How to Clean a Fireplace

As the winter season approaches, it is important to understand how to clean a fireplace properly.  After all, if you own a fireplace, you’ll probably find yourself curled up and enjoying the warmth at some point during the next few months.  While fireplaces are one of the most enjoyable features of a home, they can be extremely dangerous when left unclean.

How to Clean a Fireplace

Understanding how to clean a fireplace the right way will require different things depending on what kind of fireplace you have.  If you have a brick fireplace, for example, the cleaning process will be slightly different than if your fireplace is made of stone.  Additionally, some fireplaces have a glass cover door, which requires some extra work to clean properly.

How to clean a brick fireplace

how to clean a fireplaceWhen cleaning any fireplace, you’ll need to buy a fireplace cleaning solution (usually made up of trisodium phosphate mixed with water and bleach).  This can be made at home, but commercial versions of the product tend to work better.  Because of the solution’s corrosive nature, you’ll want to make sure that you wear gloves and protective eyewear.

After you’ve got your solution mixed up, you’ll want to lay a tarp or sheet of plastic down around your fireplace to make sure that you don’t ruin your carpet.  Tape it at the edges if you feel like it may shift as you’re working.  Next, what you’ll need to do is to apply the solution and let it sit for between five and ten minutes.  This will start to dissolve the soot and make it easier to start scrubbing.

Once you’re scrubbing away at the brick, make sure that you get the brush into all of the crevices to clear soot from the mortar.  It is crucial, if you want a clean fireplace, to wipe the brick and mortar down with a damp cloth after scrubbing to remove any sooty residue from the surface.

How to clean a stone fireplace

how to clean a fireplaceUltimately, cleaning a stone fireplace is very similar to cleaning a brick one.  However, the crevices in stone are much more difficult to clean than those found in brick.  They go much deeper and therefore may require you to let the solution sit for longer while it breaks down the soot.  A stone fireplace may also require more scrubbing than one made of brick.

Cleaning a stone fireplace also requires one additional step:  the application of a stone sealer.  While the stones that your fireplace is built from were probably sealed before your home was built, the sealant tends to corrode over time.

However, reapplication of the sealant will ensure that your fireplace stones are strong and stain resistant, meaning that it minimizes the number of times you have to clean your fireplace again in the future.

How to clean fireplace glass

how to clean a fireplaceIf your fireplace is equipped with a glass cover, knowing how to clean a fireplace means understanding how to clean the glass as well.  Unfortunately, the glass needs to be cleaned far more often than the brick or stones the fireplace is made of.

If you use your fireplace frequently, you’ll want to clean your fireplace glass at least once every week. The longer you wait in between cleanings, the more soot will build up on the surface.  Luckily, however, cleaning the fireplace glass takes far less work than cleaning the walls of the fireplace itself.

Start by burning a fire to loosen up the soot on the door.  This should be easy if you enjoy using the fireplace anyway.  After the fire has died down, wait seven hours before you begin to clean it.  You can then wipe down the glass using a wet towel or a sheet of newspaper.  Adding vinegar will make the cleaning process a bit easier.

Ultimately, cleaning your fireplace glass is much like cleaning a window.  It may be a hassle to do sometimes, but it will keep your fireplace looking great and prevent soot from building up over time.

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