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Tips on Cleaning Your Fireplace Before the Winter

As the weather begins to take a turn for the frostier, your fireplace will begin to look increasingly enticing. Before you break open your woodshed and brush the dust off your logs, you need to spend some time cleaning and preparing for any future fires. After months of disuse, your fireplace may have built up a surprising amount of dirt and grime that needs to be cleaned out. Otherwise, what may start as a lovely time around the fire could turn into a smoke-filled fire hazard. While you will want to hire a professional chimney sweep to make sure the chimney itself is clear of any debris or blockages, it’s easy enough to clean the actual fireplace on your own.

The Tools

The best way to protect yourself from needing to go on any mid-clean shopping runs is to run down the necessary checklist and make sure you’re prepared for work. The basic list includes:

  • Abrasive brush or sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Small broom and dustpan
  • Rags
  • Vacuum
  • Tarp (old towels you never use will do in a pinch)
  • Gloves
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Oven cleaner (for any built up burnt material)
  • Ammonia (be careful if you choose to use this – it may damage brick fireplaces)
  • Fireplace cleaner

Now that you have your cleaning supplies, take the time to protect yourself and your home from getting dirty. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy, put on an old apron that you don’t mind getting covered in soot, and lay a tarp down to cover the area immediately surrounding your fireplace. Soot is incredibly difficult to get out of carpeting and clothes, so if you don’t have a tarp make sure to cover the area with old towels or clothes you don’t mind ruining.

The Clean

  • Don’t Clean Right After A Fire: Wait at least 24 hours after your last fire to begin cleaning. If you try to jump in right away without letting your fireplace cool off, you may end up burning yourself.
  • Clear Out Debris: Make sure to have a pair of gloves ready for this part – it can be hard to tell what you’re pulling out, and you don’t want to start out your clean with a nasty splinter that needs to be disinfected. Because the majority of the debris will hopefully be wood, sort the debris into piled for disposal and for salvage – if it can still be burned, there’s no need to let it go to waste. You may want to use a vacuum to clear out any remaining loose debris before moving on to the next step.
  • Sweep It Up: Take your small broom and dustpan to thoroughly sweep out the entirety of your fireplace, including the top, back, and sides. You may be able to mitigate cough-inducing ash clouds by sprinkling some coffee grounds around your fireplace to give them a more solid texture.
  • Start Spraying and Scrubbing: Use your all-purpose cleaner and spray down the entirety of your fireplace before grabbing your abrasive brush or sponge. Dip it in whatever cleaner you’ve chosen – oven, fireplace, ammonia, etc. – and begin scrubbing. Use circular motions while scrubbing to apply this cleaner, but be careful not to scrub too hard to avoid damaging your fireplace. If you’re having trouble reaching any nooks and crannies, dip your toothbrush in the cleaner and use that instead.
  • Now Wait: Depending on how bat the stains are, you may need to wait and let the cleaner sit for as long as 30 minutes. Otherwise, 15 minutes should do the trick, unless the cleaner you used has specific directions on how long you need to wait. Once time is almost up, fill a bowl with warm or hot water.
  • Rinse It Down: Dip your rags in the warm or hot water and use it to wipe away the cleaner and any remaining soot. Any stains should rub off with a bit of elbow grease. If it’s giving you trouble, you may need to go back and reapply cleaner, let it sit, and wipe it down again. Repeat as necessary.

While it’s important to go in with a deep clean every so often, there are a few ways to keep your fireplace clean throughout the winter that don’t require you to break out all of your cleaning supplies. Try to vacuum out any built up debris once every week or so, just be sure to give the fire at least 12 hours to completely go out before you do. Also, try to avoid putting out your fires with water except in emergency situations. Dumping water on it can turn the ashes into a pasty mess that is noticeably more difficult to clean.

Keeping all parts of your home clean is an important job that needs to be taken care of throughout the year, but your busy schedule may make it hard to stay on top of it all the time. That’s there The Maids Dallas is ready to jump in – our team of professionals will make sure your home is spotless through our specialized 22-Step Healthy Touch Deep Cleaning System. Start your cleaning process today by filling out our online form, or give us a call at (972) 471-9509 to get a free price estimate!

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Categories: Tips, House Cleaning

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