Keeping your fireplace clean is important. Not only will it help the performance of your fire over winter, but it will also make it safer to use. But there’s more to it than just sweeping out the old ash. Follow our step by step guide to complete a thorough job.
Make sure your fire is unlit and completely cold before you start. It is best to wait at least 12 hours before you cleaning.
Now is a good time to get the flue and chimney cleaned by an expert (it saves having to clean everything twice). Find your local sweep through the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (www.nacs.org.uk
Protect yourself with a face mask, goggles and gloves to stop dust and other irritants being breathed in or getting into your eyes. You should also cover the area around the fire with plastic sheeting. It’s a good idea to cover any nearby furniture as well, you’ll be surprised how many people end up with dusty handprints on a chair as they ease themselves up from the floor.
If you have andirons or a grate in the fireplace, remove these and give them a good scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. It’s best to do this outside as there is likely to be a lot of soot. Be careful about using proprietary cleaners on your fire, some can leave chemical residues that are flammable, or give off noxious odours as they burn.
Sprinkle some damp, used coffee grounds over your hearth to help keep down the soot then sweep it all up using a dustpan and brush. Don’t use water on the ashes as this can turn them into a paste that is difficult to remove. It can also cause staining on porous marble surrounds.
Once all the soot has gone, wipe down the fireplace surround and mantelpiece with a soft cloth. Alternatively, use the small brush attachment on your hoover if you have one.
WD40 is a great solution for cleaning metal fireplace parts. Don’t use water, this will encourage rust. If rust has already formed, remove it with a stiff-bristled brush then re-blacken the wrought iron with a commercial blackener.
If you have a wooden fire surround give it a good polish. The heat from your fire can dry out the wood so you’ll need to polish it more regularly than other pieces of wooden furniture.