On cold winter days, sitting next to a cozy fire with some hot chocolate is a little piece of heaven. It’s a relaxing way to forget about things…like how you need to clean the much-used fireplace. Burning all that wood leaves a big mess and your chimney gets dirtied, too. Here are some easy and efficient ways to clean your fireplace.
You should make sure the area is completely cool before cleaning to prevent burns. Also, because you will be dealing with chemicals and particulates, it’s a good idea to wear a mask while cleaning. We recommend hiring a professional to come out and deep clean this area for you.
Your fireplace and chimney are likely coated with creosote. Creosotes are chemicals formed by the decomposition of plant-derived/organic materials at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen. Here’s a description of the danger creosote can have:
- Creosote deposits accumulate the more you use your fireplace and can become several inches thick in one winter season.
- Creosote is combustible. It can be black and flaky-looking or a brown hard shiny substance. No matter what it looks like, it is combustible.
- A hot fire in the fireplace could mean hot oxygen reaches the combustible creosote in the chimney.
- The hot oxygen can ignite the creosote and start a chimney fire. These often spread to the rest of the building.
- In order to prevent chimney fires, creosote build-up must be removed.
- Wikipedia states “73% of heating fires and 25% of all residential fires in the United States are caused by failure to clean out creosote buildup.”
How to Clean a Fireplace
Make sure the fireplace has cooled to room temperature. Put on gloves, a mask, and clothes you can dispose of. Put a tarp by the fireplace so dust and debris won’t get all over the floor. Have a bucket nearby for the next step.
Remove large debris from the fireplace and put into the bucket. Run a vacuum attachment over the walls or use a chimney brush to scrub off any loose dirt. Sweep out the remaining ash and debris and put that in the bucket, too. Dump your bucket in the outside trash.
Using a wet sponge or heavy duty brush, scrub down the fireplace walls and floor. Make sure to get all the corners!
To remove soot stains, you can use several natural cleaning options. Make a paste with either cream of tartar and water, vinegar and water, or baking soda and dish detergent. Apply to the stain and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Wash off with a damp cloth.
Gather up the trap while being careful not to spill any of the dirt on the floor. Sweep up any mess and you’re done!
Use our fireplace and chimney cleaning tips to keep your home warm and safe. If you aren’t confident you can effectively clean your fireplace and chimney, hire a professional. Do your research to find a quality service provider.