Fireplaces are a cosy addition to any room, whether they’re sleek, matte, modern designs or have older, period-style stone features. No matter where or what your fireplace looks like, cleaning the frame and firebox is essential for both good maintenance and keeping it looking its best – particularly if you use it frequently. While most designs can be cleaned using the same basic ingredients and techniques, a heating expert has shared the best tips for polishing stone, marble, brick and cast iron materials.
Cleaning your fireplace may not seem like a priority when you’re constantly using it, but it’s more important than you think for your own safety. This is because creosote – which is a byproduct of burning wood – can spark a chimney fire if it builds up in large quantities.
Andrew Wilson, a home improvement contractor from Contractor Advisorly said: “While you can take certain steps to reduce the amount of creosote that gets created, you can’t prevent it from growing, which makes cleaning your chimney a must-do task.”
Doing so has other benefits too. As well as making your fireplace much more energy efficient by de-clogging the flue liner, cleaning will improve the overall appearance of this warming centrepiece.
As a general rule of thumb, all you need is a cleaning brush, vacuum and lint-free cloth to spruce up your firebox and heart, though white vinegar is also essential for bricks and glass doors.
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Traci Fournier, the vice president of operations at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning recommended starting with a cool, extinguished fire before making a start on cleaning, so you will need to wait until it is “cold to the touch”.
To make the job easier, you should disassemble and remove any accessories like glass doors or screens for easier access. In addition to this, Traci suggested removing the burner unit and any logs before brushing the area down.
Dust away any surface residue with the brush, taking time to inspect the fireplace for any damage or hazards while doing so. Next, vacuum the fireplace fully with a hose attachment, paying particular attention to the smaller crevices.
Using a soft, damp cloth, wipe down the interior of the fireplace to remove “major dust” and vacuum once more to eliminate any loose particles.
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Before polishing any part of your fireplace with anything other than water, you should consult the manufacturer’s manual to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.
If you have a marble fireplace surround, you should stick to gentle, all-purpose cleaners. Traci warned against using hot water as this “can damage the finish”.
A small amount of mild dish soap, like Dawn, mixed with water is a safe way to clean marble. Just make sure you don’t use any abrasive or acidic ingredients like lemon juice, white vinegar, or baking soda.
Finish cleaning marble elements with a dry microfiber cloth to buff away any watermarks and leave a glistening shine.
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Stone is another delicate yet easy-to-clean material. After following the essential dusting and vacuuming steps, use gentle dish soap and warm water solution to wipe away dirt and stains when cleaning the stonework.
The heating expert added: “Allow stone to fully dry and be mindful not to oversaturate the stone with water, as it can leave watermarks.”
While brick may seem hard-wearing and durable against most cleaning products, you should stick to white vinegar for cleaning when it comes to your fireplace.
After dusting and vacuuming, mix equal parts of warm water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Traci said: “Spray the mixture over the bricks and allow to sit for five minutes. Blot at stains or grime with a sponge, using more of the vinegar mixture if needed.”.
For stubborn grime or dirt in the crevices of the bricks, use a firm bristle brush to get rid of the debris; then, allow it to dry.
Cast iron requires something a little stronger to care for the unique finish, and should be polished with a soft cloth and white spirit. Traci noted that faded or worn cast iron fireplaces can be restored with a strong substance like WD-40 for extra shine.
Of course, this should be done after cleaning the rest of the fireplace with a brush and vacuum to reduce creosote buildup and banish dust particles.
When it comes to cleaning your fireplace door, you can easily banish stains and fogginess with one cup of vinegar and three cups of water. Pour into a spray bottle, spritz liberally onto the door and leave it to sit for one minute. Wipe away in circular motions using a microfiber cloth.
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