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How to Clean a Brick Fireplace in 8 Steps (with Pictures)

a brick fireplace in an old home

Brick fireplaces are attractive, but they can get quite dirty because the brick is porous and absorbs the soot and dirt from the surrounding environment. Many people want to know how they can clean their brick fireplaces. There are several methods that can help get your fireplace clean. If you would like to give it a try, keep reading as we provide you with a step-by-step guide.

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Preparation: Gather Your Materials

The first thing that to do to prepare for your cleaning project is to get all your supplies together so you won’t need to stop once you get started.

Materials and Supplies
goggles and gloves
Photo By: Steve Johnson, Pexels

Safety First

When cleaning your fireplace, you will create plenty of dust that can get into your lungs and create a health hazard. It’s important to wear a high-quality dusk mask to protect yourself the entire time that you are cleaning. You may also want to wear safety gloves to protect your hands and goggles to protect your eyes.

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How to Clean a Brick Fireplace (8 Steps)

1. Protect Your floors and Decorative Items

Before you start putting dust into the air, we recommend protecting your floors with a waterproof drop cloth so it can catch the dust as it settles. We also recommend covering the decorative items on your walls nearby so dust does not settle on them.

2. Brush Away Soot and Ashes

The best way to start cleaning your fireplace is to brush away soot and ashes so you can see the surface. A broom works well to remove loose soot. Attaching a brush to a vacuum cleaner will also help you remove soot quickly.

fire wood in a brick fireplace
Photo Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

3. Vacuum Inside the Fireplace

Once you use the brush to scrub away most of the soot and ashes, it’s time to vacuum inside the fireplace to remove any remaining particles.

4. Use Dawn and Salt

Create a solution using equal parts Down dishwashing liquid and ordinary table salt with enough water to make them blend. Next, dip a cloth into the solution, and use it to spread the solution over the dirty brick. Allow it to sit for several minutes to soak in. Use a scrub brush to scrub the brick in a circular motion to get it clean. Spray it with water to rinse and repeat as needed. This is one of the most effective methods for cleaning brick, and it doesn’t cost that much.

5. Use Baking Soda and Dawn

A similar method is to use ½ cup of baking soda and a few teaspoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid to create a cleaning solution. Apply the solution to a scrub brush to spread it over the brick, and allow it to sit for several minutes before scrubbing and rinsing with warm water. This method works well, but the baking soda can leave streaks behind if you’re not careful.

baking soda paste
Photo Credit: Monfocus, Pixabay

6. Use Vinegar

White vinegar is an excellent general cleaner, and it can do a great job of cleaning your fireplace. To use the vinegar, mix it with equal parts of water into a spray bottle to spray it evenly over the surface. Spray it, allow it to sit for several minutes before you begin scrubbing, and rinse it clean when you finish. The biggest downside to using vinegar as a fireplace cleaner is that it can leave behind an odor if you don’t rinse it well.

7. Rinse Well

After you use a cleaning solution and scrub the brick in a circular motion as best you can, you will need to rinse it. The best way to rinse the brick is to use a large sponge dipped in clean water. It can take a while, but it doesn’t make as much of a mess as a hose or even a spray bottle, and you have more control over the rinsing process.

8. Repeat

With the brick rinsed, you will need to give it time to dry. In many cases, as the brick dries, stains will become apparent, and you may need to repeat the steps that you already took. It may take a few tries, but each attempt will help you get closer to the clean surface that you want.


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Dawn dishwashing liquid works the best in a cleaning solution, especially when mixed with salt because it’s more abrasive. Vinegar is great but tends to leave behind an odor, and baking soda can leave behind a powdery residue that can be difficult to remove.

No matter which method you choose, scrubbing the fireplace brick is a difficult task that will require plenty of elbow grease, so pace yourself and take your time. Expect the project to take quite a while and require several attempts. Don’t try to complete it in a single day.

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Featured Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay


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