How to Clean a Stone Fireplace

A Simple Cleaning Routine to Get Your Fireplace Ready for the Winter in Style

You might be thinking that your stone fireplace is clean enough, but the truth is that the dust and dirt can be hiding in the lighter patina of your stone fireplace. There can also be a buildup of dirt, creosote, soot, and dust in the textured surface of your fireplace especially if it is made of natural stone like slate, limestone, or granite.

Cleaning your fireplace is very important to prevent chimney fires, and prevent the room from getting smelly from creosote or dirty from the soot or ash. In this list, you will find the preparation you need to do before cleaning, a simpler routine cleaning ritual, and a more heavy-duty deep cleaning ritual.

First You Have to Do the Prep

These are some steps to keep your working area around the fireplace clean. You don’t want to be cleaning more after being done with the fireplace! These steps should be done before any cleaning, whether a routine or deep clean.

Things You Will Need

  • Painter’s cloth
  • Plastic sheet
  • A compact shovel
  • Metal container
  • Protective gloves
  • Dustproof mask
  • Water
  • A vacuum with a brush

Step 1

Let your fireplace cool down for at least 12 hours after you last use it to start. Put the painter’s cloth on the floor in front of the fireplace and use the plastic sheet to protect nearby furniture from the dust.

Step 2

Next, put on your protective gloves and dustproof mask, then use the shovel to scoop up the remaining ash and dispose of them in an airtight box that is filled with water. Be sure to keep them outside your house and away from flammable materials if you are not disposing of them immediately.

Step 3

Now keep your gloves and mask on and use your vacuum to clean up the dust from around the fireplace. Use the brush attachment to dislodge the gathered dust. This will help reduce build-up and make your clean-up easier.

Here Is a Routine Cleaning to Follow Regularly

This cleaning ritual is for the days you are using the fireplace regularly. This should be ideally done about once a week, depending on how often you use the fireplace. It is a simple process for keeping your fireplace free from soot, dirt, and grit so that you can sit by it clean and cozy.

Things You Will Need

  • A bucket
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Water
  • A stick to stir
  • Protective gloves
  • Dustproof mask
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Cleaning rags

Step 1

Put a quart of warm water in the bucket and dissolve a quarter cup of dishwashing soap into it. Use the stick to stir it firmly till it is completely mixed. This solution is all you need to clean a not very sooty fireplace.

Step 2

Once the mixture is ready, put on your masks and gloves and use the scrub brush and the soapy water to scrub the fireplace, starting from the top and going to the bottom. The brush will help remove any trapped grit and grout in the stone.

Step 3

Replace the soapy water with fresh cold water and soak one of the cleaning rags in it. Use the soaked rag to wipe down the fireplace to remove the soap and dirt in one or two passes.

Step 4

Use a different dry cleaning rag to dab the fireplace and get the excess moisture out. Now let the fireplace air-dry completely before lighting your next fire in it.

Here Is a Deep Cleaning Ritual to Do Seasonally

This is a more heavy-duty cleaning routine that is for cleaning your fireplace just before the fall or winter months to remove the creosote buildup from the summer months. This routine includes cleaning the firebox and the stone surroundings of the fireplace as well.

This can also be used to clean up your fireplace after you have been using it regularly and see build-up despite the routine cleaning. Or if you forgot to do the routine clean-up entirely as you got into the lazy holiday mood!

If you are someone who doesn’t use their fireplace regularly, then use this for a spring cleaning once you see about an eighth of an inch of buildup in your fireplace.

Things You Will Need

  • Protective gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Respirator mask
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) powder
  • Water
  • Large bucket
  • Sticks for stirring
  • Stiff-bristle scrub brushes
  • Cleaning rags
  • Vacuum with hose add-on or hand vacuum
  • Soft sponges

Step 1

Make sure you are wearing a long-sleeved shirt and full pants. Put on the mask and gloves. Mix half a cup of trisodium phosphate powder with three quarts of warm water in the bucket and mix well with a stirring stick. The trisodium phosphate powder will help degrease and heavy-duty clean the creosote and smoke stains.

Step 2

If possible, take the grate and andirons outside for cleaning as there will be a lot of soot build-up that will be removed from them. Use the trisodium phosphate solution and a scrub brush to clean them with gentle but firm strokes.

Step 3

Use fresh water and a different rag to wipe down the grate and andirons to remove the trisodium phosphate solution. Then wipe them dry with a fresh dry rag and set them aside on the painter’s cloth.

Step 4

Use a dry scrub brush to loosen the dirt and soot in the firebox. Start from the top on the sidewalls and go down, then go come from the back to the front on the floor to clean as you go.

Step 5

Using the vacuum you have, clean up the debris and dust that the scrubbing has dislodged.

Step 6

Take a fresh scrubbing brush, soak it in the trisodium phosphate solution, and then scrub the firebox from top to bottom to remove the creosote buildup.

Step 7

Dampen a clean rag with fresh water and wipe away the trisodium phosphate solution from the firebox. After that, take a fresh dry rag and wipe away the remaining moisture. Replace the grate and andirons once you are done.

Step 8

Use a fresh sponge soaked in the trisodium phosphate solution to gently dab or wipe the stone surrounding the fireplace. Be sure to soak both the stone and the grout and let the solution sit on it for five minutes.

Step 9

After five minutes, use a fresh scrub brush to loosen the dirt and soot on the surrounding, working from top to bottom.

Step 10

Remove any remaining trisodium phosphate solution using a fresh rag soaked in clean water with one or two passes.

Step 11

If still some stains remain on the surrounding, use a more concentrated version of the trisodium phosphate solution to remove them. Use one ounce of trisodium phosphate powder with one cup of water to create a thick paste.

Step 12

Use a fresh sponge to apply the paste to the stain in a thin layer and let it soak for approximately five minutes before scrubbing with a stiff-bristle brush.

Step 13

Use a fresh rag soaked in clean water to wipe away the paste completely and then dab it dry with a fresh dry rag. Remember to let the fireplace and surrounding dry completely before you light a new fire in them.