Everyone enjoys a nice, roaring fire, but very few of us like the black build-up that can accumulate over time. Smoke and soot can billow out and coat your brick or stone. The mantle, the firebox and every other area can become dingy and ugly over time. Most people think this is an impossible cleaning chore due to the dark black stains and the surface they are on, but as with any job, if you have the right tools, it is easy. Follow these easy steps to ensure you always have a clean fireplace.
In order to ensure safe efficient use of your fireplace, it will need regular care and cleaning. Creosote, a flammable tar like substance, accumulates in the chimney and flue and can be hazardous if it is not removed. Give your fireplace and its accessories routine cleaning throughout the wood-burning season to eliminate an accumulation of soot, ashes, and creosote tars. Here are some easy steps to take to keep you fireplace clean longer:
- Burn only seasoned, well-dried wood. This will eliminate soot, smoke and creosote accumulation.
- Inspect the firebox, flue, and chimney annually. Check for creosote build-up or blockage.
- Vacuum the hearth area weekly. Make sure all the embers have been extinguished for at least 12 hours.
- Do not use water to drown a fire unless there is an emergency. It will make a nasty paste out of the ashes.
- Never use an abrasive cleanser inside the fireplace. Many contain dangerous chemicals that will leave a flammable residue.
- When cleaning your fireplace, sprinkle damp coffee grounds over the cooled ashes to keep down the dust.
Soot and Smoke Residue Cleaning:
Most often when people recommend solutions to clean soot and tar off brick, they will suggest a harsh chemical cleanser, something involving a wire brush, or a solution of acid. Each of these methods is either too much effort, or too dangerous to be considered a good way to clean. The following is a short list of outdated brick cleaning methods. These are common, but require special steps or significant effort. For a quick and easy method that is also chemical free, read the section that follows.
Mix one ounce of soap and one ounce of table salt with enough water to make a cream. Rub mixture into brick surface with cloth; allow to dry at least ten minutes and remove with stiff brush. (the stiff brush part sounds like hard work-salt is not known for it’s cleaning ability)
Make a thick mixture of soap or detergent, pumice, a little ammonia and hot water. Paint the mixture on the surface and let dry. Rub off with a wet scrub brush. You are using alkali and a mild abrasive to remove the greasy soil. (quite a mixture…again with the stiff brush)
Shave a bar of naptha soap into a container and add 3 quarts of water. Bring mixture to a full boil until the soap melts. Cool. Add 1 cup ammonia and one pound of pumice. Mix thoroughly. Brush in onto all sooty surfaces and let stand one hour or more. Rub off with a stiff-bristle brush. Rinse “gook” away with warm water, then finish off with a medium to strong detergent and rinse again with warm water. (this sounds too hard to make…too many steps)
Dissolve 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) or Spic & Span in one gallon of hot water. With stiff scrub brush, scrub brick surface. Rinse with plenty of warm water. Repeat if soot or greasy stain is not removed. More TSP may be added if necessary, up to 1 cup per gallon. This is a very strong solution; avoid getting on skin, carpet, or fabrics. (acid is dangerous and better left to the pros)
All of the previous methods involve using a stiff brush to scrub away the soot. Using a scrub brush and water would produce similar results because it is the elbow grease doing the cleaning. Save yourself time and effort when cleaning soot stains from brick, stone walls, carpet and more by using Quick’n Brite.
The Easiest Way to Remove Soot Residue:
Using Quick ‘n Brite is the easiest way to clean hundreds of things all over your home, office or vehicle, but it works great on soot, smoke stains, creosote and tar specifically. It is an enzyme cleaner, so it is designed to break apart and remove organic stains and build-up with little effort. There are no chemicals or harsh substances involved and you won’t have to drive yourself crazy scrubbing either. QnB will make quick work of any soot or tar stain on any surface. You don’t have to worry about it ruining anything you use it on and it is so safe you don’t need to wear gloves when you clean with it. Just apply the cleaner and let it do the work for you. Your fireplace will be left looking like new after you clean it with Quick’n Brite. It is safe for use on stone, brick, marble, slate and any other fireplace material. Black staining of any type caused by burning wood, can be completely removed in order to make your mantle, hearth and other areas look like new again. You can use it on any part, inside and out, and it even works on metal racks and pokers too. Since there are no harsh ingredients, you never have to worry about where you use it, and since it works so well, you will get amazing results quickly and easily.
How To Use It:
STEP 1: PREP THE AREA
Ashes, wood chunks, and other debris will only make the job harder. Removing this stuff first will reduce the time it takes, and allow you to get down to the real problem, all of that black and brown coloring that is ruining the look of your beautiful fireplace. Use a vacuum or broom to remove any loose particles from the area you are going to clean. This way you are only using Quick’n Brite to remove the stain and you are not creating a bigger mess by wetting ashes or other loose chunks. Once all of the problematic chunks have been escorted off the scene, it is time to get your cleaner ready.
