How to Clean a Brick Fireplace

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A clean fireplace not only looks better, it works better and is safer to use. Ash buildup inside the chimney is a potential fire hazard. The exterior of your fireplace also suffers from ash buildup. Ash clings to the brick, making it look dingy and dull. The longer you wait between cleanings, the more ash coats the brick and the harder it is to remove. Clean your fireplace regularly to ensure it operates safely and to keep the brick looking vibrant. Take your fireplace from drab to fab in just a few steps.

Step 1

Vacuum the interior and exterior of your brick fireplace with a Shop Vac to remove loose ashes. Save the ashes if you have a vegetable or flower garden. Wood ash makes soil more alkaline. Add the ash to the soil surrounding alkaline loving plants, such as lilacs.

Step 2

Scrub the bricks clean using a stiff-bristled brush and soapy water. Make a soapy water solution by adding a few squirts of liquid dish detergent to a bucket filled with 1 gallon of warm water. Dip the brush in the soapy water and scrub the interior and exterior of your fireplace. Rinse the soapy water off the bricks using a towel dipped in fresh water.

Step 3

Remove stubborn stains on the fireplace bricks using trisodium phosphate. Cleaning with TSP is only required when soapy water fails to remove stains from the brick. Look for TSP in building supply stores. TSP is dangerous to inhale and will burn skin. Take safety precautions to avoid injury. Open the window in the room for ventilation, wear rubber gloves and put on protective eye goggles. Dilute 1/2 cup TSP in a plastic bucket filled with 1 gallon of warm water. Use a stiff-bristled brush when working with TSP. Rinse the TSP mixture from the fireplace using a towel dipped in fresh water.

Step 4

Hire a professional chimney service once a year to inspect and clean your chimney.

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