How to Properly Clean a Brickwork Chimney and Fireplace

Using your fireplace is a great way to create a cozy, warm space for you and your family to relax. However, the more use it gets, the dirtier the bricks get. Smoke and soot billow up and out and create creosote buildup both inside your chimney and around the edges of your fireplace. To keep your home looking nice, and avoid any dangers, you should clean your brickwork chimney and fireplace at least once a year. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how to properly clean a brickwork chimney and fireplace.

Stay Safe and be Prepared

First and foremost, you need to stay safe during the process. While you might see it as just another chore, some of the chemicals you use can be harmful or irritating to your skin and you’ll want to contain the mess.

Use Gloves

To avoid any problems, wear gloves while you clean. The cleaning products can be irritating to your skin or cause reactions and the bricks are hard on your hands. After you’re done cleaning, take off the gloves and have a shower to rinse off any contaminants that may have touched your body.

Protect Your Eyes

For the same reasons above, you should wear goggles to protect your eyes. Loose mortar, dirt, and grit are likely to splatter off of the wall and cleaning products are extremely harmful to your eyes.

Ventilate the Room

To avoid any problems, make sure you open the windows and keep the chimney flue open for the best ventilation.

Protect the Room

To avoid any damages, you need to prepare the room by protecting your carpet and floors. Surround your fireplace with a tarp and extend it to cover any nearby wood floors or carpeting.

Cleaning a Brickwork Chimney

Once you’ve properly prepared, it’s time to start cleaning your brickwork chimney and fireplace. The steps aren’t too difficult, but don’t try to rush through the process.

  1. Vacuum the Bricks

    Before applying any cleaning products, you should take a soft brush attachment on your vacuum and lightly vacuum all of the bricks. This will help you remove any loose debris from the bricks or mortar that would otherwise interfere with cleaning. Don’t apply too much pressure, but make sure you do a thorough job.

  2. Clean Sturdy Bricks with an Ammonia Mixture

    If your chimney and fireplace has newer bricks, or some are sturdier than others, you can use an ammonia mixture. If you have older bricks or bricks that are deteriorating, do not use ammonia. If you want to stay on the safe side, opt for the cleaning methods below.

  3. Scrub the Fireplace for Light Stains

    First you’ll want to tackle the lighter stains. Doing so will help you avoid putting excess stress on bricks that don’t need a deep clean. We recommend using dishwasher detergent (1/2 cup) and water (4 cups). You can mix them in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto bricks. Scrub lightly and rinse with warm water. If this works, you can stop here.

  4. Opt for Borax

    If dishwashing detergent didn’t do the trick, use 2 tablespoons of borax, 1 tablespoon of dishwasher detergent, and 4 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray on and use a circular motion to scrub away tough stains. Rinse with warm water and check your progress.

  5. Tackle Tough Stains and Grease

    If you still have tough stains, it’s time to use trisodium phosphate (TSP). You don’t need much of this, only 1/8 cup with 1 gallon of water, but it will do the job. Mix the solution in a large bucket, dip in your brush, and scrub away tough stains. Rinse with warm water to finish the clean. Do not get TSP on your skin and take extra precaution when using it to clean.

Finding a Professional

Cleaning your brickwork chimney can be a lot of work. It takes time and precision if you want to ensure that it’s done properly. If you’d rather leave the cleaning up to the professionals, contact Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. today. We pride ourselves on our commitment to quality work and will make sure your brickwork chimney is in the best condition possible. During the professional cleaning, we’ll do a thorough inspection to ensure that the tuckpointing is safe and up-to-date. We can also take care of your yearly chimney inspection to ensure that it’s safe for your family to use as the weather starts to get colder. With no hidden fees, Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. is here to make sure that the job is done right, without any added stress. To get the best masonry in the Chicagoland area, call Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. today at 708-1951.