STEP 2: PREP YOUR CLEANER
Prep my cleaner? Yep. With Quick n Brite, you always dilute based upon the job you are doing, so sometimes there will be prep involved if you don’t already have it ready. For this mess it will be easiest if you have a supply of full strength paste, along with a bottle of all purpose solution in a spray bottle. To make this solution, simply melt some paste on a low setting, or use the convenient liquid concentrate. You will want to dilute down 3 tablespoons into a quart spray bottle of water. This will mix to form an all purpose spray that you will use to prep the area, but you can also use for any type of regular mess all over your home.
STEP 3: DO THE CLEANING
Once you have your Quick n Brite ready, you will want to spray the whole area down with your all purpose spray. This will serve two purposes. One is to wet the area you are going to clean, and the other is to begin adding on the cleaner. Once you have done this, you are going to want to switch over to the paste, and some sort of abrasive tool for application. This can be anything you want like a scrub brush, or abrasive sponge. You may even want to use a toothbrush or something small to get into crack and/or grout lines. The tool you use will depend upon preference and the surface you are cleaning. If you have a smooth marble fireplace, you probably want to avoid the brush and go with something like our scrubbing cloth that is able to scrub surfaces without harming them.
After you have chosen your tool, you can begin to apply it. This is a pretty nasty stain to clean in most cases, so you need the paste, and you will want to apply it liberally. Take your brush, sponge or cloth and apply the cleaner sort of like you are waxing a car. Use circular motions without really scrubbing until the whole area is covered.
STEP 4: LET IT SIT
This is very important, so we give it it’s own step. For minor staining, let the cleaner sit on your brick or stone for about 10-15 minutes. For more severe looking fireplaces, you will want to wait 30 or more minutes. This gives the cleaner time to work. It will break apart the black stuff and make it easy for you to remove completely. It can be tempting to just scrub away like you do with regular cleaners, but this will only make your job harder. You will notice much of the dirtiness wanting to come off right away, but if you let it sit, you will be able to remove several layers at a time, so your job will take less time, less effort, and fewer reapplications.
STEP 5: FINISH THE JOB
Once you have let it sit, it is time to actually remove the build up from your brick or stone. If you are cleaning an area outdoors, then this job is easy, but if you are inside you need to be a bit more careful. For outdoor cleaning, simply take your hose or a bucket of water to rinse the area and flush off all of that soot, tar and dirt. You may want to use your brush or sponge again, just to help it along. If you are indoors, the easiest, and least mess prone way to go is using a damp terry cloth towel. Simply wet it under the tap with warm or hot water. The heat will increase the cleaning power of your quick n brite and make things a little bit easier. So, just take this towel and sort of buff the stain away. You will see, right away, that the black stuff will come off of your fireplace and transfer to the towel. The towel will get totally dirty as your brick or stone fireplace begins to look better and better. For regular cleaning, this will do the trick and make the surface look like new. For tougher build-up, or if it has been a long time, you will probably want to go over it again for best results. If there are many layers of staining and soot built up on your fireplace, it is possible that it will take 2-3 applications to get it perfectly clean.
With Quick n Brite anyone can achieve professional looking results when cleaning the brick or stone on their fireplace. You can use it on the hearth, the mantle, the screen, glass doors, surrounding walls, the carpet and more. QnB will remove smoke, soot, creosote and pitch. The pictures on the left are actual photos that are not in any way doctored. We used a SINGLE application of QnB to get these results. If we had applied it again, we could have gotten the stone even cleaner. You can notice a significant difference in color from the before to after pictures with only using it once. All areas are lighter in color, and more natural looking now that the layers of black gunk have been washed away. This particular stone has probably never been cleaned prior to this, and there was very little soot or smoke staining left on the rocks after going over it once. If we had applied the cleaner another time it would have completely removed decades of grime to fully rejuvenate the look of each part.
Buy it for your fireplace and use it everywhere else when you are done. Quick’n Brite is the best stain fighter, tub and tile cleaner, carpet shampoo and more. It has hundreds of uses unlike other specialty cleaners. It is also 100% biodegradable and chemical-free. It is totally safe around children and pets, yet works better than virtually anything else on the market.
In case you are still undecided, Quick’n Brite comes with a full money back guarantee from the manufacturer and a 100% satisfaction guarantee from us. If you are not happy, or it doesn’t work like we say it does, you can return it for a full refund.
Still Not Convinced? Read more about cleaning the inside of a fireplace.