DIY, Fireplace Cleaning, Fireplaces

How To Clean A Brick Fireplace Step By Step

A brick fireplace can make a home. Coming back from a long day of work, lighting up a fire, and sitting around with the family can transform anyone’s mood. However, this isn’t always the case when it is dirty and full of soot. You want something beautiful to look at, so you must maintain your fireplace by cleaning it fairly frequently. 

You can use several methods to clean your brick fireplace, ensuring it is sparkling for as long as possible. None of them are too difficult as long as you have the right tools, and you’ll have something beautiful to look at each day. 

Continue reading to find the right cleaning method for your brick fireplace

Stay up to date on your cleaning

Cleaning your brick fireplace is incredibly important and should never be avoided. After just one fire you light in the area, soot will gather on the inside and outside of the bricks, leaving the fireplace looking dirty and unpleasant. Everything from the bricks to the grout will gather black stains, and you’ll also be left with a bad smoky smell surrounding the area. This article is talking about cleaning the brickwork, but a large part of how your fireplace looks will come down to the condition of your fireplace doors. So don’t forget them!

The soot doesn’t only gather around the fireplace but can also move to surrounding pieces of furniture and accessories such as your carpets, curtains, and sofa. If you don’t stay up to date on regular cleaning, these stains and smells can cause permanent damage to several surfaces, which will ruin the enjoyment of the fireplace. 

Therefore, how often should you actually clean your brick fireplace? This all depends on how often you use it. If you only use it once a month, then you should probably clean it fairly quickly afterwards. However, if you use your fireplace almost every night, you’ll want to set aside time once a week or fortnight for cleaning to ensure you stay on top of it. This way, you’ll be able to afford permanent discoloration, and the job won’t be too difficult. 

Getting started

Before you choose the cleaning method you want to use on your brick fireplace, there are a few things you’ll want to do to get the area ready. It will make your job easier and help remove the soot without putting too much strain on your arms and body when it comes to scrubbing time. 

Put protection in place

When you start cleaning your brick fireplace, you will most likely distribute some of the dust and soot around the room. Since the whole point is to ensure the entire area is tidy, you can prevent this by placing some protection on your floors and furniture. Use a waterproof drop cloth to prevent any spills of your cleaning solution and further soot stains. 

Remove the ash

While your fireplace may have soot stains to get rid of, there is also a pile of ash and debris from your last fire you may want to clear out first. Ensure your fireplace is cold, and remove any build-up in the firebox. You will need to then dispose of the ashes and debris safely, so make sure you don’t leave them lying around. 

Vacuum up any extra dust 

Just like any surface, dust accumulates over time. You’ll want to grab a vacuum cleaner and get rid of any dust or excess soot before you start your deep cleaning process. This will help you get started and make your overall job easier.

brick fireplace cleaning tips

Image source: UglyHousePhotos.com

 

Method 1: Using detergent and salt

If your brick fireplace doesn’t have too much soot and grime, you may want to use this mild cleaning method. It doesn’t involve hard chemicals and should do the trick quickly. 

Supplies and tools:

  • Dish soap 

Washing up liquid and dish soap isn’t only used to clean your plates and cutlery. Make sure you have a full bottle ready before you start cleaning your fireplace. 

  • Clean water

You can’t clean anything without some clean water. You can use it to either mix with other solutions or rinse off the fireplace when you’re done. 

  • White vinegar

Vinegar is a pantry staple that can actually help quite a lot when cleaning any surface in your house. The acidity cuts through any grime and soot, leaving a sparkling result. 

  • Salt

Like vinegar, salt has some powerful cleaning properties that can come in handy when mixing different solutions together. 

  • Powerful scrubbing brush

Soot can be hard to remove, especially if you’ve left it gathering for a long time. You’ll need a powerful scrubbing brush to remove heavy layers off of your fireplace. 

  • Two sponges

When the soot and debris aren’t too bad, all you’ll need is a basic sponge to rub the solution onto your bricks. 

  • Two buckets

You’re going to need somewhere to mix your cleaning solution, as well as another place to supply you with your water. Buckets do the perfect job. 

  • Spray bottle

You can control the use of your cleaning solution by placing it in a spray bottle. Simply spray the amount you want on your bricks and fireplace at the time. 

Steps:

1. Create your solution 

Pour a gallon of warm water from the tap into a bucket and add two drops of dish soap with a grease cutter to create your first cleaning solution. In another bucket, pour a gallon of cold water from the tap and mix it with a cup of white vinegar to create your second cleaning solution. 

2. Use your spray bottle

Fill up your spray bottle with some clean water and apply it to the dirty areas of your brick fireplace. 

3. Start scrubbing

Take your powerful scrubbing brush and dip it into the dish soap solution. Add a decent amount of salt onto the brush and start scrubbing any areas of the fireplace covered in soot. 

4. Finish with a rinse

Once you’ve scrubbed with your first cleaning solution, you can wipe it away with the second solution. Use your first sponge to wipe away the solution and the second one to rinse using the water and vinegar combination. 

Method 2: Using dish soap, ammonia, and pumice

If the method above doesn’t seem to work, then you can add some more powerful ingredients to your solution to ensure it removes the soot. 

Supplies and tools:

  • Dish soap 

Washing up liquid and dish soap isn’t only used to clean your plates and cutlery. Make sure you have a full bottle ready before you start cleaning your fireplace. 

