There is nothing quite like sitting in front of the fireplace enjoying the warmth of a fire with your family and friends. Since the dawn of humanity when we first discovered fire we have been in awe with its beauty, power and thankful for the life-giving heat it provides.
To this day our relationship with fire has not changed, we have evolved and mastered fire and all its uses which we use on different aspects of our daily lives.
Owning a hearth in our own homes is a beautiful thing and is a testament to this evolution. A fireplace is essential for those of us that live in areas that get very cold. Since a fireplace is most commonly situated in the living room, it may serve you well to know how to clean living room.
Sure it can be more convenient to just turn up the heat for those that have central heat and air installed, but then again nothing does come close to making a cosy fire in your fireplace for some much-needed heat and quality time with the ones you love.
Regardless of how often you use your fireplace, I bet there are soot marks throughout the whole hearth and on your facing as well. When was the last time you cleaned your fireplace? If you don’t remember, that is a bad sign.
You don’t have to worry if it has been a long time since you last cleaned your hearth. Just follow the step by step instructions below on how to clean a fireplace. Proper cleaning is going to bring back the lustre of how it first looked without all the soot on its facing.
Tools for cleaning a fireplace
- Face mask
- Old clothes
- Rubber gloves
- Trash bags or Tarp
- Nylon brush
- Shop vacuum
- Old Newspapers
- Glass Cleaner
How to clean brick or stone fireplace
Brick fireplaces are probably the most old-fashioned among the different materials used in building chimneys and fireplaces. They have that classic look that will always be fashionable.
Brick or stone is suitable for wood burning hearths; this is the traditional kind of fireplace where actual wooden logs are burned in the firebox which has a byproduct of burnt ash. The steps below will show you how to clean a stone fireplace.
They still look good even when they are dirty, and they will look even better after being cleaned. Since they are made from bricks, you can bet that they are immensely durable and can handle abrasive cleaning tools like nylon bristled brushes and heavy-duty sponges. Follow these steps to learn how to clean a fireplace.
Step 1 Wear protective gear
Since you will be handling ash that has been accumulating in your hearth for a long time, you would not want to inhale or accidentally ingest minute particles of ash. It is imperative that you wear a face mask to make sure you don’t breathe in any debris.
Wear goggles to prevent any dust particles from entering your eyes. If you do not, it is more than likely to enter your eyes, which would cause discomfort and irritation. Put on rubber gloves if you don’t want any soot to dirty your hands.
Step 2 Prep the spot
Cleaning a fireplace can get real messy if you do not prepare beforehand. If you have an old tarp, use that to cover the floors in front of the fireplace. If you don’t have a tarp to use as a drop cloth, use large plastic trash bags instead. Position a bucket or trash can immediately beside the hearth.
Step 3 Clear the Debris
In this stage you will need to get on your knees to reach down into the hearth to pick up any significant debris and toss them in the trash can. Make sure to pick up piles of unburnt wood or any burnt debris that are big enough to pick up and throw away.
Step 4 Clean the fireplace grates
Lift the fireplaces grates and take it outside or in your garage, lay it on top of some old newspapers or large trash bags. Use an oven cleaner and spray it thoroughly, make sure to flip it over and spray every inch of it, then let it sit. Use your nylon brush to scrub it clean.
Step 5 Sweep the firebox
Take a broom and sweep the remaining ash into the dustpan, then throw into the trash. Be as thorough as possible sweep each corner of the hearth, get every loose spec of ash and soot into the dustpan. Empty the dustpan into the trash. Use a shop vac to vacuum the hearth thoroughly.
Do not use a conventional vacuum as this may just clog the filter.
Step 6 Initial scrub down
First, lay some old newspapers flat on the hearth, the purpose of which is to catch any soot that falls off the walls and protect the floors you just cleaned. Before you start scrubbing apply an all-purpose cleaner like Lysol to the inner wall.
You can also use a mix of white vinegar in warm water mixed in a spray bottle for this purpose.
This will moisten the walls making the soot easier to scrub off. Applying an all-purpose cleaner an excellent first step for starting the cleaning process. Do a preliminary scrub down using your nylon bristled brush and scrub each side of the fireplace.
