If you have a natural fireplace you may have noticed how the exterior bricks begin to darken the more you use your fireplace. It can cause your fireplace to look black and stained. This is natural if you build fires often but if taken care of properly and early enough the stains will not be permanent. These stains are caused by dust, soot, and other dirt. Bricks are very porous and the dirt and soot can be absorbed into them. The longer dirt and soot is absorbed into the brick the harder it will be to clean them. The key here is to clean the bricks around your fireplace often so that there is no chance that the dirt can build up on the bricks causing these unappealing stains. You may be wondering how you can clean your brick fireplace. It is very simple. To begin make sure that the bricks around your fireplace are cool and there is no fire burning in the fireplace. Then apply a fireplace cleanser. Fireplace cleansers can be found and purchased at most home improvement stores. If you cannot find a cleanser there are many recipes online to make your own cleanser. Scrub the brick with a nylon scrub brush making sure to scrub the mortar between the bricks where dirt and stains are often more visible. Then simply rinse the cleanser away with water. It is important that you avoid scrubbing bricks that are damaged or deteriorating as this can cause more damage to the exterior of your fireplace. An easy way to prevent hard to clean stains is to spray any soot stains immediately with vinegar and wipe it clean to avoid any deep stains that require scrubbing. Continuous scrubbing can also cause the bricks to become weak. Frequent use of gas fireplaces can also cause stains as well. Remember to clean the brick often and wipe away any soot stains to keep the brick in its natural state.