how to clean fireplace brick firebox

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This area, on brick and mortar chimneys, is typically constructed with firebrick and refractory cement. Use a metal polish for extra shine. By using our site, you agree to our, {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/7\/72\/Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-1-Version-4.jpg\/v4-460px-Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-1-Version-4.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/7\/72\/Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-1-Version-4.jpg\/aid1391584-v4-728px-Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-1-Version-4.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, Cleaning Your Fireplace with Ordinary Household Items, {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/1\/10\/Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-6-Version-4.jpg\/v4-460px-Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-6-Version-4.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/1\/10\/Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-6-Version-4.jpg\/aid1391584-v4-728px-Clean-Fireplace-Bricks-Step-6-Version-4.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. These may be less harsh on your fireplace. The salt will act as a mild abrasive to loosen the soot from the brick. Start with a cold fireplace. With smoke, soot, and ashes building up after every fire, the firebox looks like an ugly, dirty mess. Once the soot is removed, you may discover some rust stains left from metal fireplace accessories. How do I clean the metal screen on my fireplace? Removing these stains requires the use of oxalic acid. Ammonia can be harmful on brickwork, so don’t use this method on especially old or fragile bricks. 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. After disposing of the ashes safely, use a shop vacuum to gather up any small particles. Sep 23, 2017 - I'm a 'recovering lawyer' - turning my power suits in for power tools! Rinse well. 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. You can use up to one cup of TSP per gallon of hot water if needed. Deane Biermeier is a contractor with 27 years experience in home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. Return to your fireplace and, using a fireplace shovel, remove piles of ashes and debris. Refractory cement is a type cement made with aggregates that will not expand when heated allowing to be fireproof. There are several cleaning solutions that you can use to clean your fireplace. In a masonry fireplace, it is not separate from the rest of the system. To reach the high ceiling, you will most likely need to use a high ladder. Make sure any ash or pieces of wood in the fireplace are cool. You don’t have to buy expensive items to clean your fireplace bricks or need to find unique materials to clean it. These formulas are intended for cleaning the firebox, fireplace face bricks and the hearth. While a fireplace is a source of beauty and warmth in the cold weather, the heat generated from a fire will take its toll on the fireplace over time. 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. You can acquire bathroom cleaning spray and oven cleaner at any grocery store that sells home cleaning supplies. Prepare the Scrub Brush. This article has been viewed 149,443 times. But no matter how carefully you maintain the fire, eventually some soot will escape the firebox and scatter onto the bricks of the surrounding facade and hearth. Before using any chemical solutions to clean all of your fireplace bricks, try them out first on a small spot in your fireplace that isn’t well visible. This gives the cleaner time to work. Dip a scrub brush into the paste and clean the bricks using small, circular motions. During the cold months when you do actually use your fireplace, the firebox should be cleaned out around once a week. Discard in the trash can. Spray Scrubbing Bubbles directly onto the bricks of the fireplace, coating the bricks with a thick film of bubbles. Remove the andirons, grate, and all of the ashes and debris in the firebox. Driscoll received her Masters in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2016. Michelle Driscoll is the Owner of Mulberry Maids based in northern Colorado. You can also clean fireplace bricks by spraying them with equal parts water and white vinegar. Only try using TSP if dish soap and water doesn’t work. To avoid streaking, work from the bottom of the fireplace up when scrubbing the bricks. Soot is fine, black particulates that occur when any organic and carbon-filled materials are not burned completely. Then, let the paste sit for 5 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Rinse the bricks with warm water after they're clean and dry them off with a clean cloth. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. The fire bricks have a greasy black coating due to burning wood. 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. 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. The more often you use a fireplace, the more often you'll need to schedule a time to clean. Yes, bricks can be painted, even ones around and inside the chimney. 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. How do I remove paint and plaster stains from the fireplace brick? How to Clean fireplace soot, creosote and pitch using Quick n Brite All Purpose Cleaner. Dip the scrub brush in the TSP solution and apply some elbow grease to the stained areas. You may want to work in small areas at a time to prevent the brick from drying out. Grab a waterproof drop cloth to protect carpets and floors from spills and stains. Is there a liquid I can use after cleaning the bricks to give them a brighter color? Mary has been writing professionally for more than 20 years and is a leading expert on fabric care and housekeeping. For the plaster stains, you can first scrape away as much of the plaster as possible. Browse your local hardware store for cleaners made for fireplaces. Avoid getting the solution on your skin, your clothes, or the carpet. Scrub the brick with a soft-bristle scrub brush and detergent solution. If your fireplace is old and crumbling, cleaning fireplace brick may cause damage. Trisodium phosphate is a powerful cleaner and will remove the toughest soot stains on fireplace brick. Because they get so dirty, fireplace bricks should be cleaned at least once a year. Dip the scrub brush into the dishwashing liquid solution and then sprinkle the brush liberally with table salt. Diluted muriatic acid is sometimes suggested as a good way to clean fireplace bricks without having to scrub them. 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 Since you will be using it inside, the area must be well-ventilated. To learn how to use commercial cleaning products to clean fireplace bricks, read on! Dip the scrub brush into the dishwashing liquid solution and then sprinkle the brush liberally with table salt. