Cleaning Troubles: This Is How To Clean A Stone Fireplace

Not a fan of electric fireplaces? Stone fireplaces are a beautiful addition to any living room decoration, and they are suitable for both modern and traditional homes. They can be used as a decorative focal point or as a soothing and restful backdrop. They are a smart investment due to their design which blends well with any type of interior. Also, you can build your own outdoor fireplace to enjoy all year long.

Traditional living room with stone fireplace

After a few seasons of use, though, any log burner or stone fireplace will need cleaning to restore its natural beauty and remove any layers of dust, dirt, and any other residue. Luckily, restoring your fireplace to one that sparkles and shines isn’t a job that requires a professional, and you can definitely do it on your own! Here’s how to clean yours step-by-step.

What you need to know before your cleaning session

To begin with, stay away from strong chemicals . Chemical cleaners can harm stone fireplaces by destroying the natural makeup of the stone and causing it to degrade. Avoid using any cleaning solutions that aren’t designed for stone, especially those with citrus components, which are naturally acidic.

Furthermore, certain cleaners may leave behind a thin coating of residue containing flammable components, which is definitely not something you want near your fireplace! Making your own chemical cleaners is one method to avoid harsh chemical ones.

There are many alternative cleaning recipes, but If making your own cleaning agent isn’t your thing, you can always buy a stone-specific enzyme cleaner!

Although the cleaning techniques for both indoor and outdoor natural-stone fireplaces are the same, they will be exposed to various environments and may be susceptible to different sorts of damage. An outdoor one, for example, can be exposed to damp leaves, insects, and direct UV rays, making it vulnerable to photochemical reactions like fading.

An indoor fireplace that is used often during the colder months, on the other hand, may accumulate soot and debris more quickly. This, of course, is dependent on your personal preferences and usage. Both types of fireplaces will require frequent maintenance.

Sweeping your fireplace is a vital first step in stone care. Organic waste and the soot and ash that accumulate from typical use may be present in outdoor fireplaces. 

Plus, all natural-stone fireplaces should be cleaned on a regular basis and wiped off with a cloth whenever they come into contact with another substance, such as liquids, candle wax, beverage spills, and so on. Any material with a pH that isn’t neutral could permanently discolour your natural clean stone.

It’s necessary to know certain specifics about the sort of stone you have before learning how to clean it. If you have a natural one in your house, you should already be familiar with the care and upkeep of it as well as the surrounding areas such as the mantle and flooring. Many people choose highly durable naturalmaterialssuch as bluestone, slate, or flagstone for an outdoor fireplace

Stone fireplace in modern living room

What stains and damages do you have to face?

If the fireplace hasn’t been cleaned regularly, the chances of lasting stains and etching are substantially higher. Although it is susceptible to the same kind of stains as a natural-stone countertop, there are a few common stains that we particularly encounter more frequently, such as:

1. Moisture damage

It can occur when moisture seeps through the floor, chimneys leak, and pools accumulate in or near outdoor fireplaces, causing efflorescence. This will manifest as a crystalline salt build-up or a powdery salt deposit.

2. Fire and smoke damage

This is the most prevalent sort of stain observed on fireplaces, especially older natural-stone ones. The effects of smoke and fire will look black and sooty.

3. Organic stains

Leaves, bark, bird droppings, insects, and other organic elements leave a pinkish-brown stain that is visible once the object has been removed from the stone. As you can imagine, this applies to outdoor fireplaces.

4. Stains that are biological

These stains are distinct from organic stains in that they are caused by algae, mould, moss, fungi, or lichens, and they are more likely to appear on outdoor stone. After the biological material has been eliminated, the stain mark will remain.

5. Other potential stains

Other stains, such as inorganic metal stains, paint stains, ink stains, water build-up, beverage spills, and etch marks, can also happen. They might seem like less trouble, but you still need to take care of them.

Hand in pink glove with rag cleaning stone fireplace

Preparing the fireplace before cleaning

Do an initial cleaning of the outside of the fireplace at least once a month before you start. When there is a build-up of soot on the inside of the firebox, it should be cleaned. If the fireplace is used frequently, it may need to be cleaned a few times a year. 

Use a tarp over the hearth to cover the area surrounding the fireplace and duct-tape the tarp to the ground. This is necessary to protect the fireplace and floor from cleaning chemicals. You may either buy a tarp or use pound store shower curtains. 

