However, when the season ends, the sad truth is many fireplaces are left with debris, charcoal, soot, stains, and overall dirtiness. Not a pleasant sight anymore! Besides, the build-up of creosote, which is an oily wood-tar by product, can make fires go out of control.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at how to clean a fireplace, including some specific situations.
The steps below will work with most wooden fireplaces, but be sure to adapt them to your particular scenario.
A Fireplace-Cleaning Strategy
- Ensure it’s cold - Even though it’s obvious, you should never underestimate the importance of checking whether the fireplace is cold. Ash can still be hot days after the fire is extinguished.
- Remove and clean the grate and andirons- You need to remove both items from the fireplace for proper cleaning, so why not give them a clean-up as well? The best option is to use detergent and water. However, if they’re made of metal that tarnishes, such as brass, use acids like vinegar or lemon juice.
- Remove any debris - Use a brush and shovel to remove all large pieces of debris. If you want to protect yourself from inhaling soot, consider using a mask.
- Remove the ashes - Now that the big pieces are gone, you can use the shovel to scoop the ashes. The best way to clean ashes from the fireplace is by using a brush to carefully remove them and scooping them with a shovel. Remember to make slow movements since it’s very light and can cause a mess on your floor. Don’t forget to have a bucket or container next to the fireplace to minimise dirt on your floor.
- Vacuum the soot- If you performed the previous step properly, you likely removed most of the dirtiness. Get rid of the remaining soot with a vacuum cleaner. It’s recommendable to have an appliance specific to this purpose and spare your everyday one.
- Use a damp cloth or sponge - You can make your fireplace shine by using a cleaning solution after vacuuming. This is especially important if there’s still dirt or stains. You can mix equal parts of detergent and water and use it on a damp cloth. Rub stains with the cloth in a circular motion, and scrub dirty parts with the sponge.
- Put the andirons and grate back - All that’s left is to put these elements back into the fireplace.
As you can see, it’s not rocket science to clean your fireplace, but it’s easier said than done. This is because it’s challenging to handle all the dirtiness without making things worse. Besides, there are some specific issues which we’ll discuss apart from this general guide.
If you have a marble mantel surrounding your fireplace, it can be very challenging to strike a balance between the marble being pristine and all the ashes and burnt material. Since marble is porous, it easily absorbs dust and dirt.
How to Clean a Marble Fireplace
The first thing to do is to follow the steps we mentioned previously to clean the fireplace properly. Take extra care, given the porous nature of marble. When you’re finished, use a pH-neutral cleaner or detergent with water.
Apply the solution with a cloth and rub, again, in a circular motion. After you’re finished, rinse it with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth.
Removing scratches from a marble fireplaceIf your precious marble has been scratched, fret not! There are two things you can try to make it look like new.
If it has light scratches, you can use elbow grease to buff them out. Use elbow grease with a damp, soft cloth and rub it over the scratches in a circular motion. Apply pressure but don’t do it too hard to prevent damage.
If it doesn't work or the scratches are deeper, you can use a marble polishing product. These are available in hardware stores, and it generally implies using the product with a soft cloth and rubbing.