How Do I Clean a Rock Fireplace Wall?

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Stones and rocks have been used for centuries to contain flames and embers. Nowadays, rock fireplace walls come in a variety of styles and designs, from small rounded boulder rocks to coarse lava rocks. Although rock fireplace walls are very hard, they are also porous; the tiny crevices between the rocks allow for soil and grime accumulation. Certain cleaning solutions and techniques will help you keep a rock fireplace clean.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheets
  • Duct tape
  • Old towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • 1/4-cup trisodium phosphate
  • 1-gallon warm water
  • 2 plastic cleaning buckets
  • 1 oz. chlorine bleach
  • Wood stir stick
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Place plastic sheets on the floor or ground around the fireplace wall. Seal the edges of the plastic sheets with duct tape.

  • Lay old towels around the perimeter of the area to catch drips and overflowing liquid. Put on rubber gloves and goggles to protect you.

  • Pour 1/4 cup of trisodium phosphate and 1 gallon of warm water into a plastic cleaning bucket. Add 1 oz. of chlorine bleach to the solution. Mix the solution thoroughly with wooden stir stick.

  • Dampen a sponge in the solution. Blot the fireplace wall with the damp sponge to wet the rocks and grout. Do not apply too much solution, as it will run and cause hard-to-remove streaks.

  • Allow the solution to soak into the rock surface for five minutes. Scrub the solution vigorously with scrub brush to penetrate the porous rocks.

  • Fill another plastic cleaning bucket with fresh water. Blot the water onto the rock wall, using the sponge, from top to bottom. You may need to blot the wall several times to thoroughly rinse away the solution.

  • Inspect the rock wall for remaining dirt. If grime remains, continue cleaning the rocks with the solution, using the same techniques as before.

  • Allow the rock wall to air dry once it is completely clean. Remove the towels and plastic sheets from around the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use over 3 oz. of bleach in the solution; the rock wall may become discolored.

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References

  • Photo Credit fireplace hearth with reeds image by steven hendricks from Fotolia.com
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