How to Clean Soot from Brick


A fireplace can be a cozy addition to any home, but one of the inevitable byproducts is soot on the surrounding bricks. Soot can leave lasting stains on the material it comes in contact with, so its important to clean this buildup at least once a year. To clean soot from your brick, stick with using baking soda or white vinegar for a natural solution, or use a chemical cleaner like TSP to make your bricks clean again.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Getting Your Fireplace Ready to Clean

  1. Let your fireplace cool for at least 12 hours before you start. Hot bricks should not be cleaned. After your fire, let everything cool down overnight or for at least 12 hours before you start any cleaning methods. This will protect your hands and make sure no chemicals get warmed up as you use them.[1]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • If you use your fireplace for heat, consider cleaning it during the summer months when you wont need to use it as much.
  2. Remove the ashes and loose soot. Use a brush and dustpan to clean your fireplace out before you start scrubbing it. Throw away any ashes or large pieces of charred wood that may be in the fireplace. This will make your cleaning process much easier.[2]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • You can set aside wood that has not been burned to use later.
  3. Lay a drop cloth or towels down to protect your floors. As you clean, you may drip water or chemicals on the floor around your fireplace. Lay down a protective covering on your floors surrounding your fireplace to make sure you dont damage your carpet or hardwood.[3]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 3 Version 3.jpg
  4. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands. As you scrub your fireplace, you may end up getting chemicals on your hands. Put on rubber kitchen gloves to protect your skin and avoid irritation. If you are using TSP cleaner, put on safety goggles as well.[4]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 4 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Using Baking Soda

  1. Make a paste of a 1:1 ratio of water and baking soda. Combine 4 tbsp (56 g) of baking soda with of warm water. Stir the ingredients together until they form a thick paste. If your mixture is too runny, add more baking soda.[5]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  2. Rub the mixture into the bricks with your hands. Scoop large amounts of your baking soda paste and spread it onto your fireplace. Work from the top down to create a thin layer all over the brick face. Spread extra paste on the inside of the fireplace, since that is where the soot will be the thickest. Pay special attention to the crevices and grooves in between bricks. Focus on any areas of the fireplace are particularly dirty.[6]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • Put on rubber kitchen gloves to protect your hands, or use a clean rag to spread the paste instead.
  3. Let the paste sit for 10 minutes. The baking soda will work to break down grease and grime on your bricks. Allow the paste to sit for about 10 minutes to loosen up the soot. Do not let the paste dry or harden all the way, or it could damage your bricks.[7]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • If your paste does get too dry, spray it with water to loosen it up again.
  4. Scrub the mixture away with an abrasive scrub brush. Use a scrub brush with hard bristles to scrub away the mixture. Dip your brush in water occasionally to wash away the baking soda residue. The mildly abrasive baking soda will work with your brush to scrub away tough soot.[8]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • Do not brush so hard that you damage the bricks themselves.
  5. Wipe down your bricks with warm water and remove the drop cloths. Use a soft sponge dipped in warm water to completely remove any baking soda left on your bricks. Let the fireplace dry completely before you use it again. Remove any drop cloths or towels you put down to catch spills.[9]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 9 Version 3.jpg

[Edit]Cleaning with Vinegar

  1. Combine a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Combine of white vinegar with of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to make sure they are mixed well. Use a clean spray bottle that has not ever had any harsh chemicals in it.[10]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • You can buy empty spray bottles at most home goods and hardware stores.
  2. Spray the inside and outside of the fireplace with the vinegar solution. Working from the top down, spray your vinegar solution all over the bricks. Pay special attention to areas that have a lot of soot, which could be right around the opening of the fireplace. Make sure you have a drop cloth down to catch any drips.[11]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • If you have leftover vinegar solution, you can use it as a natural cleaner for bathrooms and countertops.
  3. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Vinegar is mildly acidic, so it will work to break down the soot and grime stuck onto your bricks. Let the vinegar and water sit on your bricks, but do not let it dry. Dont let it sit for longer than 10 minutes, or the acidity could start to damage your bricks.[12]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 12 Version 3.jpg
  4. Scrub the bricks from the top down with a scrub brush. Dip your scrub brush in warm water and scrub your bricks. Pay special attention to the grooves in between bricks and any areas that have a lot of soot. Scrub at the bricks until the vinegar smell is no longer there.[13]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 13 Version 3.jpg
    • You can sprinkle baking soda over your bricks to remove the vinegar faster. However, this will cause a foaming reaction on your bricks and could create a mess.
  5. Clean your bricks with warm water and remove the drop cloths. Use a soft sponge to quickly spread warm water over all your bricks. Take away any drop cloths or towels you used on the floor around your fireplace. Let your fireplace dry completely before you burn anything in it again.[14]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 14 Version 3.jpg

