1. You can simply clean your fireplace brick with your regular household materials. Since you will be using it inside, the area must be well-ventilated. How to Clean a Fireplace Firebox (Friday Five) - The DIY Bungalow. I believe in merging old and new to make a house a home. % of people told us that this article helped them. Step 4 Deane Biermeier is a contractor with 27 years experience in home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. How to Clean a Fireplace With Cream of Tartar This method works best when used on smaller, concentrated areas like the surround or on the hearth. A firebox is the inside area of a fireplace where the fire burns. It will break apart the black stuff and make it easy for you to remove completely. During the cold months when you do actually use your fireplace, the firebox should be cleaned out around once a week. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. For more severe looking fireplaces, you will want to wait 30 or more minutes. I spread paper down to catch the water. Using bathroom cleaner or oven cleaner isn’t an effective method for cleaning bricks 100% of the time, so you should only consider using them if you have no other way to clean your fireplace bricks. To learn how to use commercial cleaning products to clean fireplace bricks, read on! Repeat until the entire bottom layer is mortared together. Luckily, the process of cleaning these bricks is relatively easy, whether you’re using traditional cleaning products or ordinary household items! Join my DIY adventures here! It is made up of firebricks and mortar, which are designed to withstand high heat. What kind of paint to use when painting fireplace brick? You may want to work in small areas at a time to prevent the brick from drying out. There are several cleaning solutions that you can use to clean your fireplace. It comes in a convenient spray bottle and all you have to do is spray it on and wipe it off. Follow the same steps listed above and be sure that the room is well-ventilated because ammonia fumes can be powerful. You may also want to scrub the bricks with plain water to remove any remaining paint and to remove the chemicals from the brick. To reach the high ceiling, you will most likely need to use a high ladder. To clean fireplace bricks, start by mixing baking soda and dish soap and rubbing the paste into the bricks with a scrub brush. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles when using cleaning chemicals to clean your fireplace. How to paint your firebox in 3 easy steps. During the cold winter months your firebox, the area of your fireplace where the fire burns, takes a beating. Try this next method to tackle the most stubborn soot stains. Clear the mantle of any decorative items to prevent excessive dust from settling on them, as well. Join my DIY adventures here! For minor staining, let the cleaner sit on your brick or stone for about 10-15 minutes. Work from the bottom up when scrubbing the bricks, to avoid leaving streaks. Ammonia can be harmful on brickwork, so don’t use this method on especially old or fragile bricks. Step 2 – Wash the brick using your scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and/or a fireplace cleaning product. Dip the scrub brush in the TSP solution and apply some elbow grease to the stained areas. How do I remove paint from a brick fireplace? Use a wire brush to work the cleaner deep into the surface of the brick and mortar followed by an absorbent … The salt will act as a mild abrasive to loosen the soot from the brick. To clean the fireplace grate and/or andirons (rails used to support logs), remove the grate/andirons from the firebox, then dunk a scrub brush in the … Prepare the Scrub Brush. Once the large piles are removed, scrub the … Discard in the trash can. Fill the second bucket with one gallon of cool water and add one cup distilled white vinegar. Last Updated: August 22, 2019 References. This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. If you have a fireplace, you know how great it is to be able to light a fire in your home on a cold night. Start with a cold fireplace. To clean fireplace bricks, start by mixing baking soda and dish soap and rubbing the paste into the bricks with a scrub brush. Look for yourself! Then, let the paste sit for 5 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Diluted muriatic acid is sometimes suggested as a good way to clean fireplace bricks without having to scrub them. If the soot is not removed, repeat the steps. This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. If the dishwashing liquid and salt won't remove the soot, up your game by adding one-fourth to one-half cup of household ammonia to your cleaning solution. Return to your fireplace and, using a fireplace shovel, remove piles of ashes and debris. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Can the bricks on the inside of the chimney be painted? Step 1 – Lay down a drop cloth in front of your fireplace, put on some safety goggles and rubber gloves, and use a wire scrub brush and TSP (trisodium phosphate) to remove any dirt, dust, or soot from the brick. While ash could just be swept off of bricks, you'll need to make a bit more of a determined effort to get the soot stains off. Make a simple cleaning solution that's safe to use on older bricks by combining about 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 44 mL) of dish soap with ½ cup (5 ounces) of baking soda to make a cleaning paste. Rinse the bricks with warm water after they're clean and dry them off with a clean cloth. Use a metal polish for extra shine. Fill the spray bottle with plain water and spritz the stained areas. This gives the cleaner time to