Cover the space surrounding the tarp with towels or blankets. Any dripping or flowing cleaning solution will be caught here. Only use towels or blankets that you aren’t concerned about becoming extremely dirty. Sweep up as much ash and dust as you can with a broom and dustpan or a vacuum cleaner

You can also sweep the area surrounding the fireplace hearth, dust the fireplace with a smaller bristle brush, and pour some water on the fireplace. 

How to clean your stone fireplace step-by-step

Cleaning stone fireplaces will prevent the accumulation of soot, dust, and grit. Allowing your fireplace to become unclean will make it appear unsightly. Here are a few simple DIY cleaning methods that can be done with widely available cleaning products:

Dish soap

Dish soap would be sufficient to remove light layers of soot and dirt if you follow these steps:

Step 1

Mix a quarter cup of dish soap with a quarter of warm water to get a weak solution but avoid using hot water. To thoroughly mix it, use a stirring stick. 

Step 2

Scrub the fireplace with a stiff bristle brush dipped in the solution. Scrub the stone and grout lines from top to bottom to remove the trapped grit and dirt.

Step 3

Drain the soapy water from the bucket and replace it with cold water. Wipe the remaining soap and grime from the stone with a clean towel dipped in the bucket. Repeat until it appears to be clean and fresh.

Step 4

Before using the fireplace again, dab it with a dry rag to absorb the moisture and let it dry in the air. Plus, you might want to consider using a brick and stone sealant to give yourself a head start on cleaning it the next time.

All purpose cleaner in spray bottle

All-purpose cleaner

Step 1

Spray an all-purpose cleaner all around the fireplace. Spread the cleaner around the fireplace with a sponge until it’s completely covered.

Step 2

Make a mild soapy solution with warm water and dilute it. Scrape the sticky dust and grit off the stone using a scrub brush. It will take some effort, but the warm and cosy night that follows will be well worth it.

Step 3

Reapply the all-purpose cleaner and scrub at the same time as you spray. Do this for a while or until it’s completely clean. If any filth remains, repeat the process with the mild soap solution. Continue the process until you’re happy with the outcome. Before igniting the fire, let it air dry.

Vinegar

Step 1

In a small bucket, mix a cup of vinegar with 4 litres of water. Stir the mixture thoroughly. The ideal type to use is white vinegar, but you can use any sort you have on hand.

Step 2

Wipe the exteriors with a clean cotton rag dipped in the solution. To avoid vinegar pouring on the floor, start at the top and work your way down. Wipe the cracks and crannies between the rocks with a soft cloth.

Step 3

Scrape out the sticky soot, grime, and grit with the scrub brush dampened in the solution. 

Step 4

Examine the brick fireplace for any lingering dirt particles after scrubbing thoroughly for some minutes. Scrub them again, then reach out to the corners with a toothbrush.

Step 5

Wipe away any residual vinegar using a wet towel. Dab the regions with a soft cotton towel to absorb the wetness. Allow it to dry completely before relighting the fire.

Trisodium phosphate

It is a powerful degreasing and deep cleaning chemical. You can find it at any home improvement store, and it can quickly remove thick, stubborn stains by following these steps:

Step 1

Dissolve half a cup of trisodium phosphate in a 4-litre bucket of boiling water and use a stirring stick to give it a thorough mix. Remember to put on your safety gear because this is a powerful chemical.

Step 2

Vigorously scrape off the hard dirt and soot accumulation using the solution to dampen the scrub brush. This one will require a lot of time and work, so save it for the weekend. Make sure to reach out to the nooks and crannies as well.

Step 3

If the dirt doesn’t come free in some places, form a thick paste using the same ingredients. Apply it to the rough regions with your hands while wearing rubber gloves. Scrub vigorously until the dirt begins to dislodge.

Step 4

Clean with a sponge dipped in cold, clean water. Clean it up till you’re happy with how it looks, and then allow at least 12 hours for air drying.

Old country stone fireplace

There you have it. You can’t possibly go wrong with this. Now, you can enjoy your stone fireplace once again! This guide showed you the right way and some brilliant methods! Follow our cleaning tips and get started right away so that your house will look as warm as it feels! And if you happen to have an oil painting next to your fireplace, learn how to clean that too!

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