How to Clean Your Fireplace

Keep your fireplace tidy between uses with these tips for cleaning the firebox, glass doors and accessories.

November 19, 2020
At Home Cleaning 100 Get The Fireplace Ready For Winter

At Home Cleaning 100 Get The Fireplace Ready For Winter

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

There’s nothing better than a cozy, crackling fire on a cold winter night. But if you don’t keep your fireplace clean, soot, ash and other debris may start making their way into your living spaces. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends scheduling an annual inspection and cleaning with a certified chimney sweep, but if you use your fireplace frequently, you can also tidy it up yourself periodically with these simple steps. Be sure to wait a full day after your last fire before cleaning the fireplace to allow it to cool completely. Consider wearing old clothes as well as safety glasses, gloves and a mask, as this project can get messy.

How to Clean a Fireplace 01:50

Get your fireplace ready for winter with these tips and tricks.

Clean the Firebox

Place a large tarp on the floor in front of the fireplace (Image 1). Discard any leftover wood and take out the grate (Image 2). Scoop out the leftover ashes with a fireplace shovel, then remove any excess with a small handheld broom and dustpan (Image 3). Keep a small bucket nearby for easy disposal. Use a shop vacuum with a bag to clean up the remaining dust (Image 4). Lay out newspaper on the bottom of the firebox to catch debris and spray the walls down with equal parts vinegar and warm water to clean the bricks (Image 5). Scrub with a brush and let air dry.

Clean Fireplace Doors

Mix 1/4 cup warm water, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a bowl to make a paste (Image 1). Dip a microfiber cloth in the mixture and rub on glass doors (Image 2). Let it sit for 30 minutes. Buff the dried mixture off the doors with newspaper until they shine (Image 3). Tip: If you don’t have these items on hand, try dipping a damp rag into old ashes and rubbing on the doors. It takes some elbow grease, but it’s also an effective way to make glass doors clear again.

Clean Fireplace Tools and Accessories

Take the screen off your firebox (Image 1). Lay out a large tarp that will fit the screen, grate and fireplace tools. Spray everything down with equal parts white vinegar and warm water (Image 2). Use a nylon brush to scrub away the soot (Image 3). For stubborn spots, try steel wool. Be sure to clean both sides of the screen. Tip: Consider cleaning the tools and accessories outside to avoid making a mess inside the house.

Next Up

How To: Resurfacing a Fireplace

A stone fireplace gets a facelift with a contemporary stucco finish.

How to Improve Your Fireplace

A dated fireplace is dressed up with molding and slate tiles.

Create a Contemporary Fireplace Mantel

Carter shows how to update a fireplace with a sleek new mantel. Find more ways to update your home with Carter Can.

How To: Kirei Board Fireplace Mantel

Carter Oosterhouse shows how to use an environmentally friendly lumber to craft a mantel.

How to German Smear a Brick Fireplace

Give your fireplace a faux finish that mimics what you'd find in old European cottages with a German smear mortar wash.

How to Build a Concrete Fireplace Hearth

Carter builds a new concrete hearth to update an old 1950s fireplace.

Remodeling a Fireplace Surround

A dated fireplace surround is jazzed up with crown molding and new paint.

Removing a Brick Fireplace

Tearing out an unused firebox can open up a room and create more space.

Install an Electric Fireplace With Custom-Built Mantel and Hearth

Add instant warmth to your home by installing an electric fireplace. Then build a mantel on top and hearth with storage underneath.

How to Build a New Fireplace Surround and Mantel

A dated fireplace is given a British Colonial look with the addition of staircase posts, molding and a coat of fresh paint.

Our Latest How-Tos

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.