work. Traditionally, fireplaces were built using brick, mortar or concrete. If the brick has broken into more than one piece, apply a layer of cement along one edge of the break and push the pieces firmly back together. To remove soot from brick that is not in good condition, mix a 50/50 solution of laundry bleach and water, pour into a spray bottle, spritz the bricks, then scrub with a soft-bristled brush. When soot accumulates, it leaves the odor of smoke and unsightly black stains on bricks, ceramic tiles and grout, carpets, drapes and upholstery, and painted surfaces. Mary has been writing professionally for more than 20 years and is a leading expert on fabric care and housekeeping. Dip the scrub brush into the dishwashing liquid solution and then sprinkle the brush liberally with table salt. Ammonia can work well as a cleaner, but may be harsher on brick fireplaces. Put on protective gloves and apply the TSP solution to the surface of your fireplace box, using a very firm scrub brush. TSP can be purchased at most home improvement stores and some grocery stores. If the fireplace is to be used for family entertainment such as popcorn popping, or marshmallow toasting, etc., it would be wise to have brick or stone fireplace front surface sealed so as to resist absorption of grease or oils, and smoky soot. Only try using TSP if dish soap and water doesn’t work. You will … The black ash on your fireplace bricks is actually soot, which is essentially deposits of smoky dirt that have been baked into the brick by the heat. Unless you have a lot of cream of tartar on hand, this method is best used for spot cleaning relatively small areas of soot. Apply paint stripper using a trowel to the paint stains and leave it for several hours and scrape away as much as possible. Combine 1⁄2 cup (120 mL) of dish detergent with 4 cups (950 mL) of water in a spray bottle and shake it up well to mix it. Full protective gear like rubber gloves, eye protection, a respiratory mask, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants are required. These may be less harsh on your fireplace. Now, use some elbow grease and scrub the sooty areas. If the mortar joints in a firebox are crumbling, chisel out the old mortar and replace it with new mortar. Dip a scrub brush into the paste and clean the bricks using small, circular motions. The firebox in a fireplace is the portion of the system where the fire is actually built. How do I clean the metal screen on my fireplace? Here are some options for removing stubborn stains on brick: Mix two tablespoons of borax with four cups of water and one tablespoon of dish soap Mix ½ cup of ammonia with four cups of water and ¼ cup dish soap Mix ⅛ cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) with one gallon of hot water Tzogia Kappatou/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus. This article has been viewed 149,443 times. You can acquire bathroom cleaning spray and oven cleaner at any grocery store that sells home cleaning supplies. If the bricks are still stained, repeat the steps with fresh cleaning solutions or move to one of the more aggressive cleaning methods. Remove the andirons and grate and take them outdoors to be … This area, on brick and mortar chimneys, is typically constructed with firebrick and refractory cement. Spray Scrubbing Bubbles directly onto the bricks of the fireplace, coating the bricks with a thick film of bubbles. If you do not feel safe cleaning on the ladder, you may want to call a professional. After you spray the bricks, scrub them with a scrub brush and rinse them off with warm water. I'm a 'recovering lawyer' - turning my power suits in for power tools! How do you clean soot off fireplace bricks? With smoke, soot, and ashes building up after every fire, the firebox looks like an ugly, dirty mess. Basic Steps To Clean Fireplace Bricks In Any Method 1. Michelle Driscoll is the Owner of Mulberry Maids based in northern Colorado. Use cautionary measure while working on the ladder. Apply fire cement to the area that is being repaired, using the trowel. TSP is highly toxic and must be used with care. 2. Build the bottom layer of brick by laying each brick in place and then tapping it gently with a rubber mallet. Rinse with water. www.housecleaningcentral.com/.../living-area/how-to-clean-brick.html However, you also know how dirty the bricks in your fireplace get from all the smoke and soot. The sooner you clean away soot discoloration on fireplace bricks, the easier the job will be. If your fireplace is one that you use, make sure first and foremost that it is completely cool. Remove the andirons, grate, and all of the ashes and debris in the firebox. Vacuum the hearth and fireplace surround to remove as much soot and dust as possible. These formulas are intended for cleaning the firebox, fireplace face bricks and the hearth. However, the acidity of the vinegar, which makes it a great abrasive for cleaning, is harmful to bricks that are more than 20 years old. You can also clean fireplace bricks by spraying them with equal parts water and white vinegar. Michelle Driscoll is the Owner of Mulberry Maids based in northern Colorado. Since the firebox is attached to, and part of, the chimney, the way I cleaned my brick fireplace was to use a strong solution of TSP and a scrub brush. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles when working with ammonia. Because they get so dirty, fireplace bricks should be cleaned at least once a year. Refractory cement is a type cement made with aggregates that will not expand when heated allowing to be fireproof. Browse your local hardware store for cleaners made for fireplaces. More recently, fireplaces have been made out of metal and come prefabricated and ready to install. