How To Clean Brick Fireplace

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A clean brick fireplace is inviting and makes your home feel cozy. But it's not easy to maintain, especially if you have a dryer or wood-burning stove that leaves ashes behind.

In this article, we'll show you how to clean a brick fireplace so that it can be used safely and confidently – let's dive deep into this topic. 

How To Clean A Brick Fireplace | Fireplace Cleaning
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Use a dry brush to remove any loose dirt from the brick fireplace.

You should follow these steps to clean a brick fireplace:

  • Knock out the loose soot and dirt by chipping it off with a hammer and block of wood, or use a soft scrub brush. After this step, you should vacuum the area for any more dust that may be left behind
  • Dampen a sponge in plain water. Add just enough soap to form suds, then wipe clean with a sponge
  • Rinse the area well by using clear water to clean all soap residue from bricks
  • Apply interior glass cleaner across every surface inside your fireplace (for easy application, put into a duster spray bottle); This will remove any streaks caused by moisture as well as any discoloration caused by the heating process.
  • After a 30-minute drying time, vacuum your fireplace one last time to get rid of any leftover dust
  • Apply a microfiber towel and polish every surface inside it. Don't forget about bricks. Polish until clean
  • Use metal cleaner or vinegar to remove rust from the steel fire screen, damper, log grate, and blacksmith's toolset that may be attached to your fireplace hearth; you can also use them for an older painted brick fireplace
  • If your wood or coal-burning fireplace is next to a wall, seal the joints between the wall and hearth with a mortar mix to prevent drafts and heat loss. This will help to better insulate your fireplace.
  • Use a wet and dry vacuum to deep clean the area behind, around, and beneath your brick fireplace
  • Top off this easy wall cleaning job by using spray primer or tinted grout paste on the wall joints of your clean chimney. This will prevent discoloration from smoke. 
  • Put everything back in place, making certain that any dustpan is closed tightly after every sweep or wipe; Do not leave any ducts or vents unattended because a fierce draft can cause soot buildup in the hearth.

For those installing new brick fireplaces (or stone ones), you can easily install a small closet or storage space in the rear of the fireplace by building a masonry wall. If you're ready to install something contemporary, you might look into an interior brick fire surround.

dry brush to clean fire brick place
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Cleaning and sealing brick fireplace grates

Grates are what's going on under your logs and coals when they burn. While you need your grate to be sturdy enough for proper heating, it also needs to be sealed so that no dust gets onto your floor through gaps in the joints or cracks; this means that if there is rust around bolts, those must go as well. If you have a metal-burning stove with a wood-burning insert, then your rig has two separate grates – one for each fuel type.

Cleaning and sealing a stone fireplace hearth

The hearth is the lower shelf of the fireplace that your fuel sits on. The key to cleaning a stone hearth is to start early in its lifetime. By applying an anti-soot sealer when you first install it, you can prevent discoloration from ever happening. You'll still have to clean your stone hearth, but it'll be easy.

Once again you should start by knocking out loose dirt from the surface of the stone fireplace. You can use a metal wire brush or some sandpaper for this job; after you've done your best to knock off all loose dirt and debris, dampen a soft-scrub brush with soapy water and rock that grime away (or use a chisel and hammer). For any stubborn spots, try using an oven cleaner made specifically for cleaning brick.

Don't forget to vacuum thoroughly afterward. Wipe down the entire area with vinegar or lemon juice; both will do wonders for removing hard water stains. After applying acetone or denatured alcohol to a microfiber cloth, wipe down the surface with it. Do not use steel wool for this job because tiny flakes of rust will be created and you don't want that in your firebox. Finish off by applying denatured alcohol to a hard bristled brush and scrubbing it into each crevice. When you're done (and after the denatured alcohol has dried) remove all loose hair, dust, or debris using a vacuum.

Is a marble kitchen countertop easy to clean?

Speaking of marble, there are many people that use this material for kitchen countertops as well. In that case, they often wonder how difficult it is to clean. The truth is that a marble kitchen countertop can be beautiful – but it is prone to stains and scratches. 

Wipe up spills immediately, and do not expose your marble countertop to heat; this will shorten its lifespan considerably. If you don't have any other choice than to eat on your marble surface, use something like an old towel between the flame/heat source and your countertop. The best way to protect a beautiful stone surface like marble or granite is to use a cutting board over it – that way all those soggy or messy foods can be disposed of easily and nothing endangers the look of your stone countertop. For the rest, just ensure that it doesn’t get scratched.

How to clean grout in the brick fireplace?

Let’s go back to the fireplace. Clean tiles should always be free of grime, cracks, or other problems. One problem that a lot of people have in front of their brick fireplaces is the amount of dirt and debris that accumulates between the tiles.

How to clean smoke stains from the brick fireplace

Do you have smoke-stained bricks where you had your fireplace before? Well, it could be very easy for you to clean them.

Just take some water mixed with vinegar and put some baking soda on it. Then mix all these things in a spray bottle and just start applying them into the bricks. After only a few minutes, wipe down the brick with cold water using a sponge or wet cloth until they are completely dry again – and there will be no more smoke stains anymore.

How to clean a lime stain from a brick fireplace

If you have lime stains on your fireplace bricks, then this is a sign that there was some water in contact with the bricks for a long time and caused corrosion. This happened because of an improper sealing job. You can remove these stains by scrubbing them with cream of tartar mixed with water using a toothbrush or any other small brush. The mixture will react with the lime and cause it to become powdery – just wipe off the residue and your problem should be gone.

 Surefire Ways To Clean A Brick Fireplace
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How to clean a brick fireplace with a chimney

The chimney comes with a lot of dirt and debris inside it; so you have to clean the inside of your fireplace at least once a year. You can do it by yourself without any help, but just keep in mind that the process is not an easy one – you should be very careful because brick fireplaces can get very hot.

To start, remove all decorative elements from the area above your fireplace like mantels, shelves, etc. Now cover all surfaces around it with drop cloths or old sheets so that no mess gets on them. Brush away as much loose ash as possible using an extension pole with a stiff brush on the end – this will reduce the amount of cleaning later on. The last step would be removing ashes and embers, so most likely you will have to clean them too.

Is it okay to use a damp sponge on brick fireplaces?

If you're cleaning your fireplace with a damp sponge or cloth, then you should know that this can lead to some serious problems. Bricks are porous and absorb water quite easily – so using a moist cloth on them will cause them to expand and they will lose their original structural integrity in the long run.

How often do you clean brick fireplaces?

Depending on how much use your brick fireplaces get, it is recommended for you to clean them more than once every year. You might think that this is too often, but you have to realize that bricks take up moisture from the air, and if they're not cleaned enough – then there's nothing that keeps out harmful pollutants from building up inside their pores. It is very important to remove all the dirt, dust, and debris from the interior of your brick fireplace before you start cleaning it.

Final thoughts on how to clean brick fireplace

In conclusion, you can see that there are many ways to clean a brick fireplace without tearing apart the entire thing. Sometimes, a simple routine and the right kind of maintenance will do. Other times, you may need to engage professionals and use fire-resistant tools. 

By keeping in mind the importance of maintaining and caring for your fireplace, you will have an easier time finding the best way to clean a brick fireplace, which means you’ll get to enjoy your fireplace for a longer period of time. 

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin is a household and appliance enthusiast and loves to follow the latest trends in kitchen and house decoration. He also loves to walk the isles of Home Depot and Lowes to review products and materials in person. Before joining Kitchen Infinity, Kevin owned a handyman company.

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