How to Clean Your Fireplace

Tips for a Mess-Free Fireplace Cleaning

Molly Maid does not offer this service; however, here are some do-it-yourself ideas to tackle this job.

Fireplaces are great! If you have one, consider yourself lucky. Of course, like any part of your home, it needs cleaning now and again.

Some tips: Wear some old clothes. This is a messy job. And wear a particle mask, because soot can get in the air and make you look like Bert the Chimney Sweep, Dick Van Dyke’s character from Mary Poppins.

Also, please never try to vacuum the soot and old ashes with anything other than a shop vac—the filter on your regular vacuum would choke and clog in the time it takes to strike a match.

And prepping for the job is another important consideration, since you don’t want to have to get up mid-job to walk through every room in your house looking for this and that and leaving trails of soot.

Before you even open the fireplace doors, make sure you’ve already gathered:

  • a tarp/drop cloth
  • a towel-sized rag
  • trash can
  • rubber gloves
  • particle mask
  • shop vac (if you have one)
  • spray bottle with water
  • a bucket of cleaning solution (see details below)
  • a soft cloth
  • paper toweling
  • glass/hearth cleaner
  • commercial hearth cleaner
  • scrub brush
  • fireplace tools: fireplace brush and ash pan

The trash bin comes in handy for instant disposal of partially burned logs and the soot itself, and the tarp is handy to rest the grate on so you can get at the ash and interior walls of the fireplace.

Clean brick surfaces under 50 years old with water from the spray bottle and wipe off soot with commercial hearth cleaner. Refrain from using hearth cleaner on bricks over the half-century mark. Iron surfaces can be cleaned with hearth cleaner and a water rinse; to finish, dry with paper towels. For marble and stone, apply spray bottle water, scrub with dishwashing liquid solution and cloth, rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth. Hearth or glass cleaner works on fireplace windows, and hearth cleaner works on the grate, too (don’t forget to wipe the hearth cleaner off with paper toweling).

“Chim chim cher-ee!” Now go jump in the shower!

Your fireplace will burn safer and more efficiently. And until you decide to enjoy another cozy fire, the fireplace will look like a show piece.

Molly Maid has been providing professional home cleaning to busy families for over 30 years. To receive more cleaning tips, sign up for the Molly Maid newsletter!

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