How to Clean Fireplace Brick? Tips & Steps

How to Clean Fireplace Brick? Tips & Steps

With the help of these cleaning suggestions for brick fireplaces, you can maintain your fireplace’s functionality and aesthetic appeal both inside and out.

Brick fireplaces are stunning, cozy, and inviting, but they are also prone to unsightly (and possibly dangerous) black streaks, creosote buildup, and soot stains. It’s time to clean your fireplace bricks once you notice the black streaks and stains.

We’ll show you how to clean fireplace brick to remove black discoloration and the smell of smoke if soot stains are present on the hearth of your fireplace.

Before You Begin

You can clean your fireplace with a number of different cleaning products. There are a few steps you should perform with each method before you start the actual cleaning in order to remove soot and protect surfaces before you start scrubbing.

Protect Your Floors

To shield carpets and floors from spills and stains, grab a waterproof drop cloth.

Clear Out Ashes and Debris

Let’s start with a chilly fireplace. Take out the andirons, grate, and every piece of ash and junk from the firebox. After safely disposing of the ashes, collect any small particles with a shop vacuum.

How to Clean Fireplace Brick? Tips & Steps

Vacuum and Dust the Fireplace Facade

To remove as much soot and dust as you can, vacuum the fireplace surround and hearth. To avoid too much dust gathering on any decorative items on the mantle as well, remove them.

Get the Bricks Wet

If there is a trick to cleaning fireplace brick, it is to first thoroughly wet the bricks with water before using a cleaner and beginning to scrub. Put down a waterproof drop cloth first because you’ll be working inside your house, but don’t skip this step.

When you apply soap or another cleaning solution, the porous brick will absorb the water, preventing the cleaner from sinking in and keeping it on the surface. A masonry sponge, which should be readily available at most hardware stores, or a spray bottle can be used to wet the bricks down.

How to Clean Fireplace Brick?

You have a variety of cleaning agents to choose from at this stage. Your decision will be influenced by the age of the bricks and the intensity of the staining.

How to Clean Bricks With Dishwashing Detergent?

Generally, you should start with the mildest cleanser you can find and see if that gets rid of the majority of the soot. In this instance, use ¼ cup of clear, grease-cutting dish soap diluted in four cups of water. This cleaner is gentle enough to be safe even on older bricks.

How to Clean Fireplace Brick? Tips & Steps

How to Clean Bricks With Vinegar?

Another choice is distilled white vinegar, but use it with caution because it contains enough acid to potentially harm bricks older than 20 years. To create this cleaning solution, combine equal parts vinegar and warm water.

Dishwashing detergent can also be added, but just a little bit—roughly two tablespoons for every gallon.

How to Clean a Brick Fireplace With Scrubbing Bubbles?

Although foaming bathroom cleaners like Scrubbing Bubbles and others were designed to be used on nonporous ceramic surfaces, some homeowners swear by them when it comes to cleaning brick. Before beginning to scrub, you might need to let these cleaners sit for a while (15–20 minutes).

How to Clean Bricks With Stronger Cleaners?

Consider switching to stronger detergents if you’ve tried the aforementioned cleaners but the soot stains persist. However, keep in mind that these could harm older or more delicate bricks, so you may want to wear gloves and eye protection as well as make sure there is good ventilation.

Here are some options for removing stubborn stains on brick:

  • Mix two tablespoons of borax with four cups of water and one tablespoon of dish soap
  • Mix ½ cup of ammonia with four cups of water and ¼ cup of dish soap
  • Mix ⅛ cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) with one gallon of hot water
How to Clean Fireplace Brick? Tips & Steps

Scrub the Bricks

The bricks of the fireplace can be sprayed with milder cleaners using a spray bottle. Use a paintbrush or sponge to apply your cleaning solution to the bricks if you don’t have a spray bottle or are using TSP.

Work from top to bottom to prevent dirty water from dripping and leaving streaks on areas that have already been cleaned.

Scrub the surface in a circular motion with a firm scrub brush that has plastic bristles while working in small spaces to prevent the bricks from drying out. Apply the cleaning solution sparingly again and wait a few minutes for it to work before beginning to scrub if the soot stains don’t seem to be coming out.


After cleaning a small area, make sure to rinse it completely before continuing. Rinse each area several times with a sponge dipped in clean water. Replace the water in the rinsing bucket if it becomes dirty or soapy.

Spot-Clean Any Remaining Stains

If any particularly difficult soot stains remain after using the aforementioned cleaning methods on a large area, you might need to return and spot-clean them. Making a paste by combining cream of tartar or baking soda with a little water will accomplish this.

Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes after applying it to the remaining soot. Next, scrub with a firm toothbrush or small scrub brush before rinsing.


How to Clean Fireplace Brick? Tips & Steps

You might need to try again or switch to a more aggressive cleaning technique if a milder cleaner didn’t work. Your fireplace will require cleaning more frequently as you use it more frequently. Call a professional service if soot stains continue, do not be reluctant.

How Often Should You Clean a Brick Fireplace?

Cleaning the firebox after each use is your best bet for safety; as an added bonus, it will improve the burn of your fires. Once the burning embers have transformed into cold ashes, scoop them into a bucket with your fireplace shovel and scatter them in your garden beds or the compost pile. Vacuum the sides and floor of the firebox occasionally.

The moment you see black stains on the bricks surrounding the firebox, you need to start scrubbing. The same applies if you smell wood burning even though your fireplace is not lit.

In my office, there is a fireplace. The sooty remnants of the previous owner’s fires are still visible on the bricks inside and outside the firebox, despite the fact that we haven’t lit a fire in it in the twelve years we’ve lived here. The adorable toy piano I impulsively paid $5 for at a garage sale may not keep me warm, but it makes a wonderful display.

Tips to Keep Your Fireplace Bricks Clean Longer

  • Make a paste with a few tablespoons of cream of tartar or baking soda and a little bit of water to remove any soot or grime from the surface. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes, then give it a quick light scrub and rinse.
  • Utilize the right kind of firewood, which burns cleaner and emits less soot and smoke. This includes softwoods like fir, spruce, and pine as well as hardwoods like oak, ash, and maple.

Conclusion: Clean Fireplace Brick

Although it has a sturdy exterior, fireplace brick needs to be handled carefully. In terms of cleaning bricks, less is more. When learning how to clean bricks, try to stick to mild DIY cleaning techniques.

Although the brick on the inside of the fireplace will be dirtier and require more time to clean than the brick on the outside, the same cleaning techniques apply to both. Just be sure to rinse or replace your sponges frequently so you’re not using a dirty sponge and change your cleaning solution as needed.


Can You Clean Brick Fireplace With Dish Soap?

In general, you should start with the mildest cleanser you can find to see if the majority of the soot will be removed. In this case, go with ¼ cup of clear, grease-cutting dish soap diluted in four cups of water. It should be safe to use this cleaner even on older bricks because of how gentle it is.

What Do You Clean An Old Brick Fireplace With?

The bricks should be washed in warm, clean water, and then dried with a fresh cloth. Try using Borax if the stains are a little more difficult to remove. Four cups of hot water, two tablespoons of borax, and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid should all be combined in your spray bottle.

Does Scrubbing Bubbles Clean Fireplace Brick?

Scrubbing Bubbles and other foaming bathroom cleaners were created to be used on nonporous ceramic surfaces, but some homeowners swear by them when it comes time to clean brick. Before beginning to scrub, you might need to let these cleaners sit for a while (15 to 20 minutes).

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