Fireplace Cleaning

Why “Cleaning Fireplace” Should Fall on Your Fall Cleaning List

As the weather gets colder, we light fires more and more frequently. This draws attention to the fireplace that it doesn’t get during the warmer months.

So go take a look at your fireplace. Stare at it long and hard. Is it something you want to snuggle up in front of?

Or maybe that stain you’ve been ignoring all summer is starting to look pretty obvious. That sooty firebox? Flickering flames will only make it more noticeable.

Not convinced yet? The fireplaces in our heads are cozy, romantic spots. But in real life we have to work to get it that way.

Since our fireplaces are about to get more attention than usual, it’s time to dig in, get dirty, and clean up those fireplaces.

Supplies

First things first, let’s gather some supplies:

  • Bucket/large bowl
  • Sponge
  • Stiff-bristled brush

Then you’ll need to choose one or more of these cleaners:

Soap: This is a mild cleaner that can remove surface dirt but not much else. If your fireplace is mostly clean, go with this option.

Brick cleaner: This is another mild cleanser that removes soot, ash, and some shallow stains. If your fireplace is dirty with mild staining, go with this option

TSP: The most aggressive of all these options, TSP removes the stains that are a natural part of owning a fireplace over years and years.

Use TSP once to make your fireplace look new again. Then reach for more mild cleaners on a regular basis.

Then throw down some drop cloths to protect the surrounding area, make sure you’re wearing old clothes, and get to work.

How to Clean with Soap

To clean with soap, fill your bucket with soapy water and scrub the whole fireplace with a sponge. Use that stiff-bristled brush to work on any hard-to-clean areas.

If you have a large fireplace, you may want to replace your water as needed to keep it clean. Or, fill up a spray bottle so you’re not dipping your sponge into dirty water.

How to Clean with Soap

To clean with soap, fill your bucket with soapy water and scrub the whole fireplace with a sponge. Use that stiff-bristled brush to work on any hard-to-clean areas.

If you have a large fireplace, you may want to replace your water as needed to keep it clean. Or, fill up a spray bottle so you’re not dipping your sponge into dirty water.

Once everything is soapy, fill your bucket with clean water. Use the sponge to rinse away any soap residue.

Warm water helps here, so keep refilling your bucket to keep the water clean and hot.

Let the fireplace dry completely, and voila! A clean fireplace is just gorgeous!

If your “voila” moment is disappointing, you may need to invest in a stronger cleaner.

How to Clean with Brick Cleaner

Take a look at your specific brick cleaner for instructions, but I’ll give you some general guidelines.

Working in small sections, wet the brick with a sponge, spray on the cleaner, and scrub. You can use a sponge or a scrubbing brush.

Using your sponge, squeeze water over the area until the water runs clear.

If there are soaking areas, wipe dry with paper towels. Then wait patiently for the brick to dry completely.

Unfortunately, most brick cleaners are not a “spray and sit” solution. You will have to actually scrub to get soot and creosote out of the brick.

How to Clean with TSP

Ok. First of all, you need to know that TSP is not a mild cleaner. It is very powerful.

This is great because it can remove stains that have been building up for years and years. However, use it with caution.

By “with caution” I mean “with cautionary measures. Wear clothing that covers all of your arms and legs. Wear close toed shoes, eye protection, and gloves.

Once you’re suited up, grab the TSP (it is a powder sold at most local hardware stores) and mix it up according to the directions on the product.

YOu’ll apply the product to the stained areas, let it sit, and then rinse it away. Be sure to cover the floors, walls, and furniture around your fireplace before you begin.

Final Thoughts

I know, I know. Cleaning the fireplace seems like a hassle. But really it’s a project that can be done in just a day.

Maybe save up some of your favorite podcast episodes to listen to while you work. Or promise to take yourself on a date afterwards.

But get it done. You won’t be sorry!