How to Clean Fireplace Bricks

Nothing symbolizes a cozy home, more than a fireplace. But no matter how carefully you maintain the fire, eventually some soot will escape from the firebox and spread on the stones of the surrounding façade and fireplace. Soot is fine, black particles that arise when organic and carbon-filled materials are not completely burned. When you see the black stripes and spots, it is time to clean your stones in the fireplace.

How Often to Clean Fireplace Bricks

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When soot accumulates, it leaves the smell of smoke and ugly black spots on bricks, ceramic tiles and joints, rugs, curtains and upholstery and painted surfaces. It is important to remove the soot often as it can cause permanent damage in the long term, especially to porous surfaces.

The more often you use a fireplace, the more often you need a time to clean. The sooner you remove soot discoloration on bricks from the fireplace, the easier the task will be.


There are various cleaning solutions that you can use to clean your fireplace. With each method, there are several steps that you must take before you actually begin cleaning, which removes soot and protects surfaces before you actually begin scrubbing.

Clear Out Ashes and Debris

Start with a cold fireplace. Remove the andirons, grid and all ashes and debris in the firebox. After you have safely disposed of the ashes, use a store vacuum to collect any small particles.

Vacuum and Dust the Fireplace Facade

Vacuum the fireplace and open the fireplace to remove as much soot and dust as possible. Clean the mantle of all decorative items to prevent dust on it.

How to Clean Fireplace Bricks With Dishwashing Soap, Ammonia, and Pumice

If the washing-up soap and salt do not remove the soot, increase your game by adding a fourth to half a cup of household ammonia to your cleaning solution. Instead of cooking salt, purchase finely ground pumice to sprinkle on your scrub brush.

Follow the same steps above and make sure your room is well ventilated, as ammonia vapors can be powerful.

Is your fireplace particularly dirty? Try this following method to tackle the most stubborn soot spots.

How to Clean Fireplace Bricks with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

Trisodium phosphate is a powerful cleaner and removes the heaviest soot spots on stones from the fireplace. However, TSP is very toxic and must be used with care. Full protective equipment such as rubber gloves, eye protection, a respirator, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants are required.

Since you will use it inside, the area must be well ventilated. TSP can also damage ceramic tiles, metal, fabrics, carpets and painted and finished surfaces.

Mix the Cleaning Solution

Mix one liter of hot water and eight tablespoons (half a cup) of TSP in a bucket. Fill the second bucket with normal cold water.

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

Dip the scrub brush in the TSP solution and apply some elbow grease to the stained areas. Do not allow the solution to come in contact with your skin.

Rinse Carefully

Use a damp sponge to wipe away the cleaning solution and soot. Finish by immersing the clean second sponge in the regular water for a final rinse.

If the soot has not been removed, repeat the steps. If necessary, you can use a maximum of one cup of TSP per gallon of hot water.

Dispose of the Cleaning Solution Responsibly

Since TSP is toxic to the environment and will damage plants, you should contact your local municipality for information about proper disposal.

Written by Tommy Kilmer

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