How To Clean a White Brick Fireplace in 8 Simple Steps

A white brick fireplace is a stunning centerpiece for your interior decor. The only challenge is that the smoke and soot from the fire leave stains that ruin your home’s aesthetic appeal. A white brick fireplace can darken even after using the fireplace for the first time, so you need to know how to keep the white bricks clean at all times. 

Here’s how to clean a white brick fireplace in 8 simple steps:

  1. Protect the floor around the chimney with towels.
  2. Use a vacuum attachment or rag to remove dust or dirt.
  3. Saturate the fireplace with water.
  4. Degrease the bricks with dish soap and salt paste.
  5. Clean with commercial brick cleaners. 
  6. Brighten the bricks with ammonia and detergent solution. 
  7. Apply borax and water solution to remove stubborn stains.
  8. Clean with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

If neglected, a white brick fireplace will change color. This will be counterproductive if the fireplace is the central feature in the room. In this article, I will discuss the steps to follow when cleaning your white brick fireplace and the preventative measures to keep the fireplace sparkling white.

1. Protect the Floor Around the Chimney With Towels

Soot and dirt from your chimney can spill on the floor closest to the fireplace during the cleaning process. That’s why you need to protect the floor around the chimney with towels. And since you use a lot of water when scrubbing the bricks, the towels will absorb any water that splashes on the floor. 

Avoid cleaning a warm or actively burning white fireplace. Always ensure that the fireplace is cold before you begin cleaning.

2. Use a Vacuum Cleaner Attachment or Rag To Remove Dust

When cleaning your fireplace, the first step is to remove any loose dirt and dust from the face of the fireplace. You will have an easier time cleaning when you get rid of this dirt. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment or dry rag to remove dust particles. 

I recommend using the Ontel Dust Daddy (available on This universal handheld cordless attachment connects with most vacuum cleaners. It quickly picks up dirt and has 36 micro-size suction tubes that are flexible enough to use in nooks and crannies. 

3. Saturate the Fireplace With Water

Use a spray bottle to wet the fireplace. Additionally, ensure to remove all the items on the fireplace or those closest to it. You’ll have an easier time cleaning any stains on the white brick fireplace after soaking the area with water. Depending on the cleaning agent you use, the bricks will also absorb the water, preventing discoloration. 

4. Degrease the Bricks With Dish Soap and Salt Paste

Depending on the stains on your fireplace, you may need to use multiple cleaning agents. Consider doing a patch test to test whether the cleaning detergent is ideal. Nonetheless, dish soap and salt paste are ideal for the first wash. Salt is a gentle abrasive and is especially great for older, more porous bricks.

When cleaning with dish soap and salt paste:

  1. Combine dish soap with salt to get a gritty paste.
  2. Use a clean rag or your hand to evenly spread the paste on the white brick fireplace. 
  3. Gently massage the paste into the bricks with a bristle brush — avoid using a wire brush because it will scrape the bricks. 
  4. Allow the bricks to absorb the paste and the dirt to loosen for at least 10 minutes. 
  5. Wipe off the bricks with a wet rag.

5. Clean With Commercial Brick Cleaners

Commercial brick cleaners are also pretty efficient thus you may also choose to use them. Check whether ammonia is one of the active ingredients because it is quite effective on grime and other stubborn stains. You may also use soot removers since they are specially made to remove soot on fireplaces. 

Carbona Pro Care Outdoor Cleaner (available on is a multipurpose cleaning agent that you can use on various surfaces, including brick, concrete, and stone. It comes with an in-built brush-top applicator which makes scrubbing easier. Also, it contains a versatile formula specially designed to work on mildew, algae, grime, and soot. 

6. Brighten the Bricks With Ammonia and Detergent Solution

Only use ammonia on a white brick fireplace that is relatively new. Ammonia can be harsh on old, fragile bricks, so it is best to avoid it if your fireplace will be negatively affected. Here are the steps to take when using ammonia to clean your white brick fireplace:

  1. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles.
  2. Mix about ½ cup (118 ml) of ammonia with ¼ cup (59 ml) of dishwashing detergent. 
  3. Add 3 – 4 cups (709 – 946 ml) of hot water and stir the solution.
  4. Pour the mixture on the white bricks — If you are concerned about flooding your room, use a spray bottle.
  5. Scrub the bricks, and then wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

If necessary, repeat the process multiple times. Ammonia works well on stubborn stains, and you will notice the white bricks become cleaner and brighter. 

