Don't forget to check your fireplace before you start your first fire this winter. Here are tips for cleaning your fireplace.
If you have a fireplace, you know the comfort it can bring on a cold winter night. There is nothing quite like listening to the crackling of a fire and seeing the warm glow of the flames dance along the walls and make shadows. While having a fireplace is an extreme comfort in the winter, as you gear up for spring cleaning you know that cleaning your fireplace can be quite a task to take on. They are messy and dealing with all that soot and ash can make a mess all on its own. To make things easier, here are some helpful Tips for Cleaning Your Fireplace.
Tips for Cleaning Your Fireplace
Take proper safety measures. Don't attempt to clean your fireplace until at least 24 hours have passed since your last fire. The soot and coals need to be cool or you risk not only burning yourself but starting another fire. And as anyone knows, chemical cleaners and heat don't mix. Also, make sure to wear face masks and proper attire. Wear rubber or old gardening gloves.
Keep messes to a minimum. Lay out painter's plastic or tarp around the area you will be cleaning and remove anything like furniture that is in the close vicinity so ash doesn't settle on it or risk getting on it. Remove as much ash as you can before you start cleaning and set it aside. It is amazing for flowerbeds because it contains calcium. To keep dust down, try sprinkling a bit of coffee grounds (used) on the ashes. It's best if they are a bit damp still. Alternatively, you can use a shop vac to get as much soot and dust as you can. Don't try to use a regular household vacuum.
Clean bricks with a homemade paste. For the exterior bricks, mix together cream of tartar and water. For the interior, baking soda and water makes a nice paste. Just brush the pastes on and scrub! For hard to clean areas, add a bit of dish soap to the pastes.
If you have glass doors on your fireplace, try this homemade solution. Mix equal parts of very warm water with white vinegar into a spray bottle. Now, use an old towel, spray it with the mixture and dip it in some of the ashes or baking soda to make a mild abrasive for the glass.
For marble fireplaces, be careful what you use. If you are cleaning marble or granite, it is extremely important not to use super abrasive cleaners or even vinegar. It can be very hard on these surfaces and actually strip the sealant. Instead, use a commercial marble cleaner designed for this specific reason.
Don't forget the chimney. While you can clean your own chimney, it can get extremely messy and you probably don't have access the right tools. On top of that, it can be extremely dangerous. Hire a professional chimney cleaner if possible to do this part. If you want to do it on your own, Bob Villa has some great tips for cleaning your own chimney.