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Now, use some elbow grease and scrub the sooty areas. The salt will act as a mild abrasive to loosen the soot from the brick. Instead of table salt, purchase fine-ground powdered pumice to sprinkle on your scrubbing brush. If the mortar joints in a firebox are crumbling, chisel out the old mortar and replace it with new mortar. Rinse with water and wipe dry. Do not scour it, as that could cause old brick to crumble. You will need to scrub the brick with a scrub brush and a dish soap solution. Unless you have a lot of cream of tartar on hand, this method is best used for spot cleaning relatively small areas of soot. Fire brick is a special type of brick made to have high heat resistance. Join my DIY adventures here! This is the mildest cleaning method and should be tried first before moving on to more harsh chemicals. To clean fireplace bricks, start by mixing baking soda and dish soap and rubbing the paste into the bricks with a scrub brush. Can the bricks on the inside of the chimney be painted? I'm a 'recovering lawyer' - turning my power suits in for power tools! Fill the second bucket with one gallon of cool water and add one cup distilled white vinegar. How to Clean Fireplace Bricks With Detergent and Salt, How to Clean Fireplace Bricks With Dishwashing Liquid, Ammonia, and Pumice, How to Clean Fireplace Bricks with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), Dispose of the Cleaning Solution Responsibly, The Best Way to Clean Indoor and Exterior Concrete Floors, How to Remove Hair Dye Stains from Clothes, Carpet, or Upholstery, Removing Soot and Smoke Odors From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery, How to Remove Salt Stains From Shoes, Clothes, and Carpet. Start cleaning higher up on the brick wall as possible and work your way down. Join my DIY adventures here! Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 149,443 times. Dishwashing detergent is relatively harmless, so this is also the best method to use on older bricks. Vacuum the hearth and fireplace surround to remove as much soot and dust as possible. I believe in merging old and new to make a house a home. Try this next method to tackle the most stubborn soot stains. www.housecleaningcentral.com/.../living-area/how-to-clean-brick.html Apply paint stripper using a trowel to the paint stains and leave it for several hours and scrape away as much as possible. If the brick is crumbling, have it replaced with a new firebrick embedded in refractory mortar. To learn how to use commercial cleaning products to clean fireplace bricks, read on! The sooner you clean away soot discoloration on fireplace bricks, the easier the job will be. This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. Clear the mantle of any decorative items to prevent excessive dust from settling on them, as well. 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. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Soot is easily removed from fireplace bricks using a simple cleaning solution. % of people told us that this article helped them. This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. Dip the second sponge in the water and vinegar solution and wipe down the cleaned area. If the bricks are still stained, repeat the steps with fresh cleaning solutions or move to one of the more aggressive cleaning methods. 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. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves when cleaning fireplace brick and follow all other safety precautions indicated on the label of the cleaner. Finish by dipping the clean second sponge in the plain water for a final rinse. However, you also know how dirty the bricks in your fireplace get from all the smoke and soot. Put on protective gloves and apply the TSP solution to the surface of your fireplace box, using a very firm scrub brush. Remove the andirons and grate and take them outdoors to be … Tzogia Kappatou/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus. Luckily, the process of cleaning these bricks is relatively easy, whether you’re using traditional cleaning products or ordinary household items! How do I clean the brick on a fireplace that runs to the ceiling? White Brick Walls Stucco Walls Exposed Brick Walls Fireplace Wall Fireplace Mantels Mantle Cleaning Brick Fireplaces How To Clean Stone Cleaning Stone. Michelle Driscoll is the Owner of Mulberry Maids based in northern Colorado. The vinegar will help remove any soapy residue and dispel smoky odors. 1. A firebox is the inside area of a fireplace where the fire burns. The firebox in a fireplace is the portion of the system where the fire is actually built. Just make sure the bricks are clean before applying the first base coat. 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. If a brick in a masonry fireplace cracks, you need to patch it. Painting your firebox can be just the thing to give your fireplace a fresh, clean look. How do I remove paint from a brick fireplace? Since TSP is toxic to the environment and will damage plants, contact your local municipality for information on proper disposal. 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. http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/living-area/how-to-clean-brick.html, https://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-fireplace-soot-from-brick-or-stone/, https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-brick-fireplace-with-all-natural-cleaners-apartment-therapy-tutorials-216668, https://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/cleaning-a-brick-fireplace.htm. Look for yourself! Repeat until the entire bottom layer is mortared together. 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. TSP can be purchased at most home improvement stores and some grocery stores. Use cautionary measure while working on the ladder. How do you clean soot off fireplace bricks? To clean fireplace bricks, start by mixing baking soda and dish soap and rubbing the paste into the bricks with a scrub brush. You don’t want to start a fire or burn yourself! Test any cleaning material in an inconspicuous spot. Rinse with water. It will break apart the black stuff and make it easy for you to remove completely. You may also want to scrub the bricks with plain water to remove any remaining paint and to remove the chemicals from the brick. You will … 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. 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. Use a damp sponge to wipe away the cleaning solution and soot. Allow the paste to sit on the bricks for 5 minutes, then rinse it off with clean water. 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