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How to Clean a Fireplace

Last Updated Aug 4, 2011 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

There is nothing like the crackling of a fireplace but any working fireplace needs to be cleaned regularly to keep it in tip top condition.  Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning your fireplace yourself.

When Should I Clean the Fireplace?

The best time to clean the fireplace is after the colder months have ended, when you are no longer using the fireplace, or before the colder weather starts.  However, you can clean your fireplace at any time but it is important that you make sure that the fireplace and ashes are completely cool, so there is no risk of embers floating out or of you burning yourself.

Cleaning the Fireplace

The first step in cleaning the fireplace is to remove all of the ashes from the fireplace. You can do this by shovelling or sweeping them out or using a special vacuum to vacuum the ashes out.  The next step is to remove the fireplace grate or the andirons from the fireplace itself and take them outside. You can then clean them using a wire brush in order to remove all of the soot and the grime.  Depending on what they are made from, you can use a specialised product in order to polish them back up to full brightness.

You can then begin to clean the fireplace itself.  Lay a tarp down over your carpeting and then lay a thick layer of newspaper on top of the tarp around the hearth and inside the fireplace itself.  use a mild solution of warm water and bleach with a scrubbing brush in order to remove the build-up of creosote, ash, and soot from the inside of the fireplace.  It is best to start at the top of the fireplace and then work your way down, to ensure that it is properly cleaned.  Once you have finished cleaning the walls, give them a thorough rinsing and wipe down with clean water.  This is important to remove any traces of the bleach solution.  Once you have done this, you can throw the newspapers lining the floor of the fireplace in the bin.  The next step is to clean the floor of the fireplace using the same mixture of water and bleach.  Again, rinse it thoroughly with clean water.  Wipe up any puddles with paper towels or an old rag and dispose of them afterwards.

If you have any glass around your fireplace, you can give it a clean with a specialised glass cleaner and paper towels.  If you like, you can polish the metal on the outside of your fireplace too.  Once you have done this, simply replace your fireplace grate or andirons and you have a sparkling clean fireplace!  Remember though, that any actual chimney cleaning should only be done by a professional.
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