7. Apply Borax and Water Solution To Remove Stubborn Stains

If the bricks still have stains, consider using a borax and water solution. Boric acid, the active agent in Borax powder, is extremely effective on stubborn stains. Ensure you wear protective wear when handling borax, just as you would with any other acid.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Add two tablespoons of borax to 4 cups (946 ml) of water. 
  2. Transfer the water into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray small sections of the fireplace and scrub with a bristle brush.
  4. Wipe the cleaned area with a damp cloth.
  5. Repeat the same process until the entire fireplace is clean. 

8. Clean With Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

If all the attempts to get your fireplace white, bright, and stain-free haven’t worked as effectively as you’d hoped, you may want to consider trying trisodium phosphate (TSP). This heavy-duty cleaner will undoubtedly work on your white brick fireplace. However, you should only consider TSP when all other options fail. 

TSP is harsh on surfaces and upholstery. It is also harmful to your skin. Therefore, ensure to move your carpet and other metallic accessories when handling TSP. Also, if your fireplace contains some metallic parts, ensure TSP doesn’t come into contact with them. You should also use protective wear, such as rubber gloves and goggles. 

Take the following steps when cleaning using TSP:

  1. Add about 30ml (⅛ cup) of TSP to 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of hot water. Ensure to use a big bucket to keep the solution from spilling over. 
  2. Dip a brush in the solution and start scrubbing the bricks. 
  3. Rinse the fireplace with warm water and allow it to dry. 

This video shows how to use TSP on your white brick fireplace and its effectiveness.

You can also get Pure Organics Ingredients Trisodium Phosphate (available on  to help you get rid of stubborn soot, grime, and other stains on your white brick fireplace. It is eco-friendly and guarantees 100% success as a cleaning agent.  

Preventative Measures To Keep A White Brick Fireplace Clean

You’ll have a harder time cleaning a white brick fireplace if it has stubborn stains that require multiple cleaning detergents. This makes the cleaning process more costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, you can take measures to reduce the damage to your fireplace whenever you use it.

  • Use hardwood seasoned for at least 12 – 18 months. Seasoned firewood has lost most of its moisture, so it will burn clean and efficiently.
  • Choose hardwood, like oak, maple, beech, and hickory because they have a high heat value. Wood that burns hot will have less soot. 
  • Only burn wood pieces with a diameter of 5 inches (12.7 cm) or less. Small pieces of wood are more exposed to the flame, so they burn hotter and faster than large pieces of wood. 
  • Avoid burning pressure-treated wood, like plywood and particleboard. They release chemicals that will stain your white brick fireplace. These stains are difficult to remove. The chemicals released may also be harmful to your health. You might also want to avoid burning painted or treated wood like 2×4
  • Moldy firewood will release discoloring compounds. As such, it is best to dry this firewood before burning it. 
  • Whenever possible, clean your fireplace as soon as it gets stained. The stains are not embedded in the bricks, making them easier to clean.

How To Identify Seasoned Wood

As mentioned, wood that is completely dry burns better and cleaner. However, how do you identify seasoned wood, especially if you are not preparing the wood yourself? Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that can help you pick out wood that is well seasoned:

  • The ends are dark and cracked. 
  • Compared to wet wood, dry wood is lighter in weight. 
  • Hit two pieces of wood together. If you get a hollow sound, the wood is well-seasoned. 
  • The presence of any green color is a sign the wood is still green and needs more time to dry.
  • The bark peels easily on dry wood. 


Before you start cleaning your white brick fireplace, you need to consider the age and state of the bricks. You may need to try multiple cleaning agents for delicate bricks and stubborn stains. Still, when one method fails to work, it doesn’t mean that the fireplace is ruined. 

Some cleaning agents are stronger and more effective, but you may not need to use harsh cleaning solutions if you clean the fireplace regularly. Better yet, if you take steps to minimize soot production, your white fireplace will retain its original color for longer.

Dan Westfield

Hi everyone! My name is Dan and I currently have two fireplaces, a wood-burning and a gas one. I cannot live without them and love to share my passion with you all!

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