How to Clean Brick Fireplaces

 


Remove Soot and Residue to Stop Fireplace Deterioration

After using your fireplace, you will definitely accumulate smoke created soot that produces stains and residue. These stains and residue are really hard to clean and if you are not careful, you will end up damaging or even discolouring the bricks of your fireplace. You should take note that not all fireplace have the same kind of bricks, some of them comes with different shadings while others might be more porous. The cleaning method might also not be working on different kind of stains and the following tips would be able to help you clean your brick fireplaces safely without damaging the bricks.

To Clean Brick Fireplaces, you need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Cloth
  • Dish soap
  • Table salt
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Water or hot water
  • Pumice
  • Ammonia or Trisodum Phosphate (TSP)
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle

Cleaning Brick Fireplaces

  • Some of the methods used for cleaning fireplace brick might not work on certain bricks. Therefore, you should try to clean a small portion of the brick using your cleaning product that you have at home first before trying other methods.
  • Before starting to clean your fireplace, you must make sure that it is
    • Cool and as it is not good to clean it after it has just been used
    • If you have a wood fireplace, you have to remove the grate along with its accessories to a safe area
    • Use your ash shovel and remove the ash into a bucket or place it into the ash door if you have one
    • The inside of the fireplace needs to be brushed down while the fireplace stones need to be vacuumed.
  • For exterior brick covered by mud, soil or ash, you can simply clean them by brushing the stain or even use a vacuum cleaner.
    • If you notice that the stain is in the porous bricks, you can spray some water enabling them to float to the top before you lightly brush them to loosen up and clean it.
    • Finally, you need to vacuum or soak them up using an absorbent towel and make sure not to make the dirt get back inside the porous brick. Once done, you are ready to start your cleaning task on your fireplace brick.
Fireplace Stones

If you have an interior lined with fireplace stones, you must be careful as to not brush them because the stones might crumble.

  • For a cleaning stain caused by smoke on your fireplace brick
    • You can try to use a scouring powder along with bleach and stiff nylon brush.
    • Another option that you can use is an alkali detergent such as some powder laundry detergents where you can mix them with water before spraying them on the bricks. Then, you need to allow them to soak for a few minutes before using your nylon brush to loosen and remove them.
  • As for the cleaning stain caused by soot or small and light areas of soot from your fireplace
    • You can use white vinegar or even bleach mix with water. Then, use your brush and dip it into the mixture, but do not let it soak.
    • Another option that you can use is by using a foaming tub cleaner. Firstly, you can spray the brick before starting to scrub it with a brush that you have dipped in a mixture of ivory liquid soap and water.
Cleaning Mixture

If you choose to use a mixture of white vinegar or bleach and water method of cleaning, you may require applying the solution with several applications and it is not recommended for large sections.

  • If you are cleaning a creosote that has build up onto your glass fireplace doors as well as other parts of your fireplace insert or even on your exterior brick of the fireplace, you need to
    • Use a spray made for oven cleaner and follow the instructions from its manufacturer regarding its usage
  • If all of the above methods does not help you clean the fireplace brick, you can consider using
    • Trisodum Phosphate purchased from your local hardware stores
    • Ensure that your work area has a very good air ventilation
    • Once you have prepared all that you need, you can mix 1/2 cup of Trisodum Phosphate into a gallon of hot water
    • Then, use a stiff brush and scrub the fireplace brick with the mixture
    • Once finished, make sure that you rinse it with plenty of water on the area that has been cleaned

Always Remember

The most important part of cleaning brick fireplaces

  • Use the right products based on the type of  brick used to build your fireplace
  • It is not recommended that you use Muriatic acid or also known as Hydrochloric acid to clean
  • Whenever you are dealing with cleaning supplies or products, always wear gloves, face mask and goggles.
Not Suitable for Cleaning

Trisodum Phosphate is suitable only for cleaning red fireplace bricks. It is advisable for you to wear heavy gloves, face mask and goggle for safety precautions.

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