How can I Clean a Fireplace?

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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2020
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Who wants to clean a fireplace? This is not a chore most people look forward to doing but it is a necessary task, not only to promote cleanliness but also to promote home safety. Residues and other types of build up found in fireplaces and chimneys are potential fire hazards. No matter how much you might dread it, it is important to check and clean a fireplace regularly and properly.

You should clean a fireplace at least once during the year if it is used more times than you can count on one hand in that year. You should try to do so during warmer months before it gets cool enough to need the fireplace for heating. Always check the flue and damper before each use. Even if you decide to clean a fireplace yourself, you may choose to have the flue and damper cleaned professionally if there is a lot of buildup.

Be sure to use protective gear when you clean a fireplace. Protective eyewear such as safety glasses or goggles should always be worn. Gloves are also a good idea. It is wise to protect surrounding surfaces before you begin to clean a fireplace, to protect them from soot. It’s also a good idea to wear old clothing or work clothes as well.


When you start to clean a fireplace, begin by removing large debris and follow with sweeping or vacuuming of ashes. Sweep or vacuum the walls and ceiling of the firebox as well as the hearth. Remove as much loose soot as possible.

To clean a fireplace that doesn’t get a lot of use, you probably won’t have to do much more than scrub it gently. Use a brush that has stiff bristles, but avoid a wire brush as it may cause damage. Scrub soot and other residue from the walls. Scrub using firm but careful pressure to avoid damaging bricks.

When you clean a fireplace, try pure, clean water first but add cleanser if necessary for heavy build up. If you must use cleanser, try to use one that will not leave a lot of residue. It is still important to rinse thoroughly, since some cleansers can leave buildup that may in fact become flammable.

Rinse by wiping down the area with a clean, soft cloth dampened in clean water. Apply enough pressure to remove any film left by cleansers as well as to remove any bits of leftover soot. When the cloth comes away without discoloration, you will know that surface is clean.



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