How to Clean Soot off Brick

Your Fireplace Shines Again : How to Clean Soot off Brick

Ashes and black stains must really looking bad and annoying after you have used your favorite fireplace for a long period of time without cleaning. So if you do not want to turn into Cinderella, it is time to start deep cleaning and remove all the soot.

So what will do the job and keep your fireplace clean and shining again? We will start with some natural methods of how to clean soot off brick fireplace soot moving to more harsh ones. 

How To Clean Soot Off Brick

How To Clean Soot Off Brick

First of all, you need to get all the loose soot and ash out using a broom or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. While removing fireplace dirt do not forget to protect your flooring. Use old sheets, newspapers, or tarp as the soot and cleaning solution will drip downward and it may get really messy. Put on old clothes and rubber gloves. Protect your knees with a pillow or a towel for support.

Nothing Better Than Plain Soap and Water

In case you have a low-grease situation, just dish soap and water will work great to remove fireplace soot and smoke buildup. For a better effect, you can add table salt or baking soda and create a cream. With the help of a cloth, cover the bricks with the solution and let it soak for some time. 

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Then you need to use a scrub brush to work in circular movements from the top down. This may really cost you elbow grease and in order to make soot removal easier, get your power drill to help you. Put a brush attachment and make it happen with less effort.

How to clean soot off brick
macro shot of dish soap being squeezed onto the green sponge in the aluminum sink

Fireplace Cleaning Sponge

When you realize that soap and water are just not enough, you may want to try a soot eraser. It is a dry cleaning method. You just need to rub it in circles until the stain disappears. The cells of the sponge absorb a great amount of dirt. 

Most of them are safe and non-toxic but only remove brick fireplace soot from the smoke and not the stains from fire burns. Still, an eraser may not be the best fireplace cleaner as it requires hard labor.

Ready-to-go Sprays

You can always use cleansers from hardware or home-improvement stores. There are various soot cleaning products, you can choose something to your liking: for example, Krud Kutter or Brick-Anew. 

Some of them require dilution or specify how to remove ash stains step by step. So it is always a good idea to study the manufacturer’s directions. Usually, after applying the cleanser, you must leave it for some time on the surface so that it penetrates and works better. And then go ahead with scrubbing or directly wiping away. 

How to clean soot off brick

Alkaline-based Power

TSP or trisodium phosphate is an alkaline solution that is super helpful with stained fireplace brick but is also highly chemical. It needs to be handled with caution. It is absolutely necessary to put on gloves and goggles and set very good ventilation. 

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So how to clean fireplace bricks with TSP? Dilute a quarter to a half-cup of the substance in approximately two gallons of water and scrub the bricks using a sponge or a brush. This alkaline product is very good at dealing with staining: brick fireplaces look like new again. 

Vinegar Almighty

You may also wonder how to remove the smoke smell from a fireplace. The answer is white vinegar. It deals perfectly with any bad odors. Dilute two cups of it in one gallon of water and dip a scrub brush in it. Or put the mixture in a spray bottle to spread it better. Wait for some minutes. Wash down the sides and the bottom and rinse often.

Paint It

Another way of how to clean fireplace bricks is to use paint! If it is really hard to clean out the dirt, you may consider staining fireplace brick giving it a fresher and neater look, or updating it to match the rest of the interior.

First of all, you may need to splash water on it to check if it gets absorbed. If not, it means it has a sealant that you need to remove and clean the bricks. Apply your brick stain product on a dry surface. Choose a windy day for this mission so that there is good airflow.

How to clean soot off brick

Soot Buildup in a Gas Fireplace

If you are the owner of a gas fireplace, there is still a risk of having cleaning problems in case of clogged burner ports and improperly positioned fire logs. So to avoid gas fireplace soot on walls, it is better to place the logs in the exact position described in the manual. For the blocked ports it is better to call maintenance and opt for a professional cleaning service.

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Cleaning the fireplace might seem a tricky and unpleasant job you need to do at least a couple of times a year but the result is worth it. Try not to take too long with tidying up otherwise the magic is over and your favorite place turns into a burden. 

To make it easier to clean soot off brick, we have prepared a video:


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In Summary

Now that you know how to remove soot from brick walls, grab your rubber gloves and get to work. Choose a method, try it, and if it doesn’t work, try the next one. Black soot on brick walls can seem like a death sentence for brick surfaces. Fortunately, there are solutions.

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