Cleaning the Soot off Fireplace Brick/Stone
To remove grease, dirt, and soot build up from the bricks or stones in or around your fireplace, you can use this simple homemade solution: Make a mixture of 1 cup laundry detergent flakes and 4 cups hot water, then add a half pound of powdered pumice (available at hardware stores like Home Depot). To this mixture, add 1/2 cup of ammonia. Now you are ready to clean. Use a brush with stiff bristles to apply the mixture to the dirty bricks and scrub, rinse, and repeat, until the area is clean.
Bucket and Brush Hand Cleaning
This is probably the most popular but most misunderstood of all the methods used for cleaning brick masonry. Its popularity is due to the simplicity of execution and the ready availability of proprietary cleaning compounds. A recommended general procedure using proprietary compounds, detergents or acid solutions is as follows:
Select the proper solution.
- For proprietary compounds, make sure that the one selected is suitable for the brick and follow the cleaning compound manufacturer's recommended dilution instructions. Many proprietary cleaning solutions perform in a satisfactory manner for their intended cleaning jobs. However, their formulae are not generally disclosed and may be subject to change. It is suggested, therefore, that each product being considered be sample tested on a panel or inconspicuous wall area and judged on a trial basis before being used.
- Detergent or soap solutions may be used to remove mud, dirt and soil accumulated during construction. A suggested solution is 1/2 cup dry measure (0.14 L) of trisodium phosphate and 1/2 cup dry measure (0.14 L) of laundry detergent dissolved in one gallon (3.9 L) of clean water.
- For acid solutions, mix a 10% solution of muriatic acid (9 parts clean water to 1 part acid) in a non-metallic container. Pour acid into water. Do not permit metal tools to contact the acid solution. There is the temptation to mix acid solutions stronger than recommended in order to clean stubborn stains. The indiscriminate use of any acid solution may tend to cause further stains.
Cleaning Sooty Bricks If it's a small area, you can use light-colored children's molding dough to press onto the brick and lift the soot away. Or dip a scrub brush into a pan of full-strength white household vinegar. Scrub a small section at a time, working up. It may take a lot of elbow grease and several applications to remove all of the soot.
Caution: If your fireplace brick is old and crumbling, test the molding dough in an inconspicuous spot -- you don't want to pull off any surface material. To remove soot from brick that is not in good condition, mix a 50/50 solution of laundry bleach and water, pour into a spray bottle, spritz the bricks, then scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with water