Dirt, dust and debris settle on everything in your house. While dirt may not be so obvious on certain surfaces, your stone fireplace will inevitably get plenty of it. From this point of view, it requires regular cleaning – both basic maintenance and deeper cleaning every now and then. Natural stone can draw microscopic pits and fire byproducts, which can even cause a fire.
Getting rid of all these dangers is not just safe, but it will also keep your fireplace in a perfect condition. A clean stone fireplace looks good and can last for a longer time. Now, what do you need to know in terms of cleaning and how do you do it like a pro?
How To Prepare When Cleaning Rock Fireplaces – Using A Scrub Brush
Learning how to clean stone fireplace is fairly simple and starts with some preparation. Whether you perform routing or deep cleaning, rock fireplaces require working on the firebox first – the part where the fire actually burns. At the same time, clean the surroundings as well. You will need the following tools and materials:
- Plastic tarp
- Metal container
- Dust mask
- Vacuum cleaner with a brush
- Drop cloths
- Small shovel
- Rubber gloves
- Plain water
Make sure your stone fireplace is cool before starting the procedure. It should be cool for at least 10 before performing any cleaning procedures. Grab the drop cloths and put them on the floor for protection. If there is any furniture nearby, it should be protected as well. Cleaning products like trisodium phosphate can cause irreversible damage.
Put the dust mask on, as well as the gloves. Pick up the shovel and get rid of all the ashes left inside the stone fireplace. All the ash should go inside the metallic container – a lid with tight fitting is excellent for the job. Fill it up with some cold water, close the lid and store it away from your house until you can get rid of it appropriately.
Bring the vacuum cleaner in – make sure it has a scrub brush attachment. A chimney sweep around the fireplace will grab the leftovers. Start at the top and move towards the bottom. Eye protection may also be required when dealing with the chimney residue or chemical cleaners.
How To Clean Stone Fireplace – Routine Maintenance
Maintenance problems can arise when least expected, hence the necessity of using the right cleaner on a regular basis. There are more cleaners for this operation though. Your fireplace is now prepared to go through a proper routine cleaning procedure. Such procedures must be performed weekly – they will help you get rid of stains, dirt, soot and grit, which are quite common, even after a single fire.
So, what kind of tools do you need for routine cleaning?
- Dish soap
- Wood stir stick
- Dust mask
- A couple of clean rags
- Small bucket
- Stiff scrub brush
Get less than half a cup of dish soap and mix it with a quart of relatively hot water. Unless your fireplace has never been cleaned, a bit of dish soap is more than enough to clean the stone fireplace. Grab the wood stir stick and stir until the soap is no longer visible – it should be fully dissolved.
Put the mask and gloves on for protection, then get the brush into the solution. Scrub the fireplace all over. Start at the top and move towards the bottom – insist on the grout, as it tends to grab a lot of dirt. You can be a bit aggressive, as some dirt can get stubborn.
Empty the bucket, then fill it up with some cold water. It should be fresh – no dish soap now. Get a clean rag, moist it and clean the fireplace all over again. Make sure there is no soap left – get all the leftover dirt as well.
Grab the second rag – it should be dry – and wipe the fireplace clean. You will get most of the moisture away, but it will not be perfectly dry. Let it air dry naturally – it will most likely take hours. Let it dry overnight to make sure – you need it to be perfectly dry before igniting the fire.
How To Deep Clean Rock Fireplaces
A deep clean should be performed once a year – or more times a year if you like the fire to warm your home on a regular basis. Some deposits of soot and dirt cannot be removed with a routine procedure, not to mention stains. Deep cleaning is also needed before the first fire of the season, so do it as the weather goes chilly.
You will need the following tools and materials:
- Trisodium phosphate TSP
- 5 stiff scrub brushes
- Vacuum cleaner
- A couple of wood stir sticks
- 4 rags
- 2 sponges
Put all the safety gear on – get some long sleeve clothes too, as TSP can be harmful for your skin. Get half a cup of it, as well as three quarts of relatively hot water. Put everything in the bucket and stir. TSP is great against grease, stubborn dirt and stains.
Give the grate and andirons a good scrub. Remove them from the fireplace, get a brush in the TSP solution and get scrubbing – do it gently. If there is lots of soot on these grates, perform the procedure outdoors.
Use a moist rag to clean the TSP, then dry the grates with another rag and bring everything inside – a bit of air drying helps too. Put the grates on a cloth to prevent damaging the floor.
Get inside the fireplace and scrub everything – walls, including the back one, as well as the flooring. Start at the top of the walls, from the back. As for the flooring, begin at the back and bring the dirt forward. Use a brush to loosen all the dirt deposits.
Bring the vacuum cleaner in – ideally, you should use a traditional unit with a hose, rather than a modern robot. Get all the debris out of the way.
There will still be chemicals around, so the cleaning is not over. Get another brush inside the TSP solution and perform the exact same procedure – walls and flooring. Grab another rag and wipe everything clean – you want to get rid of the TSP. Use a dry rag to wipe everything clean. You can then put the grates back.
Grab a clean sponge, dunk it in TSP and clean the surrounding o the fireplace. Work on both the grout and stone and let the solution dissolve hard deposits of dirt for about five to 10 minutes. Get a brush and scrub the same area, then do the same with a rag and clean water.
Do you still have stains around? Make a new TSP solution with a higher concentration and apply it on the affected area, let it sit for 10 minutes and then scrub before wiping.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still not sure how to clean stone fireplace by the book? Still worried about stains and stubborn dirt?
How do you get stains out of a stone fireplace?
TSP makes an excellent choice against stained rock. Ideally, you should get rid of it pretty fast to avoid giving it time. If you have longterm stain, the above mentioned TSP solution should get the job done. You can always come up with a higher concentration paste if stains are still stubborn – for example, you can mix an ounce of TSP and a cup of water – stir and scrub.
How do you clean the front of a stone fireplace?
A routine procedure does not involve too much work – a bit of dish soap and water will get the job done. If you perform deep cleaning – such as before the cold season, TSP is highly recommended to work on stubborn dirt.
How do you restore a stone fireplace?
It depends on what you mean by restoring a stone fireplace. The above mentioned procedures will keep it clean and restore its fresh appearance. If you have an old house and the last time you cleaned the fireplace was in 1985, you might need to hire a professional. Even so, you can never be 100% sure that you will restore the original fresh appearance of your rock fireplace.
As a short final conclusion, you do not have to be an expert to clean rock fireplaces. The whole job should take about half an hour if you do a proper routine cleaning procedure. Are you up for a deeper cleaning operation? Give yourself an hour or two. It obviously depends on how dirty the fireplace is – as well as how often you use it.
Maintenance problems are common in stone fireplaces simply because people fail to look after them – give you unit proper cleaning on a regular basis and you should never have to worry about soot, stains and dirt.