How to clean creosote from brick

Written by anthony smith
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Brick fireplaces provide warmth and beauty, but eventually they need cleaning. It is a job worth undertaking in order to get rid of unsightly soot and creosote build-up, even though the residue can present challenges. Normal household cleaners are usually ineffective on these type of stains, so it is necessary to use more a more powerful substance.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Stiff nylon scrub brush
  • Plastic dust sheet
  • Tri-Sodium Phosphate (known as TSP)
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Plastic bucket
  • Water
  • Rags

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  1. 1

    Lay down plastic to protect the surrounding area. Wear a long sleeve shirt and heavy trousers; put on the goggles and rubber gloves.

  2. 2

    Brush the brick firmly with the wire brush in order to loosen the soot and creosote.

  3. 3

    Mix a solution of 6 tbsp of TSP, 1 cup of chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of warm water.

  4. 4

    Scrub the brick with the nylon brush, repeatedly dipping it into the solution frequently as you go.

  5. 5

    Rinse multiple times, using clean water each time. Use a clean rag to remove the majority of the water from the bricks. Allow them to air dry.

Tips and warnings

  • TSP is a very caustic substance. Take extra care when handling it and follow the instructions on the label.

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