6 Tips for How to Clean Your Fireplace in 20 Minutes

What could be more picturesque than sitting around the fireplace with your family? With cold weather on the way, it’s more important than ever to make sure your fireplace is working properly.

That means you’ll need to clean it. Get it winter-ready in a flash by following these six tips to clean your fireplace in 20 minutes.

1. Prepare the area

The first thing you’ll need to do is get the area ready. That means putting on some old clothes, laying newspaper around the fireplace, grabbing a pair of gloves, and covering up any nearby furniture.

You’ll want to do everything you can to ensure that no soot ruins your living room. So think ahead and prepare the area the best you can. Remember, you’ll need to wait at least a day since your last fire before you start cleaning!

2. Remove the ashes

To give your fireplace a thorough cleaning, you’ll need to remove the ashes from inside. Before you touch anything, though, hold your hand over the ashes to double check that none of them are giving off any heat.

Once you’ve done that, you can clear them away. Remove the fireplace grate and put it off to one side. Then carefully shovel the ashes into a bucket or use a small vacuum for easier removal.

3. Inspect the chimney

Inspect your chimney by taking a small flashlight and look up into the chimney until you see the flue. (It typically looks like a small metal door.)

Pull on the metal flue opener and keep that open until you’re completely done cleaning out your fireplace. Most likely, the inside of your chimney will have soot or black powder inside; that’s normal. You may also find dry material along the sides. This is called creosote; it will also need to be removed.

4. Get rid of creosote

It’s time to grab a chimney brush. (They vary in size and shape, but can be found at any local hardware store.) You’ll need to use this brush to clean the inside of your chimney. It should scrape against the sides to remove any build-up of soot and creosote easily.

5. Do a deep clean

There are many different types of fireplaces. If you need your gas fireplace cleaned, it’s best to turn to the professionals. However, cleaning your wood-burning fireplace simply requires a bit of elbow grease. That’s why you’ll need to do a deep clean.

Grab a durable wire brush, dip it into a baking soda and vinegar solution. Start scrubbing the area! Begin cleaning as high as you can reach and work your way down to the bottom.

6. Tidy up

That’s it! You’ll need to take some cold water and a cloth to rinse out the inside of your fireplace. Once that’s done, tidy up the newspaper and covered areas until everything is back to normal. (Don’t forget to close the flue you opened earlier.)

Now that you’ve got your fireplace cleaned in 20 minutes, you can start a fire or get back to your day.

Drew Hendricks is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of sites including The Huffington Post, Forbes and Technorati. Drew has worked at a variety of different startups as well as large advertising agencies.