VERY gently off the wall, not worrying about the stems that break and stay stuck. If the roots have grown into cracks, you don’t want to damage your mortar or siding by yanking too hard.
  • Don’t Procrastinate: As I found with my porch, over time the roots will harden and be nearly impossible to remove. The sooner you can clean your brick, the better.
  • Scraping: Start by using a wooden or plastic scraper to work loose any whole roots and stems that are still attached, being careful not to damage the mortar.
  • Scrubbing: Once you’re down to just the hairy tendrils, it’s time for the scrub brush. Start with a nylon household scrubber and work loose as much dried material as you can – it will crumble better if the brush is dry. If there are still tendrils remaining, try loosening them with water and mild detergent. If the scrub brush isn’t doing the job, try progressing to a stiffer brush, or a scrubbing sponge. The stiffer the brush, the more likely you are to damage your wall, so take it easy! Test out your brush in an inconspicuous spot, to be sure it doesn’t scratch the surface.
  • Torching: If all else fails and you have a brick or masonry wall, you can try using a propane torch to burn away the remaining roots. This has a chance of scorching your brick, so test it first. Be sure to wear goggles and keep the flame away from wood or flammable materials.

Brick wall after. Don’t damage your brick, as I did here in my test!

I have to admit, cleaning this textured wall proved to be more trouble than it’s worth. A soft brush only removed about half of the tendrils, and a stiff brush removed the surface of the brick. Yes, it reached a point where brick was coming off, and ivy wasn’t!

Even flame couldn’t erase the tucked-in strands. In order to preserve my brick, I had to accept that unless I want to pick at those roots with a needle and magnifying glass (and even I’m not that crazy), some of those tendrils are just going to have to stay there.

Further Information


  1. Regarding removing ivy from a concrete block wall: have you tried a power washer? I’m thinking about trying one but I would like a second “professional” opinion. Thanks.

  2. I used a power washer but prescraped as much off with a rake and brush as I possibly could and the power washer did not do too much. It is a bear no matter how you do it

  3. By Chance i tested an h1610 powerwasher on my brick wall and could not believe how well it cleared each brick face and the roots inbetween, it also cleaned off all the green moss and with a little more foucus paint stains on some of the bricks, I was ready to cover the wall with a wood facing until i saw how great the brick now looks.

  4. Be very careful removing ivy. I had a very serious poison ivy or sumac reaction which sent me to the e.r. The poisonous variety likes to hide between the English Ivy.

  5. A follow up: My wall is painted cinder block instead of brick. I ended up by first pulling all of the ivy from the wall and then using a very powerful power washer to remove the remaining tendrils. The wall is over fifty years old and the mortar used to grout the joints was not mixed properly so I’m in the process of tuckpointing the bad grout lines that were dug out by the power washer. My next step is to prime all the paintable surfaces with exterior primer before I paint. I’m trying to get all this done before the snow flies. Wish me luck.

  6. I kinda’ have the opposite problem from Ivy sticking to the wall. A couple of times I have moved the tips of some vines to point them in another direction. Afterward all the little roots turn brown and fall from the wall. I probably pulled the little roots at the end I moved, but what makes all the rest come loose and fall? Thanks.

  7. When I moved into my property my wall was pristine with no evidence of any ivy having been grown against the wall. A couple of years later, (last winter), I one day noticed fuzzy growths on my wall. That following spring friable, woody twig-like tendrils appeared out of the fuzzy growth. They looked just like the picture on this site, and seemed stuck on with super glue! I had it all removed later on that spring and thought it was all gone – until a couple of weeks ago (it’s now winter again), since when I’ve noticed patches of fuzzy growth re-surfacing out of the wall (no tendrils yet though)! A neighbour has just told me that the previous owner did have what looked like a Boston ivy plant growing up the wall, but she took it down. There isn’t an ivy plant or anything growing out of the ground, just these random patches. What I’d like to know is, is it at all possible for these fuzzy ivy growths/tendrils to re-propogate themselves out of walls without the support of any ground roots or visible ivy plant? Is there any chance that they could spread to surrounding bricks on the same wall, or will they stay confined to the area they’re spouting out of. Hopefully, the latter! Also, is there a chance that leaves could grown out of these isolated fuzzy growths. Any suggesions/answers would be much appreciated.