  • Clean water

You can’t clean anything without some clean water. You can use it to either mix with other solutions or rinse off the fireplace when you’re done. 

  • White vinegar

Vinegar is a pantry staple that can actually help quite a lot when cleaning any surface in your house. The acidity cuts through any grime and soot, leaving a sparkling result. 

  • Powdered pumice

People have used pumice powder for years to remove scratches and marks from strong materials such as glass, making it a great solution for stubborn soot. 

  • Household ammonia

Ammonia is a powerful cleaning solution that is frequently used to clean items in the bathroom and kitchen. 

  • Powerful scrubbing brush

Soot can be hard to remove, especially if you’ve left it gathering for a long time. You’ll need a powerful scrubbing brush to remove heavy layers off of your fireplace. 

  • Two sponges

When the soot and debris aren’t too bad, all you’ll need is a basic sponge to rub the solution onto your bricks. 

  • Two buckets

You’re going to need somewhere to mix your cleaning solution, as well as another place to supply you with your water. Buckets do the perfect job. 

  • Spray bottle

You can control the use of your cleaning solution by placing it in a spray bottle. Simply spray the amount you want on your bricks and fireplace at the time. 

Steps:

1. Update your cleaning solution

Use the same cleaning solution as in method one but update it with a half cup of household ammonia and mix it together.

2. Replace the salt

Instead of using salt on your powerful scrubbing brush, sprinkle a decent amount of your powdered pumice onto the tool.

3. Repeat the steps

Repeat the steps in method one, and you should see stronger results. However, ensure the room is well ventilated to remove the fumes of ammonia. 

Method 3: Using trisodium phosphate

While the first two methods should work, if your soot stains are still staying on your fireplace brick, you may want to consider using trisodium phosphate in a well-ventilated area. 

Supplies and tools:

  • Trisodium phosphate

Trisodium phosphate is one of the strongest cleaners which can remove grease and mildew using its alkalinzing properties. 

  • Clean water

You can’t clean anything without some clean water. You can use it to either mix with other solutions or rinse off the fireplace when you’re done. 

  • Powerful scrubbing brush

Soot can be hard to remove, especially if you’ve left it gathering for a long time. You’ll need a powerful scrubbing brush to remove heavy layers off of your fireplace. 

  • Two sponges

When the soot and debris aren’t too bad, all you’ll need is a basic sponge to rub the solution onto your bricks. 

  • Two buckets

You’re going to need somewhere to mix your cleaning solution, as well as another place to supply you with your water. Buckets do the perfect job. 

  • Rubber gloves

Protect your hands with a pair of strong and high-quality rubber gloves. 

  • Eye protection

Protect your eyes with a quality pair of goggles or glasses. 

  • Face mask

You don’t want to breathe in the fumes of the trisodium phosphate so protect your face with a respiratory mask. 

  • Long sleeved clothing

You could be exposed to burns if your skin comes into contact with the solution, so make sure you wear long-sleeved tops and pants.

Steps:

1. Create your solution

Using a bucket, mix together a gallon of warm water from your tap and one-half of a cup of trisodium phosphate. Use your second bucket by filling it up with cold water from the tap. 

2. Remove the soot

Take your powerful scrubbing brush and dip it in the cleaning solution you’ve made. Start to scrub the soot and use some physical power to remove it. 

3. Time to rinse

Use one of your sponges to wipe away any excess solution and dirt on your fireplace. Take your second sponge and dunk it in the cold water bucket before rinsing the rest of the bricks off. 

How to clean a painted fireplace

If you’ve previously painted your fireplace, it can make cleaning the area so much easier. You don’t want to use the methods above as it may take some of the paint off, so you will want to follow the following steps:

Supplies and tools:

  • Play doh

Play doh is great at removing dust and particles from flat surfaces. 

  • Dish soap 

Washing up liquid and dish soap isn’t only used to clean your plates and cutlery. Make sure you have a full bottle ready before you start cleaning your fireplace. 

  • Clean water

You can’t clean anything without some clean water. You can use it to either mix with other solutions or rinse off the fireplace when you’re done. 

  • White vinegar

Vinegar is a pantry staple that can actually help quite a lot when cleaning any surface in your house. The acidity cuts through any grime and soot, leaving a sparkling result. 

  • Powerful scrubbing brush

Soot can be hard to remove, especially if you’ve left it gathering for a long time. You’ll need a powerful scrubbing brush to remove heavy layers off of your fireplace. 

  • A sponge

When the soot and debris aren’t too bad, all you’ll need is a basic sponge to rub the solution onto your bricks. 

  • Two buckets

You’re going to need somewhere to mix your cleaning solution, as well as another place to supply you with your water. Buckets do the perfect job. 

Steps:

1. Remove the soot

Grab your play doh and rub it against the bricks to remove some of the soot. 

2. Mix your solution

Grab a bucket and mix a few drops of dish soap with a gallon of warm water from the tap.

3. Scrub away

Use your powerful scrub brush and the soap solution to scrub off any dirt and grime.

4. Mix another solution

Add three tablespoons of white vinegar to a gallon of water. 

5. Scrub again

Use your powerful scrub brush and the soap solution to scrub off any dirt and grime.

Final thoughts 

No matter what your brick fireplace looks like or how long it’s been since the last clean, you must ensure you use one of the above methods to take care of it. A fireplace is a lifelong investment; you can only keep it so long when you give it the proper cleaning and maintenance. 

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