Cleaning a fireplace means removing the soot or debris left behind by use. There are ways of completing this task without making a giant mess, and the method described below will work on any fireplace that is less than 100 years of age.
You will need:
- Nylon scrub brush
- Rubber gloves
- Broom and dustpan
- Fireplace shovel
- Plastic drop cloth
- Plastic bucket
- Trash can liners
- Carton of TSP or Tri-Sodium Phosphate
- Clean water supply
Step 1: Place the drop cloth on the floor around the fireplace, so that there is a clean area to kneel on. Remove the grate or andirons of your fireplace and take them outside. Take your brush out with you, and scrub the two briskly. If you have brass fixtures, you can use a brass polish to clean them thoroughly.
Step 2: Remove the loose ash with the fireplace shovel and place into the trash can liner, then sweep up any loose dust and debris. This should be done at least 4 hours after the last remaining hot coals have stopped burning to ensure no fire hazards are present.
Step 3: Place the newspapers over the top edge of your drop cloth, closest to the fireplace and all along the floor of the fireplace. The newspapers should reach up the walls of the fireplace at least 3 inches to help insure the soot and debris stays in the newspaper and not on the floor. Once the entire fireplace is done, rinse out the bucket and replace with cool clean water. Dip rags into the water and rinse away the cleansers used and allow to air dry.
Step 4: Scrub the interior walls of the fireplace with your brush and the accompanying scraper to get rid of all soot and debris. This may take some time, because when soot builds up it causes many layers. When a section of the newspaper is full, fold it up and place in the trash can liner.
Step 5: Mix 6 tablespoons of TSP and 1 cup of bleach in the plastic bucket. Add in one gallon of warm water and stir. Set the bucket inside the fireplace and dip the brush into the mixture and then scrub onto the walls of the fireplace. This removes the blackened color on the interior walls. This can be used on the exterior of the fireplace to remove the black colorings due to soot.