  8. I also am trying to remove the dried tendrils of English ivy on my home. I have tried using a small torch on some of the bricks as a test. Not sure yet of the outcome as I only did it yesterday then I scrubbed the blackened area with water with some Simply Green. If anyone has found something that takes them off (product etc.) please let me know as just scrubbing did not work!

  9. My ivy has grown and covered the wall that I wanted covered. Now I want to protect the adjoining walls. Is there anything that I can spray onto the clean (stucco) wall that will discourage new ivy from attaching to them. I have a painted mural on the stucco wall next to the ivy wall and I live in fear that the ivy will grow and destroy the mural. So far, we have been able to manage it by cutting it back, but we are gone from home for long periods and it grows fast. Any suggestions?

  10. I would maybe rethink encouraging ivy to grow as once it starts you have to continuously trim and trim and you can not get it off and it will damage the wall. I am so sorry that I did this and now I have brick walls covered with dried out tendrils that I can not get off.

  11. I had ivy growing up the stucco porch. it was removed to paint, then later, I could see the ivy coming back. I procrastinated too long and by the time I began to pull it off, it had grown five feet high. I clipped it at the bottom to kill it and then waited too long to pull it off. it left a lot of rooty tendrils that look like fossils and also pulled off some paint and stucco. I was already resigned to painting again and began to scrap the root material, but it is impossible to get off without damaging the stucco. I spread vinegar over it. Hopefully, the mild acid will eat the plant material away, but too soon to tell.

  12. Thank you so much I am going to try a small section right away with vinegar. I also just tried a small kitchen torch (with the hose right next to me) it scorched it off (brick house) and then I scrubbed with a bristle brush ( to get the dark ash off-worked somewhat) and Simply Green. Not perfect but better. The vinegar is brilliant. Thanks You! I have it on a brick house so I will try a small section as a trial. I have been told that vinegar has many uses!

  13. I’ve managed to get rid of the ivy from the front of our brick house. That was tough in itself but now I too have the woolly brick look. I am thinking of growing a non evasive evergreen plant on a trellis to mask it as i can’t seem to get rid of the fuzz. Do you know if this may reignite the ivy? We cut it at the root with a saw, left the top to die off and have now removed all the tendrils and taken the stump out of the ground. What plant may be resilient enough to be planted where the ivy roots were? How long should I wait?

  14. i used a corded drill and a 4″ sanding disc thing that looks like a rice crispy treat foam. I have also tried a power washer with no luck but i was told i would need to have an oscillating tip on the wand which i did not have.

  15. tried the oscillating tip with a 3100 psi pressure washer. It takes ivy and paint off. This will do the trick. I read it takes 3000 psi to be able to clean off masonry but the big help is the turbo nozzle or oscillating tip you put on the end of the wand.

  16. SUCCESS!!!!! The oscillating tip absolutely removed 90% from my wood siding. Took some paint in places but the object was to prep the wall for painting. It was like magic.

  17. I have an unwanted wild vine that has completely covered half of my shingled roof (not wood) and is trying to come in our windows in Houston Texas. This roof is 15 years old and I don’t know if pulling the vine off is better or worse for the roof as I can’t afford a new roof right now. Do you have any answers for my dilemma? Thank you. Brenda

  18. Try a blow lamp and a wire brush but only use this on brick. What you do is you wave the blow lamp over the area, and then use a wire brush to brush the pores off. I have just done a house wall like this and it only took me an hour.

  19. I used a scrapper to remove the big stuff . Took a touch to the roots and after washing the brick off with a stiff brush I took a black and decker mouse sander with a medium grit sand pad and it removed most of what was left . The brick is a rough tutor so the color and texture looked the same . I was pleased with the result

  20. Use a plumber’s torch!

    I tried all the other methods. Wish I had gone to the torch first…So EASY. just test in an inconspicuous spot first. Go lightly no need to focus the flame in one spot too long. If you have a ton of tentacles I suggest you work from the top down, as some of the larger pieces will ignite the ones above… Left a tiny residue of the charred pieces, comes off easy with the pressure washer. Good luck!

  21. I have a textured painted rendered brick wall with ivy that is a real pain. It grows so quick and we have quite s few sticky brown stalks that are stuck fast. I was wondering if anyone has used a power steamer? I was hoping it would soften and loosen the blighters? ?

  22. Put half a cup of salt in a spray bottle, fill up with white vinegar, add a dash of washing up liquid soap. This is an excellent weed killer.

