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Can You Clean Fireplace Brick?

Chimney Sweep and Repair
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The bricks in your fireplace take a beating. Smoke, soot and grime can combine to leave nasty stains and discolorations. But you can clean fireplace brick. It takes is a little muscle, but the results can be spectacular.

Fireplace masons often apply a sealer to brick fireplaces to help them stay clean. But even if a sealer has been applied, there’s a good chance that over time your brick fireplace will become a dull shade of what it once was. Brick is porous and absorbs the soot. As one expert said, some of the dirt and grime you see isn’t just on the brick – it’s in it.

Professional chimney cleaning companies, can make your lackluster fireplace look good as new. Not only do they handle the inside of the chimney, many chimney sweeps also clean fireplace brick outside.

If you want to tackle the job yourself, you’ll need some basic tools: rubber gloves, goggles, a stiff brush, sponges, a bucket and some drop clothes to protect the floor or carpet around the hearth. If a sealer has been applied to the brick, cleaning might be as easy as mopping the brick with warm, soapy water. Areas where the dirt is persistent can be attacked with the stiff brush.

Some experts recommend a cleaning solution of dish detergent combined with an equal amount of table salt. Apply it to the brick and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before brushing it off. Follow up with the wet sponge. Vinegar and baking soda are also commonly used to clean fireplace bricks.

Of course, it's necessary for the fireplace to dry before using it.

If the soot and dirt is really stubborn, a stronger detergent might be required. There are several on the market. Many websites recommend using Trisodium Phosphate, commonly known as TSP. One part TSP should be combined with 16 parts hot water to form an effective cleaning solution.

When using chemical cleaners, be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and goggles to protect your eyes. Also, be sure to use the chemicals precisely according to the specifications listed on the package. And by all means make sure the area is well-ventilated.

Work in small sections, being watchful of how the brushing affects the bricks and mortar in the joints. Afterward, apply a brick sealer to help keep your clean fireplace brick looking fresh for a long time.

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