As the winter dwindles away, I find myself using the fireplace less and less. So, now seems like a great time to share some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to preparing your fireplace for the remainder of the year. And, some of these I’ve learned the hard way.
When to start:
DON’T do a complete down and dirty clean until you are finished using the fireplace for the year. Wait at least 12-24 hours after your last use before you begin the full cleaning.
DO keep up with weekly cleanings by clearing out the grate of ashes and debris, and sweep around the hearth regularly.
DON’T sweep up ashes and wood chunks that have recently been burned, and then try to make it from the fireplace to the door before ashes fly all over the house. This is extremely dangerous.
DO wait a day for ashes to cool before sweeping them together in the grate. Sprinkle damp coffee grounds over the ashes to prevent them from flying everywhere as you transport them outside. You can vacuum up the left over ashes from the firebox and hearth for a more complete clean.
DON’T use harsh abrasives or flammable chemicals to clean anything in or around the fireplace. This includes the firebox, glass windows, the hearth and even the fireplace tools.
DO use oven cleaner and a stiff scrub brush.
DON’T use a cleaning method you’ve never used before without testing it first.
DO a test clean on a small spot on the edge of your bricks and watch for discoloration or damage.