The more fires you burn in your fireplace, the more ash, creosote, and soot build-up you’ll have in the hearth. An excess of these substances could be detrimental to your home because they could become highly flammable. This is why cleaning your wood-burning fireplace between each use is essential. Read on to learn more about protecting your home against unwanted fires or damage.
Protect the Surrounding Area & Gather Your Tools
Sweeping and vacuuming up ash and soot can become messy. Protect the floor and any surrounding furniture near the fireplace by placing a drop cloth around the hearth. Consider keeping a shovel or vacuum for ash, cleaning solution, stiff-bristled brush, and rubber gloves on hand to make the process easier.
Remove Wood, Ash, & Other Build-Up
Before applying a cleaning solution to the fireplace’s walls, you must remove and chip away any build-up along the floor and walls of the hearth. Don’t worry about scrubbing the hearth yet; focus your energy on removing as much debris as possible. For particularly tricky applications, you could try creosote chimney sweeping logs, which will help loosen the build-up for an easier removal process.
Skip the mess of sweeping and use a shop or hand vacuum to remove the ash and debris quickly.
Begin Cleaning the Fireplace
Once you clean up most of the waste, you can begin scrubbing down the fireplace’s walls and surround. You may use a stiff-bristled brush to access tight nooks and crannies. You must repeat this process until the hearth’s walls no longer have traces of soot or ash. These substances can also make their way to the surround—a pumice stone with dish soap will allow you to clean this area of the fireplace effectively.
Don’t Forget Doors, Andirons, and Grates
The brick and floors of your fireplace are not the only components that get dirty while burning fires. Soot can also build up on the glass doors, andirons, and grates—clean these components with water and a small amount of dish soap. Use glass cleaner for the doors of the fireplace. If you want to make this chore less messy, consider cleaning these pieces outside on your lawn.
Do not burn a new fire until the fireplace is completely dry and clean. Remember that cleaning your wood-burning fireplace periodically between uses is just as important as receiving an annual sweep and inspection. This is a vital task to make part of your routine, especially in the winter when you use the fireplace more. Remember that leaving the creosote and soot to build up could become a fire hazard.