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The Home Depot

Fireplace Cleaning and Inspection Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Cleaning > Fireplace Cleaning and Inspection Guide
Fireplace Cleaning and Inspection Guide

In order to keep a fireplace elegant and inviting, it must be cleaned regularly. This is particularly true for a fireplace that sees frequent use rather than one that is not used as often. A clean fireplace is also a safe one. Though most of the cleaning can be done by you, there are some aspects of the fireplace that might require a professional touch. The removal of creosote from the chimney and flue is something best left to an expert cleaner. This also ensures that the job is done well and you are safe from any fire hazards.

  1. 1.Covering Your Bases

    Once you have finished cleaning your fireplace, you must also conduct an inspection of its safety aspects. This can be done more infrequently than the cleaning.

    Once you have finished cleaning your fireplace, you must also conduct an inspection of its safety aspects. This can be done more infrequently than the cleaning. If you do not know how to conduct an inspection, you can call in a professional. Before purchasing a home, it is essential to have an inspection done before making the purchase to ensure that there are not any fire hazards.

  2. 2.Items Needed

    Each of the different parts of the fireplace will have to be cleaned individually and thoroughly. Doing the job step-by-step will help you cover it all and get it done quickly and efficiently. Some of the things you will need include goggles for eye protection, a stiff nylon brush used for scrubbing, rubber gloves, and a plastic drop cloth.

  3. 3.Cleaning the Firebox and Firescreen

    This is the area where the fire is lit and is usually made of metal sheeting or firebrick. You can use the brush with stiff bristles to scrub the walls of the firebox gently. Exerting too much pressure when cleaning can cause the firebrick to crumble. Any ashes that are there should be gathered into a bag and the leftover ashes can then be vacuumed.


    Firescreens can be made of either black painted metal or brass plated. If it is brass plated then you will need to use a cleaner specific to brass and clean it as you would other brass objects. For cleaning painted metal screens, you can use a half cup of vinegar mixed with a gallon of warm water to which a teaspoon of ammonia has been added. Then dip a cloth into this solution and wipe down the screen. Next, take another cloth and dip it in plain warm water before wiping the screen once again.

  4. 4.Cleaning Glass Enclosures

    Usually glass enclosures for the fireplace are made from tempered glass and these must be cleaned after every two or three fires to remove any residual soot. If the soot has caked on it and does not come off easily, you may have to use a glass scraper on it carefully without scratching it. If the glass has any stains you can make a solution of half a cup of water mixed with a gallon of warm water and a teaspoon of ammonia. This solution can then be sprayed on the glass or you can dip a cloth in this solution and wipe the glass with it. Once you are done removing the stains, rinse off the glass with plain, warm water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

  5. 5.Inspecting the Fireplace and Chimney

    Once you are done cleaning, you can check the chimney from the fireplace. First, you must spread a drop cloth in the firebox and then lay on your back to slide into it. Then shine a flashlight up the flu. This way you will be able to detect any cracks that might have occurred in the masonry. You can also go up to the roof and look down the chimney to check for any accumulated creosote and other problems that may not be visible from below.

  6. 6.Some Tips

    The hearth area should be vacuumed or dusted every week to prevent soot build up. Always clean the hearth only after the embers have cooled down well after the last fire. If you burn only seasoned and sufficiently dried wood, it can help reduce the buildup of creosote in the chimney. You should not use any kind of abrasive cleaner in the fireplace because these are flammable and likely to leave behind residue.

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