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How to clean your fireplace

By Kirstine Pedersen

Updated: August 23rd, 2018

This necessary evil is well worth the end result.

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Although cleaning out your fireplace is probably the last thing you want to do, it’s important to stay on top of it so there’s less cleaning required at a later stage. Here are some helpful tips on how to clean your fireplace.

Be prepared to get messy

Soot, smoke, ash, and crumbling chunks of charcoaled timber… be prepared for things to get more than a little messy.

  • Smock up – an artist’s smock, old apron, or even a plastic poncho will do.
  • Gloves – something heavy duty and made of fabric.
  • Drop sheet – you’ll definitely need a plastic drop sheet, or an old bed sheet that you’re happy to dispose of for the floor. Tape it down around the base of the fireplace door/opening, and a bit past the sides.
  • A mask – if you haven’t cleaned your fireplace in a while, it might be worthwhile wearing breathing protection and an eye mask to protect you while you get grubby.
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Get the right tools and materials

Before you start, get yourself sorted with the many bits and pieces you’ll need to clean a fireplace. You may already have some of these items as part of your fireplace ‘toolkit’ or in your cupboard:

  • Wire brushes specifically for chimney and furnace cleaning – long and short handle
  • A scraper/small shovel
  • Dustpan and brush (that you don’t mind getting covered in black soot)
  • Vacuum cleaner – a handheld one or one with a brush attachment would be perfect
  • Used coffee grounds – if you’ve got some (we’ll tell you why below)
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Paper towel/drying cloth
  • A bin, bucket or cardboard box – or you can just use the drop sheet if you’re not going to miss it
  • Hearth or fireplace cleanser – either a commercial product or homemade version

Basic steps for cleaning the fireplace

  1. Remove any chunks of wood or debris from your cold, dry fireplace (let that furnace cool down first)
  2. Dislodge any out of sight objects up the chimney using a long-stemmed brush
  3. Brush the sides of the inner furnace with a heavy-duty or wire brush
  4. Sprinkle used coffee grounds over the ash – their weight and moisture will cling to the ash and prevent it from flailing around your living room
  5. Scrape or shovel the ash and small burnt leftovers out
  6. Brush the inner sides out with a dustpan and brush and if you have one available, go over it with a vacuum cleaner to remove the majority of the particles
  7. Use a hearth or fireplace cleanser of your choice to scrub the insides of the furnace walls, glass, and door (don’t forget to clean the grate and fireplace toolkit too if they need it)
  8. Clean the exterior with the product of your choice
  9. Wipe everything out
  10. Collect all of your rubbish and dispose of it
  11. Allow drying completely before using again

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirstine

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