How to Clean a Brick Fireplace

Below we share tips on how to clean a brick fireplace using everyday household items.

Contemporary living room with brick fireplace

Bricks are expected to last a lifetime, but they still need care.  Restoring and cleaning your brick fireplace at least once a year can give your home a breath of new life.

Bricks are made of hardened clay, and are porous compound.  Some homeowners will hire professional cleaners who are experts in the types of products and techniques needed to clean brick fireplaces; but can be very expensive. So before you do that, let us give you some simple tips which will help you gain knowledge on how to clean your brick fireplace in a DIY friendly way.

Restoring and Cleaning your Brick Fireplace

Remember that you should always be careful when cleaning your brick fireplace especially with high-pressure hoses and acidic products in order to avoid weakening or staining the bricks.

Before you begin doing any actual scrubbing, you need to protect your floors from spills and possible stains by laying a waterproof cloth around the brick fireplace.

Clear out ashes, grate and debris inside the fireplace.  Follow up with a vacuum with a soft brush and making sure that you take out as much ashes, dust, soot and debris.  Dispose safely.

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Cleaning Brick Fireplace using Ordinary Household Items

Living room with brick fireplace and wall alcove with storage

Everything you need in getting your brick fireplace in shape can be found as normal household items using  simple cleaning solutions.

Vinegar, Salt, Baking Soda and Soap.

If your brick fireplace is not dated or more than 20 years old, using distilled white vinegar and water can be one of the best way to clean oily soot off your brick fireplace.  You may want to avoid this cleaning solution if your brick fireplace is more than 20 years old, since the acidity of vinegar will cause abrasion to the bricks and may cause more damage than cure.

Should you use the vinegar solution, mix one gallon of cool water and one cup of distilled white vinegar.  Fill a spray bottle with the solution and leave it for 5 minutes and spray a second application.  While the bricks are still wet, scrub the bricks with brush moving in a small circular motion.  Do this by working from bottom up to avoid streaking.

In order to neutralize the acidity of the vinegar solution on the bricks, follow up with baking soda mix with water.  You can also try to use a cleaning paste by combining 2 to 3 tablespoon of dishwashing soap with 5 ounces of baking soda.  Use a brush and dip it into the paste.  Using small circular motions working from the bottom up, scrub the surface of the bricks.  Leave the paste to sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing off the bricks with warm water.

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For those small areas where soot is concentrated and rather stubborn, use cream of tartar in lieu of the baking soda.  Make a thin paste by combining 2 tablespoon of cream of tartar with a small amount of water.  Apply the paste by using a small brush or toothbrush to the sooty area and leave it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Rinse off the paste with warm water.  Repeat these steps until all is cleaned off.

Video on How to Clean Fireplace Brick

for more related ideas visit our page on how to whitewash a brick fireplace here.

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