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How to Clean a Fireplace

Cleaning a FireplaceAlthough many homeowners do not think it a necessity to regularly clean their fireplace and hearth, regular maintenance improves your home's air quality, aesthetic, and protection.  You expect a warm, crackling fire in your home, not an engulfing and towering inferno in your chimney.  Seems like a joke, but by not cleaning your fireplace and chimney, creosote, a flammable composite, builds up and cakes on and poses a serious threat when you light a fire.  So, what do you do to get rid of creosote?

If you wonder how to clean a fireplace chimney, unless you own, or are willing to purchase, the proper tools, hire a chimney sweep.  When cleaning a fireplace and chimney, with the ultra fine particles of ash and the difficulty of reaching up a storey's worth of brick and mortar, hiring a professional is the easiest choice for most homeowners save the few daring ones ready to tackle the job solo.

It may not seem simple, but learning how to clean a fireplace comes easily.  Before bringing in your chimney sweep to clean the fireplace chimney, you need to remove the ash from the hearth.  Spread damp coffee grounds on the ashes to minimize dust scattering.  We encourage using either the Love-Less Cougar Ash Vacuum or the slightly louder Love-Less Cheetah II Ash Vacuum when cleaning a fireplace.

The metal and heat-resistant, thermal plastic components are able to handle the occasional hot ember.  As a precaution, wait until the fire has been completely extinguished for a minimum of 12 hours.  Hot coals can hide and burn in ash for up to 48 hours after a fire has gone out.  Do not use a non-fireplace vacuum to clean ashes.  The ultra-fine particles of ash clog filters and can either choke the motor or make their way into the motor and destroy it.  Your vacuum could also catch fire if a hot ember made its way in, especially if it made its way to the motor.  Using the proper vacuum when cleaning a fireplace is paramount.  Simply place the metal nozzle against the hearth and work your way into the coals; vacuum the ash and leave the larger coals for your next fire.  You can use the ashes in your garden or on your plants as a fertilizer.

Once the ashes are removed and you cleaned the chimney, you can begin cleaning the fireplace.  Avoid using abrasive cleaners (such as ammonia) as they leave behind a flammable residue.  When cleaning a fireplace and the bricks, we recommend creating a mixture of cream of tartar (a small container) and mixing in three tablespoons of lukewarm water to create a toothpaste like consistency.  Grab a wire brush, spread the mixture on the brick and mortar, and watch as cleaning a fireplace becomes an easy task and the dread and anxiety fade.

When cleaning a fireplace, do not neglect to clean the glass enclosure as well. You can craft an all natural home solution glass cleaner.  Combine:
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon of vinegar
½ teaspoon of lemon juice
8 oz. water

Mix it together and put in a spray bottle.  Use a soft cloth to wash the glass.

A more unlikely, yet effective, way to clean the glass is to use the ashes.  Simply wet a paper towel, dip it into the ashes, and wipe the glass.  Once done, use a coat of vinegar to give the glass a brand new shine.
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