There are few things more relaxing than sitting in front of a crackling fire burning in your fireplace on cold winter days. However, as the fire burns, soot can accumulate in increasing quantities on the fireplace brick. This soot can make the entire brick facade look dirty and unsightly.
In addition, it is a source of unpleasant fireplace odors and can be unhealthy. Soot and creosote buildup can also lead to house fires, so the grime should be cleaned regularly. Knowing how to clean a brick fireplace will help you make light work of this messy task.
How Often Should You Clean a Brick Fireplace?
There is no ideal cleaning schedule to follow for a brick fireplace. The frequency of your cleaning sessions is directly affected by how heavily your fireplace is used.
Soot builds up because of the burning fire. If you do not use your fireplace all summer, you won’t need to clean it during that period of time. However, it is much easier to remove fresh soot than baked-on soot. With this in mind, it makes to clean the soot every few days to a week when you are using it regularly.
What is Soot, and How Do You Remove Soot From Fireplace Bricks?
Bricks are porous, and their tiny holes serve as great storage spots for black soot. Soot is an amorphous carbon material that is a product of the burning process. Because soot is a fine material, it can easily work into the bricks’ pores, and it is difficult to simply wipe away with a cloth. Instead, special cleaning instructions should be followed to remove the soot without damaging the bricks.
What is the Best Method to Clean Fireplace Brick?
A cozy fire leaves behind soot and ashes. These substances can create permanent damage if they remain too long, so knowing how to clean a brick fireplace is essential.
You do not necessarily need to purchase special cleaning products to clean soot from your brick fireplace because you may have a few effective products in your pantry.
Before using any product, spend a few minutes removing as much of the debris from the bricks’ surface as possible. Use a dry, hard bristle brush to loosen the soot. Then, vacuum the brick with a handheld attachment. These steps should be taken before the brick gets wet.
Homemade Fireplace Brick Cleaning Solutions
Here are some of our go-to DIY cleaning methods for your brick fireplace:
Dishwashing Liquid Soap and Baking Soda
In a bowl, combine a half-cup of baking soda with three tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Allow this mixture to sit over the soot-stained area for 10 minutes. Then scrub it thoroughly, and rinse it with clean water.
If a large portion of your brick fireplace is covered by soot, using vinegar and water is a smart option. Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Cover the brick with the vinegar and water solution until it is wet. Then, use a scrub brush and your own labor to scrub away the soot. After scrubbing, rinse the fireplace bricks with clean water and allow the surface to air dry.
Cream Of Tartar
If you only need to clean a small area of soot from a brick fireplace, cream of tartar is a great option. Add two tablespoons of cream of tartar with a small amount of water to form a thick paste. After the paste sits on the surface for 10 minutes, rinse it off when clean water.
Other Fireplace Brick Cleaners
If you are dealing with older soot stains or if the methods already described have not delivered the results you expect, you can try a few other chemical products to remove the soot.
Borax can safely and effectively remove soot from bricks. Add two tablespoons of borax, one tablespoon of dish soap and four cups of water in a large bowl. Coat a firm brush or sponge with the mixture, and scrub the bricks until they are clean. Then, rinse with clean water.
As an alternative, add two cups of hot water, two cups of ammonia and a few tablespoons of liquid dish soap in a bowl. Scrub the soot-stained surface using a brush and this mixture. Then, rinse with clean water.
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
TSP is an effective cleaning product that you can find at home improvement stores. Because it is toxic, you should always wear safety goggles and heavy-duty rubber gloves when working with it. Apply water to the TSP powder until a thick paste is formed. Dip your scrub brush in the paste, and scrub the bricks until they are clean. Clean the area with warm water to complete the project.
Commercial Fireplace Cleaners
There are several commercial cleaning products available that remove soot from brick. These are a few of the more effective products.
This product is available in spray and powder formats. When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can expect the soot to disappear with ample scrubbing.
This is another excellent commercial cleaning product with many positive reviews. It can be used on brick and natural stone fireplaces. However, you should test a small area before applying it liberally.
Chimney RX is an effective product that is available in large tubs for big projects. Apply the product to a small, discreet area before using across the full fireplace.
Can you steam clean brick fireplace?
You can steam clean a brick fireplace to remove the soot. As the bricks get wet, the sooty moisture will drip down and is easy to wipe away. However, you may still need to use one of the above-mentioned options with a scrub brush to handle tough stains.
Can you use muriatic acid to clean fireplace brick?
Muriatic acid is an effective but harsh cleaning agent. While it can be used to clean fireplace bricks and mortar, its corrosive properties can damage them. Because of this, muriatic acid should be used with care and only after all other methods have failed.
How to clean brick fireplace exterior?
The exterior of a brick fireplace may be covered in soot as well as various debris. Vinegar, baking soda and cream of tartar mixtures are all effective at cleaning both indoor and outdoor brick.
House cleaning is a never-ending task, but you don’t have to tackle the chores on your own. Our cleaning team at Cleanzen is available to head your way soon and can give you a cleaner home without the hassle.