Step-by-Step Spring Cleaning for Your Fireplace
With the arrival of cheery springtime comes strategizing how best to clean your fireplace. Chimney cleaning is a job for professional chimney sweeps but getting the fireplace and surrounding mantle spruced up is a perfect and unmistakably grimy DIY project. Expert step-by-step tips for cleaning your fireplace to follow.
Step 1 – Gather Needed Supplies
The best way to tackle any daunting chore is to gather all needed supplies before beginning. The following are recommended supplies for cleaning your fireplace:
- Rubber gloves
- A mask
- Old coffee grounds
- An ash pan and shovel
- Dropcloth or newspapers
- A stiff bristle brush
- A large bucket
- Old rags
- Broom and dustpan
- White vinegar
- Warm water
- A spray bottle
- Baking soda
- Vacuum cleaner
Step 2 – Protect Your Home
Cleaning a fireplace is a messy job. Before doing anything else, lay down a tarp, sheets, or newspapers in front of the fireplace. This will help to contain the mess and monitor whether it is getting out of hand.
Step 3 – Remove the Fireplace Ashes
The last fire should have been at least 24 hours before you begin cleaning your fireplace, and any remaining wood should be completely cold. Strap on a mask and protective gloves because the next step is to remove the fireplace ashes, which contain toxic substances. Be sure to handle the ashes properly because carelessness could have disastrous consequences.
Insider Tip #1: Sprinkle slightly damp coffee grounds on top of the ashes so that less dust is stirred up as you perform this task. Use a small shovel to scoop up the ashes. Place them in a non-combustible container with a lid. Insider Tip #2: If your fireplace has glass doors, set aside a handful of ashes to use later for cleaning them. Keep the ash bucket nearby for now.
Step 4 – Remove Other Contents
Remove any remaining logs and tinder from the fireplace. Next, remove the grate and irons. Whether you clean them now or later is up to you. Use a metal polish or hearth cleaner to clean the irons and grate.
Step 5 – Scrub the Inside of the Fireplace
Next, open the damper. Using only the stiff bristle brush but no cleaning solutions yet, scrub the floor and walls of your chimney, putting your back into it. In this step, you are tackling soot and creosote deposits.
Step 6 – Sweep & Vacuum
Sweep up the remaining ashes and debris in the hearth using a broom and dustpan. Place them in the ash bucket. Now that all ashes have been removed, take the bucket outside and place it on a non-combustible surface away from the home. Next, vacuum the hearth for a finishing touch inside the fireplace.
Step 7 – Spray Cleaning Solution
Create a cleaning solution that is 50% white vinegar and 50% warm water. Generously spray the mixture all inside the surfaces of your fireplace and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Next, spray thoroughly and using the scrub brush again, keep scrubbing until you are satisfied that the fireplace is nice and clean.
Insider Tip #3: After the cleanup, combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda with water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution inside your fireplace to offset and neutralize any vinegar smell that may remain.
Step 8 – Clean the Glass Doors
It is best to consult manufacturers’ instructions for cleaning the glass doors. However, a safe method for virtually any glass doors is to use damp newspapers and ashes. Use the ashes that you set aside earlier. Rub the glass with the ashes and damp newspaper to remove soot and residue on the glass. The ashes provide grittiness that won’t scratch the doors, and it is a safer choice than chemical cleaning products. Finish by wiping the glass with a soft rag until the glass shines. Then close the flue and replace the grate and irons to finish the job.
To install a new gas or wood fireplace, visit Felgemacher Fireplace Shop located at 2727 Broadway Suite 5 in Cheektowaga, NY. Modern fireplaces are remarkably efficient and many styles and models are available, all of which are crafted with exceptional workmanship. To learn more, call us at (716) 482-1820. The new fireplace will give you something to look forward to next winter, and the addition will not add to your current cleaning chores.
For chimney, fireplace, and heating stove services, contact Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney, our field division. You can talk to a friendly fireplace and chimney expert and schedule chimney services year-round at