How to Clean A Brick Fireplace before Painting

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and paint that tired outdated brick fireplace. Most likely, the brick has accumulated a fair amount of dust, dirt and grime over the years so the first order of business is to get it clean before you begin painting.  You may be wondering, “How do you clean a brick fireplace?” or “What is the best way to clean a brick fireplace?”

Dirty Fireplace

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and paint that tired outdated brick fireplace. Most likely, the brick has accumulated a fair amount of dust, dirt and grime over the years so the first order of business is to get it clean before you begin painting.  You may be wondering, “How do you clean a brick fireplace?” or “What is the best way to clean a brick fireplace?”

Fireplace cleaning refers to two parts of the fireplace – the area outside the firebox which includes all the brick and the hearth and the area inside the firebox where the fire burns.  How do you prepare a brick fireplace for cleaning? Well, first of all, if you burn real wood, make sure you use a broom to sweep or use a Shop Vac to vacuum out the firebox areaso there are no leftover ashes or debris before you start scrubbing.  Next, use a hand held vacuum or small brush broom to sweep off all the brick and the hearth to remove any loose mortar or dirt.

How to Clean a Brick Fireplace

Cleaning fireplace brick can be done in a just a few hours with some elbow grease and determination.  Your fireplace cleaning cost will be much less if you decide to do it yourself instead of hiring a handyman and you probably already have most of the materials you’ll need in your garage.

Tools and Materials:

Safety Goggles

Rubber Gloves

Shop Vac or Portable Vacuum

Small Brush Broom

Drop Cloth

Sturdy Scrub Brush

Bucket of Water

TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)

Fireplace Cleaner or Heavy Duty Soap

Step 1 – Lay down a drop cloth in front of your fireplace, put on some safety goggles and rubber gloves, and use a wire scrub brush and TSP (trisodium phosphate) to remove any dirt, dust, or soot from the brick.

Step 2 – Wash the brick using your scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and/or a fireplace cleaning product.  Rinse off the soap with water and let the brick dry.

Step 3 – Use the same process to clean the inside of the firebox where the fire burns.  Be sure to remove gas logs and grates before cleaning.

Do You Need Special Paint for Brick?

Your fireplace and your firebox is clean and ready for painting! So what type of paint should you choose?  There are a number of different types of paint you can use depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. Latex paint is a popular choice.  Latex paint comes in either flat, semi-gloss or gloss. Take a look on Pinterest to see pictures of brick fireplaces painted with chalk paint, milk paint, whitewash paint, limewash paint, and the Brick-Anew natural brick paint kit to get an idea of which paint you prefer.

One area that is often overlooked when it comes to fireplace painting is the firebox.  This important area is one of the main focal points of your fireplace and provides a backdrop for your burning fire. Painting the firebox gives a finished look to your painted fireplace and makes it look fresh and new.

But remember, you should NOT use regular latex paint inside your firebox.  This area gets extremely hot so you’ll need a high temperature paint that can withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees.  This grill and stove paint comes in a brush- on can or a spray in a variety of shades. Most people prefer black since it hides soot stains easily. You’ll need to be sure to open your doors and windows to allow for plenty of ventilation until this paint dries since it has a very strong odor.  

Now that you know how to clean a fireplace, there’s no excuses for not getting to work making that old fireplace look new. In just a few hours, you can have the fireplace of your dreams.  You’ll be glad you took that leap of faith and will be relaxing in front of a beautiful fire in no time.


Fireplace cleaning refers to two parts of the fireplace – the area outside the firebox which includes all the brick and the hearth and the area inside the firebox where the fire burns.  How do you prepare a brick fireplace for cleaning? Well, first of all, if you burn real wood, make sure you use a broom to sweep or use a Shop Vac to vacuum out the firebox areaso there are no leftover ashes or debris before you start scrubbing.  Next, use a hand held vacuum or small brush broom to sweep off all the brick and the hearth to remove any loose mortar or dirt.

How to Clean a Brick Fireplace

Cleaning fireplace brick can be done in a just a few hours with some elbow grease and determination.  Your fireplace cleaning cost will be much less if you decide to do it yourself instead of hiring a handyman and you probably already have most of the materials you’ll need in your garage.

Tools and Materials:

Safety Goggles

Rubber Gloves

Shop Vac or Portable Vacuum

Small Brush Broom

Drop Cloth

Sturdy Scrub Brush

Bucket of Water

TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)

Fireplace Cleaner or Heavy Duty Soap

Step 1 – Lay down a drop cloth in front of your fireplace, put on some safety goggles and rubber gloves, and use a wire scrub brush and TSP (trisodium phosphate) to remove any dirt, dust, or soot from the brick.

Step 2 – Wash the brick using your scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and/or a fireplace cleaning product.  Rinse off the soap with water and let the brick dry.

Step 3 – Use the same process to clean the inside of the firebox where the fire burns.  Be sure to remove gas logs and grates before cleaning.

Do You Need Special Paint for Brick?

Your fireplace and your firebox is clean and ready for painting! So what type of paint should you choose?  There are a number of different types of paint you can use depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. Latex paint is a popular choice.  Latex paint comes in either flat, semi-gloss or gloss. Take a look on Pinterest to see pictures of brick fireplaces painted with chalk paint, milk paint, whitewash paint, limewash paint, and the Brick-Anew natural brick paint kit to get an idea of which paint you prefer.

One area that is often overlooked when it comes to fireplace painting is the firebox.  This important area is one of the main focal points of your fireplace and provides a backdrop for your burning fire. Painting the firebox gives a finished look to your painted fireplace and makes it look fresh and new.

But remember, you should NOT use regular latex paint inside your firebox.  This area gets extremely hot so you’ll need a high temperature paint that can withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees.  This grill and stove paint comes in a brush- on can or a spray in a variety of shades. Most people prefer black since it hides soot stains easily. You’ll need to be sure to open your doors and windows to allow for plenty of ventilation until this paint dries since it has a very strong odor.  

Now that you know how to clean a fireplace, there’s no excuses for not getting to work making that old fireplace look new. In just a few hours, you can have the fireplace of your dreams.  You’ll be glad you took that leap of faith and will be relaxing in front of a beautiful fire in no time.

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