This should loosen the soot burnt to the walls, which will then fall into the newspapers. Throw the newspaper filling up with carbon and ash then add more papers until you’re done. Repeat this until you have scrubbed the inside clean.
Step 7 Apply your cleanser
Bleach in warm water – Mix one gallon of warm water with one cup of bleach in a bucket. Dunk in nylon bristled brush into the bucket then scrub each of the walls inside your hearth.
Do this until you are satisfied it is clean. Rinse your brush clean and scrub the facing of your fireplace. This should remove any soot marks on the front and the side of the facing. Use a paper towel or washcloth to dry your fireplace.
Oven cleaner – This is a popular choice in cleaning hearths since oven cleaners are designed to clean the inside of an oven it only makes sense that it would work to clean a fireplace as well.
Generously spray oven cleaner throughout the inside of the heart, spray oven cleaner on the facing as well and let it sit. Make sure to read the directions for the necessary wait time.
Thirty minutes is the norm, allow the product to break down the soot and creosote stains and just wait patiently. Scrub the facing clean then, get to work and scrub the inside on the hearth.
The oven cleaner should have had plenty of time to break down the soot and creosote stains so they should just peel right off with the stroke of your scrubbing brush.
Scrub each section of the fireplace thoroughly, rinse your brush as needed. Make sure to scrub all the sides as well as the firebox. When your done use a paper towel or washcloth to dry every part you cleaned.
Step 8 – How to clean fireplace glass
This stage is when you need to clean the glass doors of your fireplace. It does get stained with soot, and there are several ways to get your glass door cleaned.
Glass Cleaner – This just makes sense doesn’t it. Just spray some Windex on the glass and use a sponge to clean.
Oven Cleaner – Spray on the glass, wait 20 minutes and scrub with a sponge.
Vinegar water mix – Mix a cup of vinegar plus a cup of water in a spray bottle and spray on the glass. Wipe with a sponge to remove any soot.
Ash and water – This may sound a bit unconventional, but it does work. If you mix wood ash with water, you get lye or potassium hydroxide. It is a caustic cleaning agent and is useful for scrubbing glass and even wooden floors.
You will be pleasantly surprised with the many uses for lye, so you may not want to throw your ask away just yet.
Grab a piece of wood the dip it in ash. Then dip the tip with the ash on it in some water, then rub the end with the ash, on the glass cover of your fireplace, do this in circular motions. Once you have rubbed the entire area with the soot stain, grab a washcloth and wipe clean
How to clean gas fireplace
This kind of fireplace brings all the allure and comforts traditional wood burning fireplaces bring minus all the hassle of maintenance. If you do not like the idea of cleaning ash and soot, a gas fireplace is the way to go.
Step 1 Turn of the Pilot light
Just open the bottom grate and there you should see the dial that controls the pilot light. Turn that dial to the off position.
Step 2 Turn off the gas
Right beside the dial that controls the pilot light, there should be a switch or lever that controls the gas. Shut that off as well.
Step 3 Remove the glass cover
Remove the top grate then proceed back to the open bottom area to the same section where the pilot light switch is, you should see two clamps holding the glass door closed. Unfasten both latches and gently lift the glass door off the frame of the fireplace.
Step 4 Clean the glass cover
Lay the glass cover on the floor or rug and use a shop vac to vacuum the inside edges of the glass cover. Spray some glass cleaner then scrub with a sponge.
Step 5 Remove the logs
Take a quick picture of the logs before removing them so that you can easily put them back in their original position when you are done. Carefully take the Rockwool out and pick up and debris while doing this. Clean that area.
Step 6 Put it back together
When you’re done, put the Rockwool back in behind the line of the first flame, to ensure the fire touches it. This is what gives you that nice ember effect. Then take a look at the picture that you took of the logs and arrange those back into place.
The put back the glass cover, making sure the top part hooks back into place first then gently position the glass cover closed and use the latches to secure it back into place.
Return the top grate into place by just hooking it back onto the sides and do the same for the bottom grate as well.
Now you don’t have to merely remember how your fireplace looked when you first moved in. Just follow the steps above, and you can make your hearth looking like new or close to it at least. Accomplishing necessary maintenance of your fireplace with ensuring that you and your loved ones enjoy countless nights cosying up to a fire.