Tips To Help You Keep Your Fireplace And Chimney Cleaned And Maintained

Your wood-burning fireplace is a great feature you can use to add heat to your home, a relaxing ambiance, and a great place to gather around on a cold winter evening. Winter is here, and you should have your fireplace prepared for the winter months ahead. First, you will want to take some time to make sure your fireplace is safe, clean, and looking its best for continued use and enjoyment. Here are some recommendations that you can apply when you need to clean out your fireplace and keep it maintained and not a sooty mess.

Clean Out Your Fireplace Interior

The inside of your fireplace is a constant collection place of loose soot, ashes, and dangerous creosote that builds up over the time you use your fireplace. The metal grate can become coated in soot and is a good starting place to clean its interior. Just be sure you lay down some old sheets or towels around the outside of the fireplace so you can protect your surrounding surfaces from soot stains. Make sure your fireplace has cooled sufficiently if you have recently used it.

Take the grate and the andirons outside and use a brush to remove soot and clean them up, and rinse them with water when you are finished. With a shovel, scoop up all the ashes sitting inside the fireplace so you can bag them into a trash bag to throw away. Use a brush on the inside of your fireplace brick to brush off loose soot, working from the top down to the bottom. Use a shop vacuum to suck up any loosened debris that has fallen inside the hearth.

Remove Brick and Rock Staining

The inside of your fireplace hearth will become black and stained from soot with regular use, but if the outside of your fireplace becomes stained, you can use a cleaning process to remove the stains. A mixture of baking soda and dish soap will make a cleaning paste that you can apply to the stains. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the baking soda to absorb the stains. After it sits, wipe it off and rinse the area clean, and repeat the process if any stains remain. A combination of cream of tartar and water will make a good paste to remove small but difficult stains, using the same process as with the baking soda mixture.

Hire a Chimney Sweep

In addition to cleaning the hearth and the fireplace walls, you should hire a chimney sweep service at least once a year to clean out the interior of the chimney and flue. The inside of the chimney collects a buildup of creosote, which is a flammable and dangerous substance that can start a fire in your chimney if it is not kept cleaned out. 

For more information about fireplace maintenance, contact a local cleaning service.