    We are having our old conservatory pulled down. Ivy from next doors nasty neighbours has grown over the walls and roof and has pushed through the roof and is growing inside. So I’m too old to attack it with shears, I’ll try this. Or the Ivy will be all over my new brick conservatory when it’s built soon.

  23. I have pulled ivy from wall and window, however, it has left tendril marks on the window frame (metal covered) any ideas for removal?

  24. I have textured brick finish so scraping is out. I’m trying undiluted bleach (carefully applied) which I know has a devastating effect on wood so should be effective. Will let you know how this goes.

  25. Oh, my ! I didn’t realise I had such a difficult job ahead of me ! The ivy tendrils are on wooden painted trellis and plaster render. I’ve prepared the planting hole for the rose already. Silly me, I thought it would be a quick and easy job ! Good luck, everyone, with your efforts.

  26. I have recently successfully removed the dried tendrils from brickwork. I used a steam cleaner and a wire brush.
    Steam first and this softens the tendrils then brush lightly with the wire brush.

  27. I’ve been trying to get the little suction cup roots off of 3 concrete cynderblock barriers for dumpsters for this apartment complex for 2 weeks now. My boss has handed me a wire brush and a small scrapper to get them off and he wants them perfectly smooth. Those two things didn’t satisfy him so I’ve used a multitude of tools, even a 4000 psi pressure washer with a 0 tip while having the tip at a maximum of 4 inches away and that didn’t work. I’ve been telling him that one of those little propane torches would be perfect but I have yet to be handed one.

  28. serious ivy problem, have been told white vinigar and slt mixture when first sprayed then pored on roots does the trick. if so can any body guide me as to mixture ie salt to vinigar…. regards pete

  29. I have read all the the advice but can’t see anything about removing tendrils and remaining small bits of branches from a hydranger peteolaris climber that we have removed from a tyrolean rendered wall (sprayed on bumpy plastic based wall covering?). Has anyone any suggestions?

  30. I thank everyone for their suggestions and I’m going to try some of them, like the plumbers torch and pressure washing!!! I know it will look better and we are painting also!!! Thanks again

  31. Hi I’m wondering about just bought a house over 160 yrs old and the back seem to have ivy on it we had it taken off. While we were clearing the sitting room we noticed the wall was wet from top to bottom on an angle. We decided to investigate to notice we had roots and I see some tendrils and to our disbelief it was soaking wet. We think a lime stone wall and sand is falling off. Can you advise us in getting rid of roots as walls are quite thick to follow back to where ivy was growing and the best way to prevent it regrowing inside.
    Regards Mary

  32. I have a dry stone wall in my garden. It used to be a fence covered with ivy.
    Now the fence has gone there appears to be ivy growing through the stone. Have tried all I can find to no avail…… Help!!!
    Anyone have any ideas

  33. I didn’t know that ivy would be so hard to remove! We have a wall that has slowly been overtaken and we are trying to decide whether to remove it all of just maintain it. can the ivy cause damage to the masonry? If so I will do what it takes to get it off and protect our house. Thanks for all these great tips!

  34. We live in Pasadena CA. We have a stucco exterior with wood trim. We cut the ivy near the ground and let it all die on the house, pulled it off and tried the following:1. scraping: took off the stucco with the ivy tendrils. 2 Wire bursh: took off the stucco and ivy still hung in there. 3. Steam from steam cleaner then wire brush: paint was discolored and lifted off stucco and Ivy was removed with paint.
    Finally we got a propane torch and burned the tendrils and “feet”then used a wire brush to remove the charred remains. This worked best and we were able to finish the job this way: torch in left hand and wire brush in right. I will NEVER let ivy grow on my house again.

  35. sandpaper is good for the bits that dont come off with srcaper but only if your painting after. hot water or steam and a rag etc works on wood surfaces

  36. I had a huge wall covered in stickers and ended up hiring a power washer which took it of straight away. By hand, would have taken me a week, the power washer took half a day.

  37. Having removed two fence loads of ivy which was hard with their roots being real tough and exhuming a dust like vapour I have ended up with a dreadful dry cough and there seems to be no cure for it.
    My GP thinks it might have damaged my lungs so am awaiting the results of an x-ray.

  38. Sean (above) lives in California. His best advice: ” I will NEVER let ivy grow on my house again.” One should only consider ivy where there is a HARD winter to kill it back every year. Even then be prepared for lots of work every year.

    • Thanks for sharing your advice with the Today’s Homeowner community!
      TH community members helping other TH community members — we love it. 🙂


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