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How to clean soot from chimney and fireplace

How to clean soot from chimney and fireplace

Tom Musbach

By Tom Musbach on June 15, 2012

Daily Answer is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided from a Expert on JustAnswer.

Q: How do I remove soot from my stone chimney and fireplace? I tried soap and water without much success.

A: Using water is not recommended. Once mixed with water soot becomes harder to remove, as it turns into a tar-like material. The proper way to do it is to use dry methods.

You first brush it lightly with a vacuum machine to pick it up (if possible with the exhaust outdoor to make sure smaller particles don't become airborne in the house). You then use a soot sponge (usually available in hardware stores) to remove what remains.

You can still probably remove a lot that way even after using water. But water probably caused a stain, and you may have to use abrasive to clean it now. This is not a problem if the stone was rough, but it may damage polished stone and require a new varnish sealing if one was present. A good soft and cheap abrasive is sugar, bit it may not be enough if the water glued too much on the stone. A sand blast machine may work well.

To have less abrasive option it's possible to use walnut shell powder as an alternative -- it does a good job. Any cleaning may change the color compared to the untreated area, so you may have to consider treating the whole area. 

-- Answer from Martin Caron, a home and garden Expert on JustAnswer.