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. For any leftover residue, you can apply a hydrochloric acid solution with a wire brush to clean the brick. Yes, bricks can be painted, even ones around and inside the chimney. The salt will act as a mild abrasive to loosen the soot from the brick. The fire bricks have a greasy black coating due to burning wood. Finish by dipping the clean second sponge in the plain water for a final rinse. Oven cleaner can be applied to a fireplace. After disposing of the ashes safely, use a shop vacuum to gather up any small particles. Once the soot is removed, you may discover some rust stains left from metal fireplace accessories. This article has been viewed 149,443 times. Initially I thought I would paint the hearth brick white to match the walls, but when I finsished painting the walls and the brick around the firebox, I realized the brick should remain unpainted. Removing these stains requires the use of oxalic acid. Rinse the brick with a large sponge and plain water. Let the cleaning solution sit for three minutes. It yielded the best results when compared to the other two methods, but unless you have access to large, bulk quantities of cream of tartar, you might stick with baking soda or vinegar for the interior of your fireplace. Grab a waterproof drop cloth to protect carpets and floors from spills and stains. This is the mildest cleaning method and should be tried first before moving on to more harsh chemicals. Avoid getting the solution on your skin, your clothes, or the carpet. Spread a thin layer of hydraulic refractory mortar on the bottoms and any sides of the firebricks that will touch other bricks. Clean any soot, grease or dust from the fire brick that is to be repaired – allow brick to dry before beginning the repair. Fill the second bucket with plain cool water. Soot is fine, black particulates that occur when any organic and carbon-filled materials are not burned completely. Mix one gallon of hot water and eight tablespoons (one-half cup) of TSP in a bucket. The more often you use a fireplace, the more often you'll need to schedule a time to clean. TSP can also damage ceramic tile, metal, fabrics, carpets, and painted and finished surfaces. You may want to apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the bricks after you’re done, to cancel out the acidity of the vinegar you just sprayed on them. Because the acidity of vinegar makes it a tad abrasive, you may not want to use this method on bricks that are more than 20 years old. Do not scour it, as that could cause old brick to crumble. If your fireplace is old and crumbling, cleaning fireplace brick may cause damage. White Brick Walls Stucco Walls Exposed Brick Walls Fireplace Wall Fireplace Mantels Mantle Cleaning Brick Fireplaces How To Clean Stone Cleaning Stone. Soot is easily removed from fireplace bricks using a simple cleaning solution. Dish detergent is the easiest and quickest cleaning method for fireplace bricks, so it should be the first method you should try if the bricks don’t look too bad. When I use it on my brick fireplace, I let it sit a few minutes before wiping it off. You can use up to one cup of TSP per gallon of hot water if needed. After you spray the bricks, scrub them with a scrub brush and rinse them off with warm water. Sep 23, 2017 - I'm a 'recovering lawyer' - turning my power suits in for power tools! To learn how to use commercial cleaning products to clean fireplace bricks, read on! Spray the solution onto the bricks and use a scrub brush to clean off the soot. Instead of table salt, purchase fine-ground powdered pumice to sprinkle on your scrubbing brush. How do I clean the brick on a fireplace that runs to the ceiling? How to Clean fireplace soot, creosote and pitch using Quick n Brite All Purpose Cleaner. Rinse well. When you see the black streaks and stains, it's time to clean your fireplace bricks. There’s no bad smell or harsh chemicals in this cleaner. How to clean a fireplace firebox in five steps: (1) Clean out the big stuff. Do not allow the solution to come in contact with your skin. Rinse with water and wipe dry. Since TSP is toxic to the environment and will damage plants, contact your local municipality for information on proper disposal. For the plaster stains, you can first scrape away as much of the plaster as possible. Trisodium phosphate is a powerful cleaner and will remove the toughest soot stains on fireplace brick. The fireplace interior where the fire occurs is called the firebox. If you have a brick fireplace front or facing that’s more than 50 years old, vacuum the area to pick up soot and dust. 2. Use one sponge to wipe away the cleaning solution and loosened soot. Avoid using ammonia or an acidic cleaner such as vinegar on old bricks because it can cause them to break down. Make sure any ash or pieces of wood in the fireplace are cool. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Scrub the brick with a soft-bristle scrub brush and detergent solution. If a brick in a masonry fireplace cracks, you need to patch it. Scrub them with a nylon brush to remove soot. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves when cleaning fireplace brick and follow all other safety precautions indicated on the label of the cleaner. If the brick is crumbling, have it replaced with a new firebrick embedded in refractory mortar. Step 4 Scrub the cleanser into the bricks with an old toothbrush, which will provide an easy way to get into brick crevices and also clean between bricks. Dip the second sponge in the water and vinegar solution and wipe down the cleaned area. 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