How long it takes to clean a brick fireplace depends on its size, composition, brick age, and how dirty it is. The fastest way to clean it would be to look in your local phone book for chimney cleaning professionals or specialists in damage restoration.
For the do-it-yourselfer, here is what you’ll need. Since some recipes for cleaning a fireplace include caustic substances, use rubber gloves. You’ll need newspaper, a painter’s drop cloth or other material to protect the floor around your fireplace. You’ll also need a bucket and a stiff-bristle scrub brush or an old paint brush and lots of large sponges. After your fireplace is clean, use a sealant to make future cleanings easier. The most widely recommended sealants contain tung oil.
There are many recipes for fireplace cleaning agents. Here are a few:
- At any automotive supply store, buy the hand cleaner mechanics use. Wipe it on, leave it for a few minutes and wipe clean.
- Make a paste out of soap or detergent, pumice, ammonia and hot water. Paint the mixture on the surface and let it dry. Rub it off with a wet scrub brush and rinse.
- Shave a bar of naptha soap into three quarts of water and boil it until the soap melts. After it cools, add one cup of ammonia and one pound of pumice. Brush the mixture onto all sooty surfaces and let it stand for at least one hour. Brush the residue off and rinse the area with detergent and warm water.
Always allow the cleaned surfaces to dry before applying sealant.