Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

How to Clean Your Fireplace Without Professional Assistance

how to clean your fireplace custom graphic

There’s nothing like warming up by the fireplace on a cold winter’s night! Not to mention the gorgeous, homely ambience your fireplace creates for you and your loved ones to relax and catch up at the end of a hectic day. With that said, if you’re gearing up for cold weather and need your fireplace to be in tiptop condition, cleaning it is a must.

For a wood-burning fireplace, it’s important to maintain the space by cleaning it out periodically to avoid a fire hazard and health problems that may arise from using it with the presence of mould, soot, creosote, etc. Now, it may seem like cleaning a fireplace is a job for the professionals but if you have all the information you need in your back pocket, a DIY approach is a great way to save money.

To help you get the job done efficiently, here is MaidForYou’s DIY guide to cleaning your fireplace.

Step One: Prepare for the Clean

lady cleaning a fireplace window with glass cleaner

Along with getting yourself ready, you will need to prepare the space around the fireplace as things are about to get messy! First things first though, put on an old pair of pants and t-shirt (or anything that you don’t mind getting dirty or stained). As far as protective gear goes, you will need rubber gloves, a mask, and goggles to prevent debris from getting into your eyes.

For the space around your fireplace, move furniture pieces away from the area so that you don’t end up spilling dirt over them. You should also have enough room to move around freely during the cleaning process so be sure to create a good work area. Finish off by placing down as many drop cloths as needed to protect your floors from ash and cleaning products.

Step Two: Clean the Grate, Andirons and Screen

end of lease cleaning fireplace before picture

These are the only removable components of a fireplace, and the first things you will need to clean. It is advisable to do this outside or in your bathroom as you will need to wash off the ash thoroughly. Before you carry them to wherever you intend on cleaning the components, however, dust each item so that you don’t spill ash everywhere!

Hose down the grate, andirons, and screen; leave them aside while you make the cleaning solution. For a thorough clean to remove built-up soot and stains, combine (equal parts) white vinegar and warm water; to increase cleansing power, add in a small amount of grease-fighting dish soap. Now, soak a gentle scrubber in the cleaning solution, and scrub down each component thoroughly. Once you have removed stains and grime buildup, rinse the components off and wipe them dry.

Step Three: Remove Wood Pieces and Ash

person removing ash and debris from a large fireplace

Before you shovel out ash from your fireplace, remove any large wood pieces by hand and dispose of them if they are not usable. Next, line a cardboard box with a trash bag, and begin shovelling the ash covering the bottom of your fireplace. Once you have removed a major part of the ash buildup, the rest can be vacuumed or swept up.

Warning: Before attempting the above method, you need to make sure that the ash in the fireplace has not been smouldering and that it is completely free from combustible elements. DO NOT under any circumstance use your vacuum to remove ash that hasn't been completely put out.

There’s no need to be too thorough in this step as the bottom of your fireplace will require a deeper clean after the interior has been rid of soot and grime. This will be tackled in the next step.

Step Four: Clean the Interior

End of lease cleaning of a heavily soiled fireplace

If you haven’t used your fireplace in a long time, stubborn soot buildup, dirt and, even worse, mould may be present on the interior walls. Therefore, a deep clean is definitely in order. 

Follow this quick guide to clean your fireplace walls efficiently:

  1. Use a brush to remove dirt and charred bits of wood clinging to the surface.
  2. Wipe the walls with a damp cloth (you may require a few cloths for this).
  3. In a basin, mix 5 cups of water, 1 ½ cups of white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda; stir the solution well to combine the ingredients.
  4. Dip a semi-hard brush in the cleaning solution and scrub down one wall at a time. Be sure to rinse off the cleaning tool each time it gets soiled.
  5. After scrubbing the fireplace walls, wipe over them with a damp cloth to remove any residue left by the cleaner.

By now, the base of the fireplace may be more soiled than earlier, and will therefore require a deep clean. Do this by wiping the surface with a dry cloth or a brush and dustpan to remove loose debris. Spot clean stains with a scrub brush and water-vinegar-baking soda cleaning solution (like the one used to clean the interior walls). After a good scrubbing, soak up water (which is likely to be dirty) with a cloth or paper towels, then wipe the base with a clean damp towel. 

To complete the clean, wipe the exterior of the fireplace with a clean, dry cloth to remove dust and ash that may have gotten past the screen. Allow the interior to dry up completely along with the removable components before you place them back inside your freshly cleaned fireplace. 

With that, we come to the end of our super-efficient DIY guide to cleaning a fireplace! Be sure to use the steps above to maintain its overall condition, and enjoy those toasty, cosy nights keeping warm in the glow of a beautiful wood-burning fireplace!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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