The soft, warm glow of a roaring fire is one of life’s simple pleasures, but before you light the first fire of the season, it’s important to clean your fireplace. A clean chimney yields multiple benefits, including increased efficiency as well as the prevention of fire, corrosion, and smoke. Even if you plan on cleaning your fireplace yourself, it’s a good idea to have a professional chimney technician inspect the fireplace and chimney every year. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), an annual fireplace and chimney inspection can help prevent carbon monoxide intrusions and potential chimney fires in the future. After you complete a yearly inspection, it’s time to get down to the down and dirty of fireplace cleaning.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Fireplace
STEP #1 Wait at least 24 hours after you have burned your last fire so fireplace ashes and embers have time to cool completely. If this is your first fireplace cleaning since last holiday season, this shouldn’t be a problem!
STEP #3 Set down a plastic tarp in front of the fireplace. Be sure to remove any furniture or other items that may be near the fireplace to avoid potential messes while you clean your fireplace.
STEP #4 Wearing your gloves, start with the fireplace interior first. Remove the logs, tinder and the fireplace grate. Keep burnable logs, but toss any badly charred logs.
STEP #5 Minimize fireplace flyaways by lightly sprinkling used coffee grounds on the used ashes, this will weigh them down so they don’t make even more of a mess around the rest of your home.
STEP #6 Grab a fireplace brush and sweep each interior wall from top to bottom. Don’t forget to sweep the fireplace screens too. Shovel the ashes into a fireplace pan then dump the debris into the trash.
STEP #7 Now it’s time to tackle the fireplace exterior. Depending on what type of fireplace exterior you have will depend on which cleaning method you use.
- For brick fireplaces over 50 years old, spray water on sooty areas then clean with a heavy duty sponge. Continue to spray with water then dry.
- For newer brick fireplaces, follow the same steps above, but include a hearth cleaner after spraying with water.
- For iron fireplaces, spray with hearth cleaner, rinse with water then dry with a clean sponge.
- For marble and stone fireplaces, spray with water then clean with a liquid dishwashing soap and a non-scratch sponge. Rinse then dry.
STEP #8 If your fireplace has glass doors, use a hearth cleaner to thoroughly clean the front of each fireplace door, but be sure to wipe off the hearth cleaner before it completely dries.
STEP #9 When you’re done using your fireplace tools, give them a good cleaning as well. Polish with your choice of hearth cleaner and clean with a multi-purpose sponge.
STEP #10 Replace the fireplace grates and logs. Carefully clean up and toss the tarp. Grab your O-Cedar® ProMist® MAX Microfiber Spray Mop and go over any hardwood flooring that may have accumulated some fireplace debris during the cleaning process.
Tip: You can use the O-Cedar® ProMist® MAX Microfiber Spray Mop on a daily basis in the case a few fireplace embers escape during use.
After cleaning your fireplace, you can celebrate by starting a fire, but why not enjoy your hard work and admire your clean fireplace for a few days!