Stone Fireplace Cleaning Tips

A stone fireplace.

Stone fireplace cleaning can seem like a daunting task. However, if you follow this advice, your fireplace will soon look like new.

Throw Salt on the Fire

Regular fireplace users insist that if you throw salt onto a roaring fire, soot stains around the stone fireplace will disappear. However, it may be that the stains have become engrained and are beyond this treatment, in which case you need to spend some time and money on the task.

Clean up Regularly

The more often you clean up, the less dense sooty deposits will be and the easier the task will seem. If you brush soot from the fireplace with a soft cleaning brush once a week, then the soot will not have time to solidify and will fall in a soft powder.

Avoid Household Cleaners

If the soot has solidified into an unsightly stain on your fireplace, remember that smoke stains are carbon deposits so they will be greasy. Resist the temptation to use bleach, as this can whiten or discolor stone fireplaces. Other household chemicals can bond with soot to form stains that are even more difficult to remove than the original mark. In the first instance, clean your stone fireplace with a stiff brush and some hot water.

Trisodium Phosphate: A Last Resort

If water and a stiff brush do not work, you may have to resort to trisodium phosphate. This is a dangerous chemical and you will need to take adequate precautions. Use protective glasses, a mask and gloves; and make sure that floors and furniture are covered so that the chemical does not damage them.

Create a solution that is relatively weak by mixing ½ cup of trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of water. Using a bottle with a spray top (like the ones you might use for gardening), moisten the soot stain by spraying it with water. Then apply the trisodium phosphate in a circular motion using a thin wire brush. Do not use excessive force when scrubbing, as you may cause damage to the fireplace. Rinse the substance off the stone by spraying again, wiping the moisture away with a cloth. You may need to spray the stone a few times to get it clean.

Seal the Stone

When you consider what hard work is involved in stone fireplace cleaning, it is a good idea to use a sealant to protect the fireplace. Once you have sealed your fireplace, use stone soap every month or so. This will leave a dirt-repellent layer on the surface of the stone every time you clean it (a bit like polishing your car).

Cleaning your stone fireplace isn't too difficult with these tips. Keeping it properly cleaned will also help avoid potential hazards.