Do the bricks surrounding your fireplace look dark and dirty – especially the more you use your fireplace? Unfortunately, unsealed brick, which has a dull, flat appearance, is a porous material. That means soot, dust and dirt can penetrate into the cracks and crevasses of the bricks. Soot and dirt that has been absorbed into older bricks that haven’t been cleaned in a long time, unfortunately, can be harder to clean.
Soot is a black powder that’s produced when wood burns incompletely. Soot is hard to clean, because the particles are very small and difficult to remove completely. Plus, it easily stains most materials.
However, there are some tips you can try to clean your brick fireplace, so it can look great again.
- Clean safely. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin. Wear goggles to protect your eyes from any possible splatters. Wear an apron to protect your clothes. Make sure the room is well ventilated. Follow all cleaning product directions. Never mix cleaning chemicals together.
- Make sure the bricks around your fireplace are cool to the touch. There should be no fire burning in the fireplace.
- Lay down a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect the surrounding surfaces.
- Remove the grate and any fireplace accessories.
- Use a heavy, coarse brush on the bricks to loosen dirt and soot particles.
- Use your fireplace brush, ash shovel and bucket to remove all ash.
- Vacuum the bricks and hearth with a brush attachment to remove loose dirt and dust. Also, you may want to try the slanted head attachment to remove dirt and dust between the bricks.
- Apply a brick fireplace cleaning solution or make one of your own (using these recipes). Commercial fireplace cleansers can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Make sure the cleaning solution is compatible with your fireplace bricks. Scrub the brick with a nylon scrub brush. First, try cleaning a small spot on the brick to see if it cleans the brick effectively. If not, try a different cleanser. Make sure to scrub the mortar between the bricks, too. Rinse the cleaner away with water. Let the bricks dry thoroughly. Don’t scrub damaged or deteriorating bricks as this can cause even more damage.
In the future, as soon as your bricks become dirty, wipe the soot away. This will help keep your brick fireplace looking like new.
And don’t forget to make sure the inside of your fireplace is inspected and swept at least once a year, too. Schedule an appointment with the chimney professionals at T. J.’s Chimney Service by calling 317-455-5310 today.