Winter is Over; Clean Your Fireplace

Dori Wittrig March 29, 2021

The cool nights that beckon us to build a fire have passed and the evening are growing warmer, luring us toward our outside firepits instead.
Now is a good time to do some good Spring cleaning in your fireplace. But before you get started, you might want to wear old clothes, gloves, and a dust mask. This can be a messy cleaning project.


  • Dropcloth
  • Gloves (either indoor/outdoor or disposable)
  • Fireplace shovel
  • Handheld broom and dustpan
  • Paper grocery bag or trash can with disposable liner
  • Shop vac
  • Newspaper
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Cornstarch


To keep your hearth and flooring clean, spread a dropcloth around your work area. Start by removing any leftover wood and removing the grate. Gently scoop out ashes with the fireplace shovel and place carefully into paper bag or trash receptacle. The ashes are so light that they will easily disperse into the air if not handled gently.
After removing the ashes, use the handheld broom to sweep up as much of the remaining ashes as possible. You can use a shop vac with a bag to clean the rest.
Place newspaper around the bottom of the firebox and spray the walls with equal parts warm water and vinegar to clean the bricks. Use the scrub brush to dislodge any stuck-on debris and let it air dry.


If your fireplace has glass doors, you can get them sparkling clean with a little bit of elbow grease. To create your “elbow grease”, mix ¼ cup warm water, ¼ cup cornstarch, and ¼ cup white vinegar. Rub the mixture around on the glass doors with a microfiber cloth and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Use newspaper to clean the dried mixture off.


If your firebox has a screen, remove it, and lay it on your dropcloth along with your grate and fireplace tools. Spray everything with equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Use your nylon brush to scrub away soot or use steel wool for stubborn spots.


The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends scheduling an annual inspection and cleaning with a certified chimney sweep. When selecting someone, verify their certification and make sure they have insurance and workman’s compensation.
Be sure your chimney sweep inspects your chimney for major cracks, loose or missing bricks or mortar, and proper function and position of the damper.
Once your fireplace and chimney are clean, you can kick back and relax in the pool all summer, knowing that when the cool weather returns at the end of the year, you are ready to strike up a match and light a fire again.

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