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How to Clean a Fireplace

Cleaning a fireplace can be as much fun as filing your bicuspids with a wood rasp, but homey comforts and family safety come at a price.


  • Step 1: Extract debris Put on your protective eyewear, paper mask, and old clothing. With a large pail lined with a garbage bag by the fireplace, and a drop cloth in place, extract large debris from the fireplace.
  • TIP: Wear knee pads to reduce discomfort.
  • Step 2: Sweep and vacuum fireplace Sweep up ash and soot and scoop into the garbage bag. Vacuum residual soot and ashes out of the fireplace with a shop vacuum.
  • TIP: Avoid using a home vacuum to clean the fireplace; the filter may clog.
  • Step 3: Scrape and brush walls Drape drop cloths against the interior walls, and scrape and brush off any remaining flakes. Transfer the waste to the trash bag.
  • Step 4: Scrub off soot Mix 1 gallon warm water and bleach in the bucket. Scrub away the last grime, using the brush tip and collecting everything on the drop cloth.
  • Step 5: Scour fireplace floor Scour the fireplace floor with the cleaning solution. Soak up solution using paper towels. Discard in the garbage bag and wipe up any remaining water with old rags.
  • Step 6: Clean grates Take the fireplace grates outside. Place grates on layers of newspaper and clean with oven cleaner or bleach and water.
  • Step 7: Clean doors and metal Use glass cleaner and newspapers to clean glass fireplace doors. Polish any exterior metal. When finished, clean the entire area with fresh water and dirt-free towels and let dry. Repeat the process at least once a year.
  • FACT: Did you know? Air inside your home, laden with mold, dander, radon, and volatile organic compounds, can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution.

You Will Need

  • Safety goggles
  • A paper mask
  • Old clothes
  • A garbage pail
  • Trash bags
  • Drop cloths
  • A whisk broom
  • A shop vacuum
  • A nylon scrub brush
  • Warm water
  • 1 c. chlorine bleach
  • Rubber gloves
  • A large bucket
  • Rags and towels
  • Newspapers
  • Glass cleaner
  • Knee pads (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • Oven cleaner (optional) (optional) (optional)

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