How To Clean Fireplace Stone

Stained natural stone fireplace

Natural stone fireplaces are a beautiful addition to any modern or traditionally styled home, bringing a unique and timeless aesthetic charm with unmatched durability. Fireplaces made of natural stone are a worthwhile investment, but it’s not uncommon for dirt, debris, and soot to build up after prolonged and continual use. 

You might be inclined to believe that fireplace stone is difficult to clean given its rough, uneven texture. However, with the right supplies, cleaning your stone is often a quick DIY job! From the natural stone experts here at The Rock Garden, here’s all you need to know about cleaning fireplace stone. 

Stains and Damage

Natural stone is a resilient material but it needs some maintenance and care from time to time. Whether you use your fireplace once or twice a year or if it’s your main source of heat on cold days, you can expect to see a gradual accumulation of debris from your fire’s fuel in the form of ash, unburnt wood, and other impurities. Above all, there will be a build-up of black residue, called soot, that clings and sticks to all the surfaces of your fireplace. 

Soot is a result of incomplete combustion of wood, paper, coal, and other carbon-based matter. It has a black and gray color and a consistency close to fine powder. When it comes in contact with your stone, it will smear onto its surface and stain it a dark color. In fact, this is the most common damage for stone fireplaces. Black carbon ash deposits are similar in chemical structure to other types of fuel like gasoline and diesel and, as such, are very oily, clinging to surfaces like grease. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning a Fireplace

Removing soot stains may require different cleaning solutions, depending on how long the fireplace stone has been stained and how much it has been used. This article will detail the most common methods. First and foremost, however, here are the things you should and shouldn’t do when cleaning fireplace stone. 


  • Clean your fireplace regularly. Again, this depends on how much your fireplace is used. For some who use their fireplace often, the inside will need to be cleaned several times a year. For others, the inside of the fireplace may only need to be cleaned once a year. 
  • Use protective gear. Some of the most difficult soot stains will require you to use harsh chemicals in order to remove them effectively. Always use eye protection and gloves to prevent harming yourself. 
  • Cover your hearth. During the cleaning process, be sure to cover the surrounding space with a tarp or cloth that you don’t mind being stained. You can take this a step further by taping down the tarp to create a sealed edge. 
  • Clean the fireplace when it is cold and not in use. 


  • Neglect your fireplace stone. Keeping your fireplace stone looking great means that it needs to be maintained. The longer you neglect cleaning your fireplace stone, the more extensive and difficult the resulting stains will be. 
  • Let the cleaning solution dry on the stone. Some cleaning solutions, such as trisodium phosphate, should not be left to dry on the stone because it will leave a corrosive stain of its own. 
  • Use extensive amounts of bleach. Using too much bleach can cause fireplace stone to fade. 
  • Clean the fireplace stone when it is hot, heated, or in use. This will make it difficult and dangerous to clean. 

How to Clean Fireplace Stone

Take the following steps to thoroughly clean your fireplace: 

  1. Cover the hearth and surrounding space. 

Whether this is a routine clean or a deep clean, the first step you should take is to secure the surrounding area to ensure that impurities from the fireplace do not spread. Place a tarp or cloth (which you don’t mind being stained) on the ground around the fireplace and tape down the edges to seal it with the floor. 

  1. Prepare the fireplace stone.

You should carry out an initial cleaning of the fireplace by using a broom and dustpan to sweep up the ash, dust, and debris from the bottom of the fireplace. Remove all the physical impurities as is possible, then spray down your fireplace stone with water. 

  1. Equip yourself with protective gear. 

As we mentioned, it’s important to use protective equipment when cleaning a fireplace with harsh chemicals! Eye protection and rubber gloves should be sufficient. Additionally, when using harsh chemicals, consider opening a window and turning on a fan to encourage air flow through the workspace. 

  1. Clean with household cleaning products. 

Using an all-purpose cleaner or a mixture of soap and water, apply your home cleaning solution to the stone and use a brush to scrub the stone. This process can be done as frequently as you prefer and it is repeatable to the degree of cleanliness you desire. 

  1. Deep clean with trisodium phosphate. 

After attempting to clean your fireplace stone with a household cleaner, you may notice that the soot stains are far more stubborn than you originally thought - this will be even more true if it has been a while since your fireplace was last cleaned. 

To clean with trisodium phosphate, mix ½ to 1 cup of this chemical into a gallon of warm water. This is a strong cleaning chemical so be sure to wear that protective gear! 

Once again, use a brush to scrub down the fireplace stone accordingly. It may require a bit of elbow grease to get those tough stains that have built up over time, and you will need to pay special attention to cracks and hard-to-reach places in the fireplace. After applying your trisodium phosphate mix with a brush, wash the stone with water (using a sponge). 

  1. Let your fireplace dry. 

The final step is to allow your fireplace stone ample time to dry before putting it to use again. With the trisodium phosphate mixture especially, you’ll notice its cleaning power only after the stone has fully dried! 

Consider Updating Your Stone Fireplace 

If your fireplace stone has been neglected for years but you’re still yearning for a beautifully finished stone fireplace, your best bet may be to update the stone completely. The same is true if you carry out our recommended cleaning process but find the result less satisfying than you had hoped. 

A fireplace can truly bring a timeless aesthetic charm to your home, whether traditional or modern, evoking a sense of luxury and comfort. Consider taking it to a whole new level by matching your fireplace stone with your personal tastes and the color theme of the rest of your home. At The Rock Garden, our experts can walk you through a plethora of natural stone hearth and cap options so that you are completely satisfied with your brand-new fireplace. 

Come visit The Rock Garden in person to get some inspiration, or contact our team of professionals today to get started! 

Beyond Blue Media magnifiercrosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram