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Cleaning a Fireplace

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The task of regularly cleaning a fireplace is a job that should be part of your normal home maintenance and cleaning checklist. Keeping your fireplace clean prevents unsightly buildup of soot on the part of the fireplace that you can see easily. Also, cleaning a fireplace on a regular basis means the air quality in your home will be better.

One recommended method for cleaning a fireplace involves taking the removable components of your fireplace outside and scrubbing off the excess soot with a stiff wire brush. Be sure to wear latex gloves to protect your hands. Afterward, you may want to polish the metal components.

Next, shovel loose ashes from the inside of your fireplace and sweep up as much dust as you can. Line the fireplace with newspaper and scrape soot from the walls of your fireplace with the wire brush.

After that, make up a mixture of one gallon of water, one cup of chlorine bleach and six tablespoons of a chemical called trisodium phosphate. Trisodium phosphate is a caustic chemical, and you might be able to find a substitute for it. Starting at the top walls of your fireplace, scrub the walls with your wire brush dipped in the mixture. Scrub until the walls are clean. Do the same to the floor of your fireplace. Wear gloves to protect your hands. When you are done, wipe the walls and floor with clean water.

As important as regularly cleaning a fireplace is, cleaning the part of the fireplace that you can see is only one piece of fireplace maintenance. It is a good idea to hire a professional chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney at least once a year. A chimney contractor will conduct a thorough cleaning to remove layers of soot and creosote, an oily byproduct of burning fuel in your fireplace. Failure to remove this buildup creates a fire hazard that could lead to a devastating chimney fire. Also, chimney sweeps inspect chimneys and fireplaces as part of their cleaning to make sure that the chimney and fireplace are safe and structurally sound.

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