It’s spring time and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. Often overlooked is your wood fireplace. But spring cleaning your wood burning fireplace is not only easy, but will give you the satisfaction of knowing that even the dirtiest place in your home is spotless. Now this is not chimney cleaning; that needs to be left to the professionals. In fact it is recommended that you have a chimney sweep inspect your chimney, and give it a cleaning once per year, generally in the fall, but you can never be too proactive about these things. Why not add that to your spring chores list? This is just a general deep clean of the surround, hearth pad and the inside of your fireplace.
It’s All In The Prep
Step one is prepping, that always makes a world of difference. Whether you are cooking a gourmet meal, or creating an intricate piece of artwork, or just cleaning something properly, it always pays to be prepared.
Tools you will need for spring cleaning your wood-burning fireplace:
- Drop cloth
- Large bucket
- Stiff bristled nylon brush
- Metal waste bin with lid
- Shop vac
- Warm water
- Cleaning supplies
- Bleach and TSP if you don’t mind chemicals
- Vinegar, cream of tartar and baking soda for a natural approach
- Rags or towels that you don’t mind getting dirty
- Protective mask, eyewear, and gloves
Cover your floor with the drop cloth. Then remove the log holder and andirons from your fireplace (if you have them). For ease of cleaning you can just take them right outside and spray them with a hose. A gentle scrub will remove the worst of the ash, but you could even use a nonflammable metal polish if you wanted. Next you need to shovel out the built up ash into a metal waste bin. Use the shop vac to suck up any of the ash you couldn’t scoop up.
Cleanliness Is Next To Hearthliness
Now for the fun part. Use the nylon brush to loosen any stuck on stuff on the walls and the bottom of the fireplace. You can use the shop vac to suck that stuff up too. Next, combine 1 gallon (3.8 litres) of warm water with 1 cup of bleach and 6 tablespoons of TSP. Wearing gloves, scrub the walls, surround and floor of your fireplace with the nylon brush until you’re satisfied. Rinse the fireplace with a wet cloth (not dripping) and pat dry with a towel.
For a more natural approach, that will require a little more elbow grease; mix 50% warm water with 50% regular white vinegar. Spray that mixture all over the inside and surround of your fireplace, being careful not to hit wood or anything damageable by water. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Spray again and then scrub with a nylon brush. You may have to repeat this step until you’re satisfied. When you’re done, dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda in water, then spray or wipe the fireplace to make sure that any remaining vinegar is neutralized. If you have a tricky spot, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and enough water to make a paste will do the trick. Slather the paste on, wait for 5 to 10, and then scrub off using the nylon brush and warm water.
Finally, you will want to clean the glass. Simply follow this easy instructional video. Once everything is sparkling clean, you can put it all back together again.
This, by no means, replaces having your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional, and you may want to consider having them come in before you do this to achieve optimum cleanliness, but now you can focus on the best part of having a clean hearth – The décor! And while you’re in a spring cleaning frame of mind, why not visit our other fireplace maintenance pages on napoleonfireplaces.com.