Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Fireplace
The number of “spring cleaning” projects on my list this year keeps mushrooming, but one the biggest tasks I have to tackle is cleaning the fireplace after a long winter of being closed in and burning wood.
I think the fireplace is one of the toughest jobs of all because it is one of the dirtiest places in a home. Ashes, soot, stains—these are all items on the list to be tackled so I can check the fireplace off of my list. The cleaning project I am referring to here is NOT the chimney. Personally, I would not venture to do conduct my own safety inspection, I prefer to bring in the “professionals” to clean my chimney. On my list are the firebox, the fireplace doors, and any soot or stains on the brick.
It’s important for you to make certain you get your chimney inspected once each year. Many people opt for the Fall season, before they begin using their fireplaces frequently. There’s no reason you can’t have this service performed in the Spring, instead.
But the spring cleaning chores I am referring to are more of a deep clean of the fireplace surround, hearth pad and the inside of your fireplace and firebox.
Handy tools for you to gather when preparing to “spring clean” your fireplace
- Drop cloth
- Large bucket
- Stiff bristled nylon brush
- Metal trash can
- Shop Vac vacuum
- Warm water
- Cleaning supplies
- Bleach and TSP
- Vinegar and baking soda for a natural approach
- Rags or towels that you don’t mind getting dirty
- Protective mask, eyewear, and gloves
Let’s get started
-First remove the log holder, andirons and any other tools from the fireplace area.
To clean them quickly, you could take them outside and hose them off to clean them.
Scrubbing the tools and accessories gently should get most of the dirt and grime off.
You can also try a non-flammable metal polish to clean them to a shine if you like.
-Next, carefully scoop out any built up and loose ash and place it in a metal trash can. You can use either a Shop Vac or a vacuum to life the rest of the ash up and out of the fireplace area.
-Take the nylon brush and use it to loosen and scrape off and of the gunk that is stuck to the walls and the bottom of the fireplace. You can also use your Shop Vac to
clean up this debris, too.
-Create a solution to clean the surfaces. To do this, combine 1 gallon of warm water with 1 cup of bleach and 6 tablespoons of TSP. Then put on protective rubber gloves, and use the solution to scrub the walls, surround and floor of your fireplace.
-Next, rinse the fireplace surfaces with a wet cloth, rinsing in between with water for best results.
-If you’re interested in using a more natural cleaning solution, then mix a half warm water and half white vinegar solution. To be successful with the water and vinegar solution will require a lot more elbow grease—you’ll need to scrub harder to get the surfaces clean. To use this more natural solution, spray the mix on all of the surfaces of your fireplace, avoiding wood or any surface that can be damaged by water. Let the solution sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then spray it again, and scrub with a nylon brush. You may need to repeat this step more than once to get the results you want.
Once this process is complete, dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda in water, and wipe down the same fireplace surfaces with the baking soda solution to help neutralize the vinegar.
-To clean the glass fireplace doors takes just a few squirts of dishwashing detergent like Dawn, to a bucket of warm water, OR add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. I’ve found that cleaning the glass with the soapy water first, then once dry wiping it down with the vinegar solution is the most thorough method here.
-Wipe any residue away with newspaper, which is lint-free.
-To clean the mantel, wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust. If your mantel is wood, you can use a wood polish to add luster and freshly-cleaned shine. You may also want to consider dusting and freshening up your mantel decor.
That’s it, pretty simple, really! Now all we have to do is find the time to tackle this chore and get our fireplaces ready for Spring!