How to Clean a Fireplace The Easy Way

Other than offering warmth, did you know that your fireplace can also be used as a place to grill? That’s right if the weather is too tough to BBQ outdoors, then using your fireplace can be a great alternative. However, before you begin, you need to clean it first. 

Cleaning it can be a hassle and also pretty heavy on the pocket if you have a professional come in to do it. This is why it is essential for you to learn how to clean a fireplace without making it feel like a huge chore.  So in this guide, let’s go through some tips and tricks to help maintain your fireplace effectively. 

Assembling your Supplies

In order to clean and maintain a fireplace, you need a few supplies on-hand. The basic ones include: a bunch of drop clothes, a firewood basket, a fireplace, coal hod, a shovel, a broom and dustpan set, vacuum and vacuum bag. It’s also wise to keep a spray bottle, some white vinegar, indoor/outdoor gloves, scrub bristle brushes, cornstarch, measuring spoons and lastly a microfiber towel. 

Step 1: Cleaning the Firebox

When starting off, you will need to clean the residual soot and ash dust that’s been left behind. So in the case that you’ve recently lit a fire, you will first need to cool it down completely so that the fireplace is safe to operate in. 

This may even mean waiting a whole day if you have to. Once the fireplace has completely cooled down, spread a newspaper, an old sheet or a large towel. This will prevent any type of residual waste from getting onto your floor or carpet.

If you want to fully protect your furnishings then you may also move them away or cover them when you begin taking out the soot and dust. And as a matter of fact, it is also wise to wear clothes that are rough and grubby so that you don’t mind getting any dusty grime on them when cleaning the fireplace. 

Next, you can place a dustbin by the side so when you collect the soot and dust using the broomstick, you can quickly dispose of the collected residue, and don’t make a mess by letting it fly around. After you are done with getting the dust and sooty residue out of the fireplace, transfer the contents of the dustbin into a garbage bag. 

After that, simply close it and toss the bag into the garbage can that’s outside your house. Once you’ve disposed of all the residue you can then pick up the newspapers, towels or any coverings that you may have laid on the furniture and the flooring.

And since we’re talking about cleaning up, if you’re all covered in dust and soot too, it’s wise to go and wash up. A change of clothes however, isn’t absolutely necessary. And lastly, don’t forget to either dust off or lightly vacuum the sofas if any kind of soot or dirt has managed to permeate through the sofa fabric. 

Step 2: Cleaning the Fireplace Doors

Cleaning the fireplace doors is often ignored on the merits of vanity but it is just as important as any other. So what you essentially have to do is, grab a bunch of ingredients from your kitchen and you’re good to go. 

What you’ll be needing is: 

  • 1/4th cup of warm vinegar and cornstarch
  • A bowl to mix them
  • A towel/cloth. 

You dip a moistened cloth in the vinegar-cornstarch mixture and then lather that on to the doors, leaving it to sit for 30-40 minutes so that the dirt, grime and oxidized soot is broken down. After that, rub that area with a clean but dampened towel to make it shine. 

Step 3: Cleaning the Fireplace Bricks

Cleaning the fireplace bricks can be a bit tricky because some spots require special attention, while others can work with a simple dusting of soot and ash. So coming to the point; spot cleaning. If some parts of the bricks are very heavily coated in dust, ash and slimy grime – It is wise to clean that off. 

These can be both large areas and small areas, both on the interior and exterior. So like the homemade hack we mentioned above for cleaning the fireplace doors, if that isn’t as potent, you can use another solution that chemically exfoliates the surface. 

This solution is made using 3 ingredients: 

  • Warm water
  • Dish Soap 
  • Baking Soda 

Mix around 3 tablespoons of dish soap with ½ cup of baking soda, and a few splashes of water to make it runny enough to be lathered onto a large surface area. You will need a hard bristle brush to spread this, and then scrub as you go along. Work in regular, circular motions so that any hard and crusty grime is properly removed. This has a quicker removal too because you only need to let it sit for 5-8 minutes at a maximum. You can then wipe it or wash it off. 

Step 4: Cleaning the Chimney (Optional)

Cleaning a chimney is not only hectic, but also dangerous. This is the reason we leave it as optional because we recommend consulting professionals for a chimney inspection.

Professional chimney sweepers start by  laying down a microfiber cloth to protect the floor. They then plug in a vacuum and use personal protective gear such as masks and gloves to prevent any possible mishaps and risks that people with insufficient knowledge may encounter.

Some of those risks include the presence of hazardous fumes and residue of soot and other materials like creosote. It can trigger asthma and cause other respiratory problems and even ailments related to the stomach (causing immense pain). 

Moreover, all this may also cause your mouth and throat to burn, and also leave a bitter taste. Direct contact with any creosote can cause immediate skin irritation, redness and in some cases, even burning sensations, which is worsened upon exposure to sunlight. 

This is why it is a good idea to leave this segment to the professionals and you can have a hassle and danger-free cleanup. 

To Wrap Up

The cost of cleaning a fireplace can start from $80 and depending on how long it has been neglected, the amount can go anywhere up to $325. Except for sweeping the chimney, you can turn it into a convenient DIY project by following our guide on how to clean a fireplace and save yourself some serious bucks. 

Once done, it’s ready for your winter BBQ sessions. And if you want to take it for a test drive, then you can read our detailed guide to grilling ribeye to get started.