While stone fireplaces make for a beautiful addition to any home, they do require some maintenance to keep them looking great and in full working order. When dirt and soot begin to accumulate, stone fireplaces should be cleaned. Because of the porousness and irregular shape of the rocks, this type of fireplace can be difficult to clean.
A routine cleaning, on the other hand, can be carried out without the assistance of a professional with little time and effort. You should first prepare the fireplace, then perform an initial cleaning and, if necessary, a full cleaning. In this article, we’ll guide you through step-by-step how to get your stone fireplace and mantel looking as good as new.
Ditch the harsh chemicals
Firstly, you should avoid using harsh chemical cleaners. Many household chemical cleaners can be harmful to stone fireplaces because their acidity damages the natural composition of the stone and causes it to degrade.
Avoid using any cleaning solutions that are not designed exclusively for stone, and especially avoid any cleansers that have citrus components, which are naturally acidic. Furthermore, some chemical cleansers may leave a thin layer of residue behind that contains combustible components. This is not something you want near your fireplace.
Consider making your own cleaner
Making your own chemical cleaners is one method to totally avoid harsh chemical cleaners. One gallon of boiling water and 12 to 1 cup of trisodium phosphate is a typical recipe.
There are numerous additional cleaning recipes accessible online, and a fast search on any search engine will give some tailored to your stone or cleaning requirements. If crafting your own homemade cleaning solution does not appeal to you, you could always purchase a stone-specific enzyme cleaner.
Prepare before cleaning
Cleaning your fireplace can be a difficult task, and you don't want dirty water splattering over nearby surfaces or furniture. Prepare your home by relocating any adjacent furnishings and putting down a tarp. You can use painter's tape to secure any plastic tarping and prevent leaks and drips.
Gather your supplies
Now it's time to bring together all of your cleaning supplies. A container of water, a cleaning solution, some cleaning rags, and a sponge or other soft cleaning equipment are all required. To avoid causing tiny scratches in your stone, avoid using cleaning instruments with strong bristles.
Cleaning gear, such as rubber gloves, and eyewear, such as goggles, may also be useful. They keep soot, dust, and debris off your skin and keep cleaning agents away from it too. You should also open a window or provide some form of ventilation; cleaning products can be toxic or cause headaches.
Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a typical chemical used in the cleaning process since it has the capacity to remove stubborn stains. You'll need half a cup to a cup of this, combined with four liters of warm water. Please keep in mind that this solution is poisonous to digest, therefore you should take all necessary precautions.
You should use a light detergent before turning to powerful ammonia or TSP. This poses less risk to the stone and makes it safer to use around the house. Throughout the cleaning procedure, you'll also need a vacuum (or dustpan and brush), towels, a scrubbing brush, a sponge, and a cloth or wipe.
If you have a wood or coal fire, you should cover the hearth with towels as well. To make this operation easier, brush any debris and soot off the fireplace or use a vacuum. After you've completed this, you can begin cleaning the fireplace.
To clean your fireplace, start by making a soapy solution in a bucket of warm water and choose a cleaning agent. If your fireplace is really filthy, you may need to add more cleaning mixture.
Scrub the soapy solution into the stone of your fireplace with your tool. When you're finished washing the debris away, replace the unclean water in the bucket with clean, warm water and rinse away any suds. After that, lightly wipe down your stone to remove any standing water before allowing it to air dry.
Deep clean regularly
While this cleaning regimen is useful for lighter cleanings, you should practice thorough cleanings on your fireplace stone on a regular basis. The frequency with which they are required varies; it actually depends on how much you use your fireplace and how much soot it appears to collect.
Before mixing TSP or ammonia with warm water, make sure you're wearing your safety equipment. Using the sponge, apply these chemicals to the fireplace and hearth. For difficult stains, use a scrubbing brush, but scrub as softly as possible. If you push too hard, you risk harming the stone. Repeat the process, but this time let it for ten to fifteen minutes before completing the rinsing.
A toothbrush can be used to apply the solution to difficult-to-reach places. When using the sponge, you can be pretty forceful, but don't scrub too hard or you risk damage to some fireplaces. Allow this to activate the fireplace for ten to fifteen minutes before proceeding. The most common types of staining found on stone fireplaces include:
- Fire and smoke damage: The most prevalent sort of stain observed on fireplaces, particularly older natural-stone fireplaces. Damage from smoke and fire will seem black and sooty.
- Moisture damage: Moisture can seep through the floor, chimneys can leak, and pools can collect in or near outdoor fireplaces, causing efflorescence. This will manifest as a crystalline build-up.
- Organic stains: Organic stains, such as leaves, bark, bird droppings, insects, and others, generate a pinkish-brown stain that is visible once the object has been removed from the stone.
- Biological stains differ from organic stains in that they are caused by algae, mold, moss, fungi, or lichens and are more likely to form on outdoor stone.