How to Clean a Fireplace

clean fireplaceWinter weather means that people who are fortunate enough to have working fireplaces are lighting up those logs. As a result, you could find that dust and soot are making their way throughout your home. Do you know how to clean a fireplace?

Heavy-duty fireplace cleaning should be left to the professionals as taking on this task yourself could result in a major mess, or worse yet, injuries. However, there are some things you can do to maintain your own fireplace, especially if it’s a main feature in your home. The following tips can teach you how to clean a fireplace so that your home looks as warm as it feels.

Cleaning Dust and Soot

Dust and soot are going to be the messiest aspects of your brick fireplace. Additionally, the ash left behind by a fire is very fine which can make sweeping out the fireplace a time-consuming task. However, the finished product is well worth it. Here’s how to clean a fireplace to remove dust, soot and ash.

  1. If you’ve had a fire recently, you need to wait until your fireplace has cooled completely. Wait a full day if you have to. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself or knock live embers all over the place.
  2. Once the fireplace is cool, spread a large towel or old sheet at the base of the hearth where you’ll be kneeling. This will keep a good deal of ash from getting on your carpet or floor. It’s also a good idea to cover any furniture in the immediate area and roll up any rugs. And, as this will be a messy task, be certain you’re wearing grubby clothes and consider covering your hair.
  3. Place a small waste bin nearby and, using a handheld broom, sweep any soot or ash from the floor and walls of your fireplace. Dump that into the waste bin as you work, but do so gently to keep as much dust as possible from flying around.
  4. After you’ve finished, carefully bag up the dust and toss it in an outdoor trashcan. (Tip: Hold on to the ashes if you’ll be cleaning the fireplace glass. Keep reading to find out how.) You’ll also want to pick up any sheets or towels you’ve used to cover the floors and furniture. If you’re very sooty, you might want to wash your hands and change clothes before doing this step.
  5. Vacuum the furniture in the room to remove any sneaky ash that made its way past your coverings. Then vacuum the floors and the hearth to remove any remaining ash.

Cleaning Fireplace Brick

When the weather warms up and you’re ready to retire your fire until next fall or winter, you need to know how to go about cleaning fireplace brick. But before you take on any of the following tasks, make sure you’ve swept out any soot or dust using the instructions above. You should also vacuum the walls of the fireplace with a brush attachment to remove any additional soot and dust. Once that’s done, you can move on to these next steps.

Spot cleaning

Smaller areas of unpainted brick can be cleaned using cream of tartar and water. Make sure you perform a spot test before using the below method. Here’s how to clean a fireplace using these ingredients:

  1. Combine 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with a little water to make a paste.
  2. Spread the paste on the affected areas of your fireplace. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the paste off with warm water.
  4. Reapply and repeat as necessary.

Detailed brick cleaning

For larger areas, such as the inside of your fireplace, you’ll need a different solution as it will probably be too expensive to purchase enough cream of tartar to get the results you want. However, you can clean the inside of your fireplace using two household products: dish soap and baking soda. Again, spot test a small out-of-the-way area first. You’ll also want to remove grates or andirons and set them on a sheet or towel.

  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of dish soap with ½ cup of baking soda to make a paste. The paste should be thin and easy to spread, so add more dish soap if you need to.
  2. Dip a scrub brush into the paste and work your way up the inner fireplace wall using small circular motions. Let this solution sit for three to five minutes.
  3. Rinse the paste off with warm water.
  4. Reapply and repeat as necessary.

Cleaning Fireplace Glass

Fireplace glass can get pretty filthy over the winter months. Naturally, you don’t want that layer of grime hanging out all year long. What would you say if you heard you could use ash for cleaning fireplace glass? That’s right. You’ll also need some paper towels and water. Check it out:

  1. Read over your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and warranty to make sure there aren’t specific cleaning recommendations. The last thing you want to do is void a warranty. Additionally, make sure you spot test a small area before going wild.
  2. Be certain your fire is completely out and the glass is cool.
  3. Ball up a paper towel and dampen it in a bowl of water.
  4. Dip that into the ash until you have a coated surface to work with.
  5. Scrub the glass until it’s clean. You’re going to need to put some muscle behind this to see results.
  6. Once all the grime is gone, wipe off any streaks with a dry microfiber cloth.

If this method doesn’t work, you may have to resort to a stronger cleaner or a straight razor.

Knowing how to clean a fireplace at the end of the colder months can make the idea of lighting that cozy fire a bit more enticing. So until the weather warms up, keep your hearth soot free and enjoy the crackling sounds of the fire that makes your home seem that much cozier.

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