Fireplaces are desirable, to say the least, but they are low on the list of maintenance priorities in a new home. Most people tend to prioritize features that are vital for daily use. For example, having a large functional kitchen with plenty of counter space, sufficient living, and dining rooms and large enough bedrooms often comes before maintaining a fireplace.
Today, you often see electrical fireplaces in many beautifully finished homes, as they are easier to integrate and maintain. While effective in some respects, most of the allure of fire is compromised. There’s something about the smell and appearance of a real fire that can’t be duplicated with something artificial.
The problem with real fireplaces is that maintenance requires more work. You need to constantly haul and store fresh wood, plus sometimes it can take a minute to get the fire started. Some people actually don’t mind these aspects, it’s generally the cleaning that’s difficult. A fireplace needs to be cleaned regularly and precautions must be taken. Follow these tips to simplify your cleaning process and ensure you get sufficient use of your fireplace.
1) Be Safe
It can take longer than imagined for a smothered fire to sufficiently cool down. Make sure you allow 24 hours from the previous fire outage before attempting to clean.
2) Protect The Area
Ash and soot will infiltrate the area outside the fireplace when you clean it out. Use a tarp or line newspaper around your work area in front of the fireplace to ensure none of your furniture or belongings get filthy or damaged.
3) Remove Debris
Before commencing to remove all the debris, it’s important you put on a safety mask and gloves. Then start by removing all the large logs and then scoop out all the remaining ash and debris. Once you’ve scooped out as much as you can, you can use a chimney brush to sweep out the rest, however, a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment works best, minimizing the proliferation of debris in the air.
4) Scrub It Clean
It’s best not to use harsh solutions which may not be friendly to older brick. The easiest green solution would be diluted white vinegar. Use a strong brush, dip in the solution and scrub the interior clean. Once you have successfully removed all the stains, rinse it out with fresh water.
5) Clean Grates & Tools
Use a wire brush to scrub your andirons and grate. Because these are movable items, take them outside and minimize the potential dirt in your house. Once sufficiently scrubbed, place them in the fireplace and get your brass tools. To clean your brass tools, squeeze the juice from one lemon in a bowl and add two teaspoons of baking soda. Mix the solution until it forms a paste, then apply to the tool. Scrub the past off with a soft cloth in one direction and then rinse (repeat if necessary).
Original article found at: http://dreamcasa.org/living/fireplace-cleaning-simplified-guide/