How to Clean a Brick Fireplace?

No matter how well you take care of your brick fireplace, it’s likely that it will accumulate soot and grime over time. That’s why it’s important to clean your fireplace at least once a year, or whenever you notice that it’s looking dirty. 

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The first thing you’ll need to do is get rid of all the ash and soot that has collected on the bricks inside and outside your fireplace. You’ll want to do this before you start using any of the following methods to ensure that the cleaning solution you use won’t be absorbed by the bricks themselves. 

Remove the grate from the fireplace and sweep away any loose ashes that are in the grate or on the bricks themselves. This will make it easier to clean the bricks later, and it will also protect your carpets from any ash or soot that you’re removing with your vacuum cleaner. 

Vacuum up as much dirt and ash as you can with a vacuum cleaner attachment and a broom, and try to collect all the ashes in an ash bucket or other suitable container. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to clean the bricks themselves. 

Mix a solution of dish soap and water to create a paste. Apply this to the bricks and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse the bricks with a sponge or soft brush and then wipe them dry. 

Another popular method of spot-cleaning a brick fireplace involves cream of tartar and baking soda. Spread a thin layer of this on the bricks and let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then scrub away any stains. 

If this doesn’t work, you can try spraying some vinegar on the stains and then scrubbing with a masonry sponge. Be sure to rinse the solution off completely before you do this again, as the acidity can damage your bricks if they absorb it for too long. 

You can also spray a little bit of non-sudsy trisodium phosphate (TSP) on the bricks and then rub them with a scrubbing sponge to remove the soot and grime. You may need to do this several times, and you should wear rubber gloves and goggles when doing this to prevent your skin from becoming too irritated by the chemicals. 

Ammonia can be a good choice for cleaning a brick fireplace wall if you have stubborn stains that won’t come off with any of the other methods. You’ll need to prepare a mixture of about 1/2 cup ammonia with four cups of water and a 1/4 cup of dish soap. Dip a scrubbing brush in the mixture and scrub the wall until the tough stains are gone. 

If your fireplace bricks are particularly dirty and stained, you can even try using a solution of muriatic acid. This is an extremely harsh chemical that can be dangerous if used improperly, so it’s best to clean your fireplace with this solution only as a last resort. You’ll need to wear rubber gloves and a full set of protective gear when doing this, and you’ll also need to seal the bricks afterward to prevent any future discoloration.