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.

two 80-pound bags of QuikCrete stucco mix
one jar concrete bonder and fortifier
hoe and trowels
two mixing pans
hammer, chisels

Before: The stone fireplace was stained and looked dated.
1. Jackhammer the fireplace to create a more even surface by chipping off some of the larger projecting stones.

2. Pour one bag of stucco mix (base coat) into a large mixing container. Slowly pour water into the stucco mix on one side and mix it with a hoe. We used approximately a quart of water mixing from left to right. Using a trowel, continue to mix the stucco mix with water until it is the consistency of cake batter. It is better to have the mixture too thick rather than too thin.

3. Pour the bonding agent into a smaller bucket, and use paintbrush to apply the bonding agent to the existing fireplace to ensure the concrete adheres to the fireplace securely.

4. Trowel stucco mixture to fireplace, and smooth it out to a consistent level.

5. Once the stucco mix is smooth and begins to dry, score out a pattern on the fireplace to secure the topcoat. Let the stucco mix cure.

6. Slowly add water to the topcoat stucco mix. Slowly add tinting to change the color, mixing with a trowel until you reach the color you desire in the topcoat.

7. Trowel the top coat stucco mix on the fireplace in an even level and smooth with trowel.

If you’re looking for a home with or without a fireplace, contact us today!  (715) 821-6491,