Before we installed our new fireplace insert I needed to clean the bricks. I was a little nervous about this task. I wondered what would be the best way to clean the bricks without harming them. I searched the internet for suggestions. Options ranged from soap and water to ammonia, oven cleaner, TSP and even harsher chemicals.
I opted for the least noxious and easiest method – soap and warm water. I put about a 1/4 cup of Dawn dish soap in a bucket and filled it with hot tap water. I purchased a stiff bristled brush at Target just for this job – one that was comfortable to hold with stiff nylon bristles. I gathered up a few old towels and set to work.
I was amazed at how well this worked! I didn’t have to scrub hard. I just worked one small area at a time (2-4 bricks) scrubbing the bricks and grout and wiping any bubbles away with the towel. It only took about 30 minutes to do all around the fireplace opening. What a difference!
If you want to try this I recommend cleaning out any ash before beginning. Water plus ashes makes a terrible mess! Also, it’s a good idea to test a small area to make sure the bricks can take the scrubbing and be gentle. Bricks may seem hard, but they are porous and they (and the grout) can become brittle over time.