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How to Clean a Fireplace

Posted on: February 26, 2018

Your fireplace is a cozy addition to your Maryland home, providing a place to relax with the family at the end of a long day. Yet, within the walls and chimney of your fireplace, dangerous buildup can create a serious risk. Keeping your fireplace clean is an essential part of protecting your home and your family. The team at James A. Wheat & Sons wants you to know how you can do this well. Here are some tips from our experts on how to clean a fireplace.

Preparing to Clean

The first step is preparing to clean. This starts with waiting at least 12 hours since your last fire to ensure that the area is fully cooled. Clear the space around your fireplace and cover flooring or furniture with drop cloths. Finally, wear clothes that you don’t mind ruining and put on a dust mask.

Deal with the Ashes

Next, remove the ashes and dust. A hand broom and dustpan or a shovel can help with this. Place the ashes into a heavy bag so you don’t track them through your home. After removing the ash and soot, take the grate outside and clean it thoroughly. If needed, use a bit of dish soap in water on a scrubbing brush to clean the grate or andirons.

Clean the Fireplace

Before you put the grate back in, use a dry bristle brush to clean the walls of the fireplace. Start at the top and work your way down to remove the ash and creosote build up. Keep working until they are very clean, and vacuum any remaining dust.

Next, make a mixture containing the following:

  • 3 tablespoons TSP
  • ½ cup of bleach
  • 1 quart hot water

Place this mixture into a spray bottle, and spray the walls and floor of the fireplace with it. Let it sit for five minutes and spray again. Then scour the fireplace with a brush dipped into the remaining solution. Wipe with old rags and repeat if needed.

The one exception to this step is when you are cleaning an old brick fireplace. If the fireplace is 50 or more years old, scouring can cause the brick to crumble. Instead, vacuum it to pick up any soot or dust.

Consider Making the Switch to Gas

Keeping a wood-burning fireplace clean is quite a task. Not only do you need to handle these steps, but you also have to contract with a professional chimney sweep to handle the chimney. At James A. Wheat & Sons, we recommend making the switch to a gas fireplace, which is much safer and easier to clean.

If you are looking to install a gas fireplace, give our team a call at 240-399-5051 to learn more about our gas fireplace services.