How to Clean and Maintain a Wood-Burning Fireplace

wood-burning fireplace

Fireplaces really are catching fire! 48% of homebuyers consider wood-burning fireplaces to be desirable or essential features when looking at homes. A wood-burning fireplace can keep you warm and serve as a great place to gather friends and family together.

But you can’t just have a fireplace and expect it to do wonders. In order to make the most of your fireplace, you need to learn how to clean a fireplace. There are a few techniques you need to master.

What wood should you burn in your fireplace? How should you clean each part of your fireplace? What should you never do while you are cleaning?

Answer these questions and you can have a sparkling fireplace this winter. Here is your quick guide.

Be Selective With Your Firewood

Fireplace maintenance is a lot easier when you are strategic with the wood you burn. Wet wood releases particulates into the air, which can land inside your chimney and fireplace and clog them.

The wood you burn should be as dry as possible. Store your wood in an interior space where rainwater, condensation, and mist cannot settle on it.

Green wood is wood that has been recently harvested. Many pieces of green wood have creosote, a tar-like substance that can stick to the walls inside your fireplace. Buy wood that has been processed and is at least several days old.

Birch, hard maple, and oak have naturally fewer creosote deposits. They also release more heat, which can dissolve or burn away the grime in your fireplace. You should prioritize these woods, though they can be hard to ignite, so you should use matches and kindling to generate additional heat.

Some wood-burning fireplaces are specially built to burn certain types of wood. Talk to your fireplace manufacturer to see what type of wood you can put in your fireplace.

Extinguish Fires

Before you start cleaning your wood fireplace, you need to put out any fire burning in it. Cleaning your fireplace while embers are smoldering can burn you, and it can damage your cleaning equipment.

Spread the embers out using your fireplace shovel. Cover them with a small amount of baking soda or ash. You can also place a fire blanket over them to cut off their access to oxygen.

Wait 24 hours before you clean the fireplace so everything cools down. You can remove the embers using tongs and throw them away. Try to remove as many visible pieces of debris as possible using your hands, shovel, and tongs.

Create a Cleaning Solution

Even if you remove most of the debris from your fireplace, you may have ash or dust inside. To remove these substances, you need to make a powerful cleaning solution.

Trisodium phosphate is a white powder that is a common ingredient in soap and detergent. You can buy it from chemical suppliers and retailers.

Take six tablespoons of trisodium phosphate and combine them with a cup of bleach and one gallon of warm water in a plastic bucket. Mix the ingredients together using a spoon.

Fill a spray bottle with this solution and spray it on the floor and walls inside your fireplace. If you notice any stains on your hearth, you can also put the solution on them.

Let the solution sit on these surfaces for at least five minutes. Then take a stiff brush and dip it into your bucket. Scrub the areas you sprayed the solution on until they seem clean.

If you notice grime on the surfaces, you can fill another bottle with clean water and spray the surfaces down. Let them dry over a few hours.

Electric Fireplaces 6

Scrub the Doors

Many people neglect to clean their fireplace doors. Grime can land on your doors, making it harder to look inside or access your fireplace.

If your doors are made of glass or metal, you can use a small amount of ash as an abrasive substance. Take a paper towel and sprinkle it with a little water. Then dunk your towel into a pile of ash and scrub your doors until they are clean.

If you still notice residue, you can use clean paper towels to remove it. You can also buy a glass cleaner and clean your doors with it, but make sure the spray is approved for fireplaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid mixing the spray with your cleaning solution, as the chemicals may react with each other.

Wash Your Andirons and Grates

Your andirons and grates may have a lot of debris on them. You should detach them from your fireplace and move them outside while wearing a pair of gloves. Hold them in front of you so they don’t stain your pants.

You can clean your andirons and grates using hot water and dish soap. Put some dish soap and water on a brush with stiff bristles and a good handle and scrub away at any stains you notice. You may need to apply a little force so you can get the stains off.

After the stains come off, you should rinse the surfaces with warm water. Put them in a safe location and let them dry before bringing them back inside. You can use a clean cloth to remove any remaining pieces of debris.

Clean Your Wood-Burning Fireplace

You need to be careful to keep your wood-burning fireplace clean. Select dry and old wood that does not have creosote in it. Put out your fires and wait for your fireplace to cool down before cleaning it.

You can use a phosphate, bleach, and water solution to clean most surfaces of your fireplace. For your doors, andirons, and grates, you can use warm water and dish soap. You can even use a little ash to remove tough substances.

When you need help with cleaning, turn to fireplace professionals. Dreifuss Fireplaces serves Pennsylvania families and businesses. Contact us today.

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