How to Clean Burnt Bricks

Written by sal marco
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How to Clean Burnt Bricks
Cleaning burnt brick restores its beauty. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Fireplaces are more than architectural detail in many homes. Homeowners use their fireplace not only as a source of ambience, but also as an alternate heating method in the home. Outdoor brick fireplaces offer family and friends a gathering area to socialise. Lighting fires in a brick fireplace leads to black, soot-covered bricks that appear burnt, making the fireplace lose its visual appeal. There are many methods available for cleaning burnt brick. All cleaning techniques involve a great deal of effort to remove stubborn fire stains.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tarps or newspaper
  • Bucket
  • All-purpose detergent
  • Cola
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Hose
  • Washing powder
  • Bowl or shallow container
  • Ground pumice
  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Respirator
  • Oven cleaner
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Protective jumpsuit

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  1. 1

    Lay tarps or thick layers of newspaper around indoor fireplaces to protect floors and furniture while cleaning burnt brick.

  2. 2

    Pour 1 gallon of water into a bucket; add 1/2 cup all-purpose detergent and 1 litre of cola. Dip a sponge into the cleaning mixture. Place the saturated sponge on the brick and press the sponge to distribute the cleaner over the brick. Continue until the cleaning mixture covers all burnt brick. Allow the mixture to remain on the brick for 15 to 20 minutes. Scrub the brick with a stiff bristle scrub brush. Sponge the brick with clean water, or if it is an outdoor fireplace, rinse with a hose.

  3. 3

    Pour 1 cup of heavy-duty washing powder into a bucket and add 1 gallon of water. Stir the ingredients to mix. Pour 0.227kg. ground pumice into a bowl or shallow container. Dip a scrub brush into the liquid cleaning mixture and scrub the burnt bricks surface. Dip the scrub brush back into the cleaning mixture and immediately into the ground pumice to pick up pumice on the brush. Scrub the bricks to coat them with pumice. Continue to dip the brush into the liquid cleaner, and immediately dip it into the pumice and scrub until stains disappear. Rinse with plain water.

  4. 4

    Put on safety goggles, respirator and rubber gloves. Spray a commercially available oven cleaner onto the bricks. Let the oven cleaner sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub the brick surface with a scrub brush. Sponge clear water over the bricks or spray the bricks with a hose to remove the oven cleaner residue.

  5. 5

    Don safety goggles, protective jumpsuit, rubber gloves and a respirator. Combine 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of water. Submerge a scrub brush into the TSP solution, and scrub the bricks. Continue to alternate between wetting the scrub brush and scrubbing until bricks are clean. Flush thoroughly with plain water.

Tips and warnings

  • Begin with the most gentle method and progress to harsher methods if burnt stains remain on bricks.
  • Work in a well ventilated area when using oven cleaner or TSP.
  • Follow safety precautions when using TSP, as it is a harsh chemical.

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