In a lot of homes, the fireplace is the focal point of any room. It is the first thing that you see when you walk in, and in a lot of homes it is what gives them a real traditional feel. But, no matter how nice they look, there is no denying that fireplaces can be difficult to clean. Especially fireplaces that are built with brick.
There are lots of different things that will influence how often you have to clean your fireplace. Some fireplaces will show up dirt so easily that all you have to do is look at it to see if it needs a wash. While others will require cleaning regularly because they are being used often. So, there is no straightforward answer as to when you should clean your brick fireplace.
However, cleaning your fireplace doesn’t need to be as difficult as you might expect. If you find the prospect too daunting, then there are plenty of professional companies that offer this type of cleaning. But, if you would prefer to take on the task yourself, read this guide to find out the best way of cleaning your brick fireplace.
When you Should Clean your Fireplace
As we have mentioned, it can be very difficult to determine when your fireplace needs cleaning. If you use your fireplace regularly then it might be easier to tell when it requires a clean as it could build up with soot and dirt.
But, if your fireplace is entirely ornamental, then cleaning it will be something that you do a lot less often. A fireplace that is not being used will not have any soot build up, so the fact that it requires washing will not be easy to tell.
In the case that you do not use your fireplace, it is best to fall into a regular pattern with cleaning it. Include it in your monthly or quarterly cleaning schedule, and that way you will know that you are always keeping on top of the dirt.
But, if you do use your fireplace regularly, then you will find that it will also require regular cleaning. Sometimes as often as twice a week, depending on how much you use it.
However, the best way to tell if your fireplace needs cleaning is to simply look at it. Depending on the color of your fireplace, dirt might easily show up. But even if it doesn’t, you can simply run a finger through it to see if it needs a clean. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you should go about cleaning your fireplace.
How to Clean a Brick Fireplace: Step by Step
So, if you want to clean your brick fireplace and don’t know where to start, then you are in the right place. This is a general guide, so depending on whether your fireplace is used, or if it is entirely ornamental, you might need to skip a step or two.
Clear Your Fireplace
If you use your fireplace regularly, then you should wait for it to cool before doing this. Once cool, you should take out your fireplace grate and use a dustpan to clear out any leftover ashes.
After you have got rid of the ashes, you should take a vacuum cleaner to clean up any soot or dust that is stuck on the inside. Ensure that you use a brush connection to do this. If you do not use your fireplace, then you might be able to skip this step.
Wet the Bricks
One of the best hacks for cleaning bricks of any kind is to saturate them completely with water. It is important that you use water without any soap or detergent to do this, as the first layer of water applied to the bricks will soak in to them.
If you do not apply a layer of water first, then the soapy water solution will just be soaked into the brick. This will mean that it is unable to clean the surface of the bricks, and you will be left unsatisfied with the results. So, for the best clean, you should soak the bricks with plain water first.
Choose your Cleaning Fighters
You should then decide which cleaning solution you want to use on the bricks. Some people choose to use regular soap, but there are lots of different options that you can choose from.
Mix your regular bubbling soap solution with water and apply it to the bricks. Leave the solution on the bricks for 15-20 minutes before scrubbing with a brush.
If your fireplace is younger than 20 years of age, you can use distilled white vinegar to clean it. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water together in a bowl, then apply to your bricks sparingly. Leave it for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush.
If your fireplace needs a deep clean, you can use stronger cleaning detergents. These strong cleaning detergents include ammonia, borax, and TSP. Again, it is best avoiding using these cleaners if you have an older fireplace, as they could cause irreparable damage. Before you use any of these cleaners, ensure that you dilute them to the measurements on the box.
Scrub and Rinse the Bricks
Once you have scrubbed your chosen cleaning solution into the bricks, then it is time to rinse them down. We recommend using a sponge to do this, in order to ensure that all the cleaning products are washed off of the bricks.
Repeat on Stubborn Stains
If there are any stubborn stains on the brickwork of your fireplace, then you should repeat the process until the stain has been removed. If you started with a weaker cleaning product, then you may choose to use a stronger cleaning solution if the stain is very resistant.