With the coldest days of the year right around the corner, many people are beginning to light their fireplaces. There is nothing quite like relaxing by a nice warm fireplace on a cold winter night. But, before you start gathering wood to throw on the fire, make sure your fireplace is properly cleaned. In this article from Enviro maids, there are tips on how to properly and safely clean your fireplace before you begin lighting those logs.
According to the CSIA, your wood burning fireplace should be inspected annually by a certified professional. The professional will sweep your chimney and check for any structural problems as well as remove any creosote buildup to help prevent chimney fires and other safety issues. This step is a must and should never be skipped.
Even if you don’t use your fireplace very often, objects such as a bird nest can block the inside of the chimney leading to a chimney fire when the fireplace is lit.
Now that we have the safety part handled, let’s look at how you can get your fireplace looking clean and welcoming. Let’s face it: fireplaces are dirty; but a little bit of ash and pieces of wood left behind are part of the charm. It’s when the soot and stains cover your glass doors and hearth that it’s time to give your fireplace a good cleaning.
Leaving behind a one-inch layer of ash is actually a good thing; it acts as an insulator and makes it easier to build your next fire. When the ash gets too thick, however, you’ll want to sweep the inside of the firebox. Always wait at least 24 hours after your last fire has burned out before removing the ash, to give it time to completely cool. Once completely cooled, sprinkle the ash with damp coffee grinds to help control the dust during removal. You can also spray the ash with water. Scoop the ash and place it in a 100% metal receptacle. Take the container outside, away from your house and garage.
To remove the black, cloudy film coating your glass doors — a.k.a. soot — reach for your most versatile household cleaner — white vinegar. Mix a solution of equal parts warm water and vinegar; dampen a cloth with the water/vinegar solution and dip the damp rag in a bit of ash (that’s right, ash acts as a mild abrasive). Gently scrub the glass clean. Finish by wiping the glass with a clean cloth and a bit more of the water/vinegar solution.
Over time, the material surrounding the front of your fireplace can become stained and dingy. To spruce up brick, spray the area with water, followed by a mixture of all-purpose cleaner and water. Scrub the area with a brush; rinse with a sponge or clean rag. For brick that’s older than 50 years, avoid scrubbing with a cleaner as this may damage the brick. For marble or other stone, spray dirty area with water and wipe with a soft cloth dipped in gentle dish soap. Rinse and dry.