Once a year or so you might want to clean your brick fireplace. The inside of your firebox gets basically cleaned when you remove ash and cinder. It is good to let it go and not do a complete cleaning in the firebox unless you really have to.
A place where you build fires on a regular basis does good having a little ashes and cinder as a base to quickly build a fire upon. Wood stoves are also this way. It is sort of like breaking them in or “seasoning” them.
If something was burned unintentionally inside the firebox and is toxic or smoking you might have to remove all of the ashes and strip your firebox bare, down to the fire bricks, to get it completely removed. You would basically follow the same instructions for cleaning your firebox or pit, as you would for cleaning your surround and hearth.
The bricks that have a fire on them everyday will most likely always have burnt marks and discoloration to them. If you are no longer wanting a fire in your fireplace and want it just for display, you might consider replacing the bricks where the fire burned in the firebox or pit. Replacing bricks is basically a re-modeling job. Sometimes cleaning bricks can be part of your remodeling job, especially if you are cleaning them for re-use in another project, which would require mortar removal.
Three Good Choices to Clean the Outside of Your Brick Fireplace
Cleaning your surround or hearth bricks might be a chore you are not looking forward to. The job is made easier with some of the commercial cleaning products on the market.
If you really have a mess with a lot of smoke stains and old rust from fire use, you might think about just painting your bricks. You can get some really good looks with paint especially made for this purpose.
The hearth is especially prone to getting stains from the fire pit and other substances such as grime and dirt from everyday usage. What are three ways you might consider as a method for cleaning the bricks on your fireplace?
Commercial Fireplace Brick Cleaners
There are a lot of good commercial brick fireplace cleaners on the market. Most of these are in a spray bottle and do not contain dangerous acids.
You simply spray it on, leave it sit for a few moments, then wipe it off.
There is no tedious back breaking rinsing over and over to remove a residue as with powdered mixtures. There are some brick fireplace cleaners that come in kits, but these require a few more steps then spraying and wiping.
Cream of Tartar or Baking Soda Paste
You make the paste by mixing water with either the Cream of Tartar or the Baking Soda until it is a smooth consistency like old fashion school paste. Some say the “Cream of Tarter” works best.
With antique fireplaces I would go with the baking soda and scrub a little harder on problem areas to remove unwanted stains and old layers of dirt. Apply the paste and let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then rinse with clear water. Repeat if necessary. You can scrub a little or use a wire brush if you want before rinsing.
BE CAREFUL if you are using a wire brush on smooth clay bricks as you could scratch them. A soft cloth might be necessary to remove any residue. If you notice on the older clay bricks, water will make them softer.
Vinegar and Water Mix
Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. If you have a really old fireplace you might want to steer clear of vinegar as a cleaner because of its acidity properties.
You would do best to use baking soda on the older antique bricks and a soft cloth. If you are wanting to clean your average strong brick modern fireplace do not be afraid to use a good scrub brush while cleaning.
Overview On How to Clean a Brick Fireplace
It really isn’t too difficult to clean and spruce up the looks of your brick fireplace. This is especially true if they are the newer manufactured red smooth bricks imitating the old fashion clay bricks. These have a slick surface making for easy cleaning.
Bricks come in many styles and colors. The hardest bricks to use a cleaning preparation on is porous bricks. Keep this in mind when you go about seeking a way to clean your brick fireplace.