With the coming winter season, the fireplace will soon become of the most treasured places in the house. But that, of course, also means maintaining its state as religiously as house cleaning. The fireplace should be cleaned before you lit it up for the first time this year, and it should be cleaned often after that as well, unless you want to create a fire hazard. What with all the dirt and dust and soot around, you wouldn’t want anything other than firewood to catch fire. Luckily, maintaining the cleanliness of the fireplace is very simple – simpler than home cleaning, and definitely easier than oven cleaning, in fact.
• Before you start anything, it is always a wise idea to call over a chimney sweep service and have them check if the fireplace is not blocked. You wouldn’t like the result of lighting a fire if it is. Here’s a hint: there will be smoke and black fumes.
• Vacuum. A vacuum cleaner will save you a lot of initial work. Before you do anything, you should definitely remove all the ash and dust that has been heaped up during the rest of the year.
• If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, or your own won’t do the trick, then you can just take a bucket or a bag and use the fireplace shovel to slowly, but surely get rid of the ashes in the fireplace. After you have collected everything, immediately discard it in the nearest rubbish bin outside – no need to keep all that dirt inside the house.
• If you have a fancy type of fireplace, with glass doors or a small fence as a small protective decoration, you will have some soot to clean. Take a spray bottle and mix warm water and white vinegar. Stir and shake, and then spray on the dirtied surface. Wipe it off with a rag and done, clean glass doors and decorative fences.
• Other tools you can use when scrubbing or wiping things around the fireplace are paper towels because of their abrasive ability, and microfiber cloths. The latter can absorb a lot of damage done by hard-to-reach and lodged soot.
• Smoke leaves stains too! Yes, that is a surprise, but the smoke from a fireplace carries some of the soot from it about and sometimes, if you let the fire out of control and the billowing becomes stronger, you can get a lot of the things about the fireplace dirty. Luckily, the solution is a very simple one. Spray water to moisten the dirt and then take an all-purpose cleaner. Spray and wipe with a rag or paper towel and the dirt will be no more.
• After every time you clean a stain that has come from soot or ash, rinse the spot with a wet sponge and let it dry. This will provide some protection against future dirtying, albeit a little.
• A quick warning: for older fireplaces, don’t use chemical-based cleaners as the result will vary. A really old house’s bricks might not withstand the mixture of the solution and they might crumble under the pressure.
• While you are cleaning, always wear protective gear. A face mask would be a wonderful choice as you won’t have to breathe in all the fumes you will be releasing while vacuuming, shovelling or wiping the ashes and soot.
With these fast solutions your fireplace should always be in top shape, shining and able to contain the fire that will warm you and your family for the duration of winter. Be warm, keep the fireplace and the home clean and have happy holidays!