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How Do You Clean Brick On A Fireplace?

One of the things that first drew you to your home was the fantasy of you and your family sitting down next to a crackling blaze inside that wonderful brick fireplace.

One of the things that first drew you to your home was the fantasy of you and your family sitting down next to a crackling blaze inside those wonderful brick fireplaces. And while you have spent many great evenings and weekends sitting comfortably around a roaring fire…the reality is that where there is a fire, there are smoky stains, black soot and piles of old ashes on your brick fireplaces.

Tips on Cleaning Brick Fireplaces with Wood Fireboxes:
In many cases, you can clean fireplaces with some simple household items. First, gather together your “toolbox”. Most of these items can be gotten affordably at most hardware or home maintenance stores. 

You will need:

•    A couple of plastic buckets and a good stiff scrub brush
•    A vacuum cleaner with disposable bags
•    A rubber gloves
•    A set of goggles or safety glasses for protecting your eyes
•    A disposable drop cloth
•    A container of TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) or a commercial scrubbing powder
•    A “green” substitute for TSP is white household vinegar
•    A small bottle of chlorine bleach (optional - for mold and mildew removal)
•    A heavy duty broom, shovel and metal bucket for handling wood ashes
•    Paper towels, sponges and cloth cleaning rags
•    A soot removal sponge

First, you need to remove any piles of ashes from inside the firebox or ash pit, if you fireplace has one. Be careful how you trash your ash…always store ashes inside a metal container until you can dispose of them properly. Remember ashes can keep embers hot and combustible for as long as four days!

You can use a wet-and-dry vacuum to clean up any leftover dust or small bits too small to sweep from the pit and firebox. Next you start the cleaning up process. If you have glass fire screens you can use a half-and-half mixture of the white vinegar and water to make a streak-free cleaner.

Now for the smoke - take a bucket of clean water and a sponge and wet down section of facing you will be working with. Work your way from top to bottom. This water saturation is to keep any cleaners and solvents from soaking into the pores of the mortar and brick. 

Next mix up a mild solution of TSP or use your scouring powder and scrub brush to go over the face of each brick of the fireplace. You should do only one section at time and rinse as you go along. Be careful of the mortar joints or else you run the risk damaging the masonry or mantels for brick fireplaces and resurfacing fireplaces can be very expensive.

Once you have finished working the mantel, hearth and external walls, you can move into working on the firebox. Here you will find more soot and ash debris. Since it is a carbonized residue, it will literally turn into a quick staining ink if you wet it.

First, you must clean up the soot as much as possible using your broom, shovel and soot removal sponge. Don’t wet this sponge! Just use it on drag down the soot from the top of the firebox to the bottom.

Remove the debris with the broomComputer Technology Articles, shovel or shop vacuum. Polish any metalwork and you are done cleaning your brick fireplaces.

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My dad was a shipping magnet and because of that, me and my family had to travel with him constantly.I gained a lot of knowledge through that. With my dad's influence I went into importing and exporting and this kept me on the road. I am settled now in one place and find it most fulfilling in writing articles. View more articles by Marc Willis at

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