Cleaning a Rock Fireplace

Dear Natural Handyman,
We recently bought a house with a natural rock fireplace. The stones are dark and very sooty. How do we best clean them?
DL from Vista, CA

The first step would be to use a household detergent to remove as much dirt and dust from the stone as possible. Don't use anything with ammonia in it (because of the next step). When thoroughly dry, follow up with a phosphoric acid masonry cleaner, which should work to freshen up the stone and the grout. Cleaning off dirt and oils makes the acid's job easier and more thorough.

Though the phosphoric acid in a masonry mix is not extremely strong or as dangerous as muriatic acid, a primarily exterior masonry cleaner, you should nevertheless be sure to have lots of ventilation, wear eye and skin protection and protect everything from the acid except the surfaces you wish to clean. Follow the instructions on the container and be sure to rinse thoroughly when done.

Here's a tip: use a spray bottle or garden sprayer to apply the acid. This is much easier, more accurate and neater than trying to apply it with a sponge. The acid will not harm most plastic sprayers, but should be thoroughly rinsed out if you plan on reusing the sprayer.

Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page

The Natural Handyman Site Directory

Take the Next Step

  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book