Getting your brick chimney ready for Christmas
For most of the year, there’s a good chance you’ve simply been using the fireplace to your heart’s content, heedless of the consequences. The likely result is a deeply stained fireplace, with dark soot marks covering practically every inch of the surface.
This is no good for two reasons. Christmas is the time when you’re likely to have friends and family round and show off the house. A dirty, stained fireplace can offset the otherwise perfectly pristine and stage-managed image you’re going for, so stain removal is of the utmost importance.
Secondly, while no one’s ever heard of Santa declining to visit a house because the fireplace isn’t up to standard, given that the man is giving you free gifts, the least you could do is make sure his entryway is clean – particularly with all that white in his wardrobe.
Soot stains and brick
Soot is the dark material formed when coal, wood and other substances are burned, causing discoloration on the surface of brick and other types of stone.
According to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services, soot is oily and stains easily on various different surfaces. This is particularly the case when it comes to brick fireplace interiors, which are often not sealed. The good news is that such stains, while easy to form and certainly not pretty, are relatively simple to get out.
There are a number of ways to clean brick surfaces, including high-pressure water, sand blasting and bucket and brush hand-cleaning. While the first two should obviously be avoided inside, it might be best to simply jettison them even outside, as these methods can cause damage to your brickwork.
The cleaning process
If you’ve decided to do surface cleaning by hand, there are some steps you need to take when dealing with brick.
The Brick Industry Association (BIA) recommends using the most gentle effective cleaning method. This includes choosing a cleaning solution that matches the specific characteristics of brick. In this case, you’ll want to choose HANAFINN Rejuvenata ACTIVE™, an enzyme cleaner which works best on hard surfaces. These enzymes help to break down oils on the surface of stone materials.
You’ll need a bucket of clean water and a ratio of one to ten in terms of Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ to water. Before applying it, however, thoroughly saturate the brick surface with water, and make sure it’s wet when you do apply the cleaning solution. Before this dries, the BIA suggests you rinse the area being cleaned.
Be aware you may have to carry out efflorescence control in the future. If it’s only light efflorescence, you should be able to remove it with water and a stiff fiber brush.
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