The soot and creosote from the inside of the fireplace can easily come on to the hearth. Since the cement hearths, unlike stone fireplaces, are already light colored, dark creosote can devastate the look of it. In this article, we’ll see how you can easily clean your cement fireplace hearths, whether sealed or unsealed.
How to Clean a Cement Fireplace Hearth?
Before you begin the process of cleaning the hearth, it is a good idea to clean the inside of your fireplace because the soot can get agitated and spread in the air, eventually settling down again on the hearth or surrounding surfaces.
Take the larger chunks of burnt wood manually out and put them in a bag for disposal. Then collect the dust on a dust pan using a sift brush. The remaining fireplace dust can be vacuumed out.
If you don’t want to clean the inside of the fireplace or don’t have enough time for that, simply sprinkle a lot coffee grounds over the ash sitting in the fireplace.
If you decide on cleaning the whole fireplace, you cannot ignore the fireplace glass. The ash you have lying in your fireplace can always be used to clean the fireplace glass.
1- Plastic sheets or a tarps (or old clothes
2- Safety glasses & gloves
3- Putty knife
4- Soft Brush or vacuum
5- Hard bristled scrub brush
6- Dish soap or Dishwasher detergent
7- Oxygenated bleach, such as Oxiclean (For routine cleaning)
8- Chlorine bleach & Trisodium phosphate (For tougher stains)
10- Hot water
13- Concrete Sealer (Optional)
STEP 1- First, lay plastic sheets or a tarps (or old clothes) on the surrounding surfaces (floor, rugs, carpets) so that the mess doesn’t get transferred onto these surfaces. For walls, you can tape the plastic sheet to an appropriate height on the wall.
You only need to do all this covering if the cleaning needed is extensive Otherwise, you can simply go ahead with the next step.
STEP 2- Open the windows to allow ventilation and wear safety glasses and gloves as we will be working with bleach.
STEP 3- If there are lumps of soot that have somehow managed to get stuck to the cement hearth, scrape them off as much as you can, using a putty knife.
STEP 4- Sweep the surface dust and loosened creosote lying on the cement hearth using a brush. You can use a hand vacuum or any kind of vacuum to clear off that surface dust and debris.
STEP 5- Now, we’ll prepare a cleaning solution
For Routine Cleaning
In a bucket of hot water (1 gallon), pour 1 cup of dish soap or dishwasher detergent and half cup of Oxygenated bleach. Then mix the solution thoroughly using a wooden stick.
For Spring Cleaning or Tough Stains
For tougher burnt-on stains, you can make an even stronger solution (for tougher stains, or if you’re cleaning the hearth after a long gap) by mixing half a cup of household bleach with 3-4 tablespoons of TSP in warm water (instead of hot water). Mixing Bleach with TSP is completely safe.
Caution: Using Muriatic acid on cement or concrete surfaces can cause peeling, cracking and weakening over time. So we don’t recommend using Muriatic acid on cement fireplace hearths.
STEP 6- Dip a hard-bristled scrub brush in the chosen solution and use it on the cement fireplace hearth to scrub hard until the dust and solidified soot is removed. Let the solution stay on the surface for 5 minutes.
STEP 7- Now, use a sponge to soak all the soapy mess from the surface. You’ll need to keep squeezing and rinsing the sponge because you can’t use soot soaked sponge again and again on the surface. Keep soaking until the surface soap is removed.
STEP 8- Use clean water and the same scrub brush (now rinsed) to scrub the surface again for discolorations and leftover stains.
STEP 9- Finally, use a wet towel or a rag to wipe the surface clean. You can either use a dry rag to dry the cement hearth or let it air dry.
STEP 10- This is an optional (but recommended) step for unsealed cement fireplace hearths. To prevent the stains from seeping in and discoloration, use a concrete sealer (as per the package directions) to seal the fireplace hearth.
Cement Fireplace hearth can be cleaned using simple household items like bleach, dish soap (or dishwasher detergent), and Trisodium Phosphate. It is a good practice to wipe your fireplace hearth regularly (once a week) and clean it thoroughly after every season.