Those long ivy (Hedera) vines that lend English charm to your home’s exterior can hurt bricks and mortar using their origins. These resilient plants boom in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 11, and some species are invasive. Even after you kill the vines, the lifeless parts can cling to the home’s foundation like adhesive. Removing these remnants takes a balancing process of scrubbing hard enough to get off the roots, but not enough to hurt the home.
Wear work gloves and safety glasses prior to attempting to remove the ivy. If you have asthma or other breathing issues, wear a mask as well.
Catch the very top of one of the vines at the highest stage that is attached to the foundation. Pull it gently away from the home to see if it is going to detach. Repeat the removal procedure with all remaining vines. If you feel resistance, stop and abandon the vine in place for later removal.
Set the flat blade of a plastic paint scraper perpendicular to the side of this foundation in a place where some of the ivy tendrils stay. Tilt the scraper backward slightly to your 45-degree angle and push it gently above the foundation to eliminate the majority of the larger remaining ivy pieces.
Brush the foundation using a dry, stiff-bristled, nylon brush and side-to-side motions to detach the remaining ivy roots.
Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 to 2 teaspoons of dish soap. Saturate the remaining ivy roots together with the solution, and let the mix sit for one or two minutes. Scrub off the roots using the nylon brush.