4 Tips for Cleaning a Fireplace Hearth

fireplace with beige brick hearth
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need

Cleaning a fireplace hearth can be frustrating if you aren’t familiar with the process. It is also tricky since fireplace bricks, although they look really hard and weigh a lot, are actually not that solid. They contain a lot of pores or tiny holes that soil, grime, and dust can seep into and build up.

1. Drop Cloths

This is probably the most obvious tip there is that most homeowners take for granted—the need to use drop cloths when cleaning their fireplace hearths. You want to lessen the amount of work and time you spend cleaning the hearth and having all the dirt fall into drop cloths rather than directly on the floor will prevent you from having to do any extra cleaning.

2. Cleaners

Although you can always purchase a fireplace cleaner in your grocery store, the more effective ones are usually mixed and not bought. To make a good fireplace cleaner, simply mix together any kind of basic, mild cleaner that does not contain ammonia and an ounce of bleach in a gallon of lukewarm water. Get a rag and dunk it into the solution. Wet your fireplace with the mixture being careful not to put too much of the mixture that it actually runs because this causes deep stains. You can then proceed to vigorous brushing until you are satisfied with the amount of dirt that you are rinsing out. If you can see any stains left, use phosphoric acid on the portion.

3. Stubborn Stains

fireplace with brick mantle

Of course, there are those deep-set stains that refuse to be removed even if you crank up your scrubbing. For those circumstances, simply mix up some heavy duty cleaner (making sure still it doesn’t contain ammonia), bleach and diatomaceous earth and apply the mixture on the affected sections of your fireplace. Be very cautious with using the poultice on dark bricks. The poultice works by bleaching the bricks to a noticeably fairer color. If you apply too much, your crimson colored brick might turn really pale. You can be more liberal with the poultice if your fireplace is colored white or any pale color.

4. Vacuum Cleaners

To make cleaning a lot easier for you, use your vacuum cleaner to clean out all the dust and ashes from your fireplace. Not all kinds of vacuum cleaners are tough enough for the job as the ashes from your fireplace can easily clog up home vacuums. A shop vacuum is the best device for the job.

Of course, you should take out the items found in your fireplace that are too huge to fit into the vacuum cleaner. Such things include pieces of wood that were not burned. Only when you’re done pulling out those items should you begin vacuuming your fireplace.