[Edit]Removing Soot with TSP

  1. Put on gloves to protect your hands. TSP, or trisodium phosphate, can damage your skin if you get it on you directly. Put on rubber kitchen gloves to protect your hands. Avoid touching TSP with your bare hands as much as you can.[15]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 15 Version 2.jpg
    • You can find rubber gloves at most home goods stores.
  2. Mix trisodium phosphate and warm water in a bucket. Combine 8 tbsp (112 g) of TSP and of warm water. Use a plastic bucket that will not come into contact with food later. Stir the mixture until it forms a thin, watery paste.[16]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 16 Version 2.jpg
    • You can buy TSP at most hardware stores.
  3. Use a hard-bristled brush to scrub the mixture into the bricks. Scrub the paste into your bricks on the outside and inside of your fireplace using your brush. Work from the top down, and apply extra paste to areas with more soot. Scrub at the areas to remove the soot. Be careful not to damage the bricks themselves as you scrub, especially if your fireplace is old.[17]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 17 Version 3.jpg
  4. Rinse the bricks with warm water using a sponge. Use a soft sponge to apply warm water all over your bricks. Gently sponge away any TSP residue that is left on your bricks. Rinse your bucket and brushes thoroughly once you are done using them.[18]
    Clean Soot from Brick Step 18 Version 3.jpg
    • If there is still soot left on your bricks, apply more TSP paste and scrub them again.
    • When you're done, remove the dropcloths.

[Edit]Tips

  • Only burn dry, clean wood to keep your fireplace clean for longer.

[Edit]Warnings

  • Never use abrasive chemicals when you clean soot from brick. Many will leave a flammable film which could be dangerous the next time you use your fireplace.
  • Only clean the fireplace when you are certain all ashes are entirely cold. Heat can remain trapped in the ashes for several days after a fire and you could inadvertently burn yourself.

[Edit]Things Youll Need

[Edit]Using Baking Soda

  • Baking soda
  • Drop cloth or towels
  • Gloves or rag
  • Abrasive brush

[Edit]Cleaning with Vinegar

  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Abrasive brush

[Edit]Removing Soot with TSP

  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles (optional)
  • Abrasive brush
  • Sponge

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]References

[Edit]Quick Summary

  1. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf
  2. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf?sfvrsn=6
  3. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf?sfvrsn=6
  4. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf?sfvrsn=6
  5. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf
  6. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf?sfvrsn=6
  7. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf
  8. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf?sfvrsn=6
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo2NFWUtFuQ&feature=youtu.be&t=415
  10. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-brick-fireplace-with-all-natural-cleaners-apartment-therapy-tutorials-216668#:~:targetText=Mix%20equal%20parts%20vinegar%20and,minutes%20and%20spray%20once%20more.
  11. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-brick-fireplace-with-all-natural-cleaners-apartment-therapy-tutorials-216668#:~:targetText=Mix%20equal%20parts%20vinegar%20and,minutes%20and%20spray%20once%20more.
  12. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-brick-fireplace-with-all-natural-cleaners-apartment-therapy-tutorials-216668#:~:targetText=Mix%20equal%20parts%20vinegar%20and,minutes%20and%20spray%20once%20more.
  13. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-a-brick-fireplace-with-all-natural-cleaners-apartment-therapy-tutorials-216668#:~:targetText=Mix%20equal%20parts%20vinegar%20and,minutes%20and%20spray%20once%20more.
  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo2NFWUtFuQ&feature=youtu.be&t=415
  15. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf
  16. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf
  17. https://todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-clean-soot-and-smoke-on-a-fireplace-surround/
  18. http://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/20-cleaning-brickwork.pdf