Cleaning Your Wood Fireplace

There’s nothing better than the warmth of a wood fireplace on a chilly winter night, but with summer in full swing, your fireplace may be the very last thing at back of your mind. However, the warm weather is the perfect time to get a fresh start on your fireplace and chimney before fall sets in. Cleaning a wood fireplace is a different animal than a gas or pellet stove, so keep this quick guide handy when sit down to scrub out the centerpiece of your living room.

Step 1: Preparation

Ash and creosote build up along the base of your fireplace and can coat the outsides of your fireplace and its vents. Setting down plastic sheets or newspaper will prevent damage to your carpet and keep everything easy to clean after you’re done. Next, remove the andirons or glass doors and the grate and take them both outside. Using a stiff nylon brush, brush off all soot and rinse with water. Use metal polish for an extra shine.

Step 2: The Big Stuff

Using either a shovel and bucket or a Shop-Vac, remove all excess soot and ash from the interior of your fireplace. Dispose of the ash in the garbage can or use a small amount of it for composting purposes. Once you’ve removed the majority of the ash and debris, scrub the walls and top of your fireplace with a nylon brush. Leave the floor for last – you’ll want to let the ash from the walls fall first.

Step 3: Dig Deep

Now that you’ve removed all the surface level soot and ash from your fireplace, you’ll want to use a deep cleaning solution to remove flame markings, scarring, and discoloration. While there are pre-made chemical solutions you can buy, mixing warm water with a small amount of bleach and Trisodium Phosphate is a great method of cleaning your fireplace. Get about 6 tablespoons of the Trisodium Phosphate, 1 cup of bleach, and a gallon of warm water to complete the solution. Be sure to wear gloves and use your brush to scrub the mixture around the surface of your fireplace until it’s clean.

Step 4: Rinse and Replace

Rinse everything with warm water and towel it off, then replace your grate and doors.

Remember, cleaning your fireplace isn’t the only step. However dirty and gross your fireplace was before you cleaned it, your chimney is much worse. Years of use lead to built-up creosote, which can cause dangerous chimney fires. Even if you plan to clean your fireplace on your own, be sure to contact a professional chimney sweep to ensure the safety of your home and your family once winter rolls back around.

Don’t wait until the mercury drops! Contact Chimcare to schedule a chimney sweep appointment today!