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How To Clean Out A Fireplace

By Lawrence Macmillan August 15, 2021

Having a fireplace can be a wonderful feature to the home. You can cozy up by the fire, watch the flames dance, and feel the warmth of the crackling wood burning. What is not so great is cleaning the fireplace.

After a fireplace has been used, there can be a lot of dust, debris, ash and dirt left to get rid of, and it is one of those jobs that you probably try to avoid as best as you can! However, it has to be done. Luckily, we have a simple guide of how to clean out a fireplace to make your life so much easier! 

How to clean out a fireplace

If the time has come to clean out your fireplace, then you will have to be sure that you have not used it recently. The fireplace should be completely cooled after use, and you may have to wait a few days before you can clean it. 

With your fireplace cooled, first spread a large towel or sheet at the base of the hearth so you can kneel on it. This will also protect your floor from excess ash and soot, too. It may be a good idea to also cover any rugs or soft furnishings with a sheet whilst you are cleaning the fireplace as that ash really gets everywhere! 

Then, grab a small waste bin, and with a broom, or dustpan and brush, sweep up any soot and ash that is left over on the floor of the fireplace, or on the walls of your fireplace. Sweep this ash into the small waste bin gently so that it does not fly around and all in the air. Bag up the ash and throw it in the trash!

Next, you may need to clean the fireplace if there are stains and debris from the smoke. To do this, you can use an all purpose cleaner, or a specific fireplace cleaner.

Then, with the fireplace cleaner and an abrasive tool such as a scrubbing brush, you are going to need to scrub away at the stains. Use circular motions for the best results. If a scrubbing brush is too large, then you can try using an old toothbrush to get at any hard-to-reach areas!

If there is any more soot, ash and debris left over after this step, then it may be worth vacuuming up after you are done to collect any soot particles that are lingering.

If you have glass on your fireplace, then you will have to clean this too. However, we have a simple hack for you. To clean the glass on your fireplace, you will need a damp cloth. You are best off picking an old one that you do not mind throwing out afterwards. If you do not have one, then you can use paper towels if needed.

Dampen the cloth or paper towels in a bowl of water, and this may sound crazy...but dip the cloth in ash. Trust us, it works! Use the ash from the fireplace on the cloth to remove soot that is coated on the glass. It may sound counterintuitive, but it will work like a charm!

You will have to scrub very hard to remove all stains and soot, but it should work. Then, once the soot is gone, wipe the glass with a microfiber cloth or towel to get rid of any remaining streaks or residue, and there you have it...a perfectly cleaned fireplace! 

How often should you clean a fireplace?

How often should you clean a fireplace?

For safety purposes, you should be cleaning your fireplace often, as a substance called creosote can build up in the flue, which is highly flammable and therefore dangerous. For the best results, you should be doing a brief clean of your fireplace every week when it is in use, by clearing out the grate, ashes and any debris left behind.

Once you are done using the fireplace, and you know you will not be using it for a few months, it is a good idea to do a deep and full clean of the fireplace. This should be done at least once a year. During the summer or hotter months, when you do not use the fireplace, you do not necessarily need to clean it. 

How to keep a fireplace clean

The best way to keep your fireplace cleaner for longer is to use dry wood. Dry wood burns far better, and produces much less smoke than wet wood. This can then prevent smoky marks on your fireplace, and reduce the risk of it getting stained by smoke, ash and debris. 

You can also use a vacuum cleaner to keep your fireplace clean for longer. Simply vacuum the fireplace every week, and there should not be as big of a clear up job when it comes to the deep clean. Just remember that the embers should be dried and out for at least 12 hours before you start vacuuming anything up from your fireplace.

It is also important to note that you should never ever put out the fire with water, unless it is an emergency, or the flames are out of control. Using water to douse a fire will result in a thick paste of ash which can be incredibly hard to clean in the long run, so only use this method if it is absolutely necessary.

Fireplaces should burn out naturally as the embers die, which you can then clean up much easier than wet ash. 


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