How to Clean a Fireplace

Nothing like a roaring fire in the fireplace on a cold winter’s evening, but if the fireplace is sending you smoke signals, it’s time to clean it. Cleaning a fireplace is not difficult, a little messy, but that’s easy to manage with these tips for cleaning a fireplace.

Trash the Ash

Ashes need to removed from the fireplace every now and again, frequency of removal depends on how often the fireplace is used. A rule of thumb, if the ashes are four inches deep or more, trash the ash.

To remove the fireplace ashes quickly and get back to a roaring fire, let the ashes get cold, then sprinkle damp coffee grounds or tea leaves over them to keep the dust and smell down. Scoop the ashes out of the fireplace using a fireplace shovel and place ashes in a metal container (don’t use plastic, just incase any heat remains) and take outside for final discard. Fireplace ashes are good for garden soil and the compost pile, or leave in metal container for a couple of days and discard with household trash.

When you’re in no hurry to clean the ashes, allow them to cool for at least four days, then haul out the shop vac. A wet/dry shop vacuum with a new disposable bag will make quick work of removing the ash. When done, just remove bag from shop vac and toss in trash.

Clean Fireplace Doors

Fireplace doors become cloudy and/or covered with light soot and need to be cleaned to keep smoke and odors down. Make a cleaning solution for fireplace doors by mixing equals parts of white vinegar and warm water. Pour cleaning solution into a spray bottle, spritz some of the cleaning solution onto paper towels, touch the damp paper towel to the bottom of the fireplace to pick up a little ash for abrasion, then scrub the fireplace doors.

Finish by spraying doors with cleaning solutions and wiping down with clean paper towel. Any buildup gunk on the doors can be removed with a razor blade.

Clean Fireplace Facing

Smoke stains the fireplace facing, especially directly over the firebox. Clean away those stains by first spraying the smoke stained area with water, this is especially important for a brick facing, it will prevent the cleaning solution from soaking in to quickly.

Mix ¼ cup of an all-purpose cleaning liquid into one gallon of water, dip a scrub brush into cleaning solution and scrub away smoke stains. If brick fireplace facing is over 50 years old, it may crumble if scrubbed and is best left alone.

Marble or other stone fireplace facings can have smoke stains removed with a damp cloth dipped in a mild solution of dishwashing liquid and water. Spray the marble or stone with clean water before wiping.

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