When it comes time to clean fireplace bricks, you may find yourself in tricky waters. Fireplaces are notoriously difficult to clean, though most of the time it's a matter of using a lot of effort rather than being impossible. When you're ready to get your fireplace bricks clean and ready for the holidays, or any other time of year when this room focal piece will be on display, there are a handful of ways to get the job done.
While not completely organic or environmental, using soap and an abraisive sponge is one of the simplest, safest and cheapest ways to clean fireplace bricks. To get your cleaning solution, mix equal parts soap and table salt (approximately one ounce each) with enough water to cause the mixture to blend into a cream. Be sure to not add too much water!
Then, with a cloth or dishtowel, cover the bricks with the aforementioned mixture. After it's had at least ten minutes to soak, use a bristled brush (the stiffer and stronger the better) to take it off. With any luck, the soot, dirt and grime will come off as well.
The first cleaning idea of soap and salt is ideal because it is gentle on your fireplace's brick work. However, if you did not yield clean results after a few tries, there are harsher methods that will get the job done. Keep in mind these are not gentle on the bricks, and should only be used occasionally when you need to get the surface area exceptionally clean.
Ammonia is strong and potent, so open all of your windows and doors within the general vicinity before mixing and applying. When ready, mix soap and ammonia together with hot water. Limit the amount of ammonia you use at first, and only increase as necessary. You can also throw in some pumice, which can work wonders.
Slather the mixture onto the brick until it is completely dry. Then use a moistened scrub brush to remove from the brick work.
If ammonia does not pair well with the pumice and soap alone, you can purchase a naptha bar. Shave the bar into small pieces and add it to three quarts of water in a pot. Boil this combination until all of the soap is melted and then let it cool. Now add your ammonia and pumice as before, and let it all soak into the brick for at least an hour. Scrub it off and then rinse with warm water. It's also highly recommended you do a normal cleaning with detergent afterward to get rid of any odors and residue - especially if you have animals or small children in the home.
Finally, you can use oven cleaner to remove soot and grime from bricks. Spray the oven cleaner onto the fireplace brick work and just let it set for the recommended amount of time. Wipe it off with a durable towel and then wash as normal.
The Importance of Clean Fireplace Bricks
Even though it seems like a lot of work and physical exertion to get your fireplace clean, it can help you stay healthy in the long run. You do not want to breathe in the dirt and other mess found within the cracks of bricks and on the actual brick surface itself. It can also cause your house to become dirty and dusty in surrounding areas.
If you are uncomfortable cleaning your fireplace, consider hiring a professional or a local teen through your church or neighborhood who is looking to earn some extra cash. Either way, it's vital your fireplace is cleaned thoroughly at least a couple of times a year for optimal performance and tip top appearance.