How to Clean and Maintain a Brick Veneer Fireplace

What You'll Need
Mild detergent
Table salt
Trisodium phosphate
Bucket of water
Industrial brick cleaning solution
Rubber gloves
Soft sponges, cloth and scrub brushes
Old toothbrush

A brick veneer fireplace adds character to your living room. The fireplace has a clean finish with veneer and bricks. Although the construction of the brick veneer fireplace is easier and less expensive than regular fireplaces, the cleaning and maintenance of this type of fireplace may be more difficult. You will have to clean the joints and this is usually very time consuming.

Step 1 – Prepare Cleaning Solution

Use a mild detergent to clean the bricks. Mix the detergent with 5 tbsp of table salt until you obtain a consistent paste. This paste will help remove the soot and debris from the bricks. When there is an accumulation of dirt and soot, you will need a more aggressive cleaning solution. Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to clean the bricks. TSP can be mixed with water. Use 1 part TSP and 10 parts water. Protect your hands using rubber gloves when you handle TSP. You will also need a bucket of water and should keep the temperature of the water warm so that your hands are comfortable.

The brick veneer fireplace joints are more problematic to clean, so you will need a more powerful solution. You will need to purchase  industrial brick cleaning solution from a hardware store for the difficult areas.

Step 2 – Apply the Cleaner on the Fireplace

Apply the paste on the bricks using a soft sponge or a piece of cloth. With a different sponge, apply the industrial brick cleaning solution in the joints. Leave the solutions to set in for up to 15 minutes.

Step 3 – Scrub the Fireplace

Using a scrub brush dipped in water, scrub the bricks and then the joints, starting from the top. This way, if water drips on the bottom parts, you will be able to clean more efficiently. You can use an old toothbrush for the hard to reach places and smaller joints. Rinse the brush if you notice that it becomes dirty.

Step 4 – Rinse

After scrubbing the entire fireplace, rinse using a mop and dipping it a bucket of water. Use several buckets of water if the water becomes dirty. Make sure you remove the cleaning solution from all areas and check the joints. If the cleaning solution is not removed, it will dry and may leave stains and dirt.

After you have properly rinsed the brick veneer fireplace, allow the space to dry before you use the fireplace. The cleaning should be performed at least 4 times per year. If you use the fireplace regularly, you should clean it a little more regularly. If your brick veneer fireplace is not sealed, it will attract more dirt and will be more difficult to clean so be sure to seal the brick veneer fireplace using masonry sealer.