How to Get Rid of the Black Residue in a Fireplace

How to Get Rid of the Black Residue in a Fireplace thumbnail
Black residue builds up inside your fireplace and chimney.

The black residue in your fireplace is probably a result of soot and creosote buildup. This residue looks unsightly and may catch fire if it builds up too much. Getting rid of the black residue is not difficult, although annual cleaning and maintenance makes this less complicated. Elbow grease and patience are necessary to clean this area and make it look attractive again.

Things You'll Need

  • Dropcloth
  • Old clothes
  • Safety goggles
  • Measuring cup
  • 3 or 4 cups white distilled vinegar
  • Buckets
  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate
  • 1/2 cup powdered laundry detergent without bleach
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Instructions

  1. Vinegar Method

    • 1

      Spread a dropcloth on the hearth to protect it from splatters.

    • 2

      Put on old clothes and safety goggles. The cleaning solution may splatter and irritate your eyes.

    • 3

      Pour undiluted white distilled vinegar into a bucket.

    • 4

      Dip a scrub brush into the bucket, and scrub the area with black residue. Start at the bottom, and work your way up. It may take repeated applications for the black residue to disappear, depending on how long it has been since you cleaned the area and how often you use the fireplace.

    • 5

      Dip a sponge into a bucket of clean water, and use it to rinse all the surfaces, once the black residue is gone. It takes only about half an hour for the vinegar odor to disappear.

    Detergent Method

    • 6

      Spread a dropcloth on the hearth.

    • 7

      Wear old clothes, rubber gloves and safety goggles.

    • 8

      Pour 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate and 1/2 cup powdered laundry detergent without bleach into a clean bucket.

    • 9

      Add 1 gallon of water to the bucket.

    • 10

      Stir the mixture until the powders dissolve.

    • 11

      Dip a scrub brush into the bucket, and scrub the area with black residue, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Trisodium phosphate is a strong cleaning agent that is excellent at removing stubborn stains and greasy grime.

    • 12

      Dip a sponge into a bucket of clean water, and rinse all the surfaces.

Tips & Warnings

  • Trisodium phosphate is available at hardware and home supply stores.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

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