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How to Clean Your Fireplace

As summer wraps up, the last thing on your mind is probably your fireplace. But did you know that routine service calls such as chimney sweeping often cost less when you order in the off season? So what better time to call your local fireplace expert than in early September, long before the cold winter weather hits and you’re ready to light the first match to start your first fall fire?

If you’re like most people, you likely haven’t used your fireplace since last winter. Are you aware that you should do an annual fire safety checkup and clean your fireplace so you can get ready for a new season? If you did a thorough cleaning at the end of last season, then you can skip the checkup. Otherwise, take these steps:

Before the cold weather sets in, go through this seasonal checklist:

  • If a year has passed since your last professional cleaning, or if you’re like many people and haven’t had your fireplace cleaned by a professional in the entire life of your fireplace, call a professional chimney sweep so he/she can clean the flu and investigate for hazardous cracks.
  • If it’s been less than a year since your last professional chimney sweep, follow these instructions:
    1. Check the flu for leaves or bird nests.
    2. Check the chimney. Use a mirror and flashlight to look up to the open damper.
    3. If you see blockages of any kind, call a chimney sweep.
    4. Clean out the soot, which will help you avoid a potentially toxic fire.
    5. Repair cracks in the chimney. This will keep flames from coming through cracks
    6. Vacuum ducts if you have a warm air circulation feature.
    7. Repair cracks in the firebox or hearth

After you’ve checked your chimney and fireplace for safety, it’s time to clean the beast:

  1. Assemble your supplies. You’ll need a vacuum, scrub brush, a bucket, mild dish soap, powdered pumice, household ammonia and water.
  2. Vacuum the loose soot that has accumulated inside the chimney.
  3. Heat four ounces of soap in one quart of water until the soap dissolves.
  4. Let the mixture cool.
  5. To the cooled mixture, add ½ pound of pumice and ½ cup of ammonia.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Apply the solution with a soft brush.
  8. Let it stand for 30-60 min.
  9. Scrub it off with the brush.
  10. Rinse with warm water
  11. Sponge until the interior of your chimney shines. Well, it probably won’t shine since it’s made of brick. But you get the idea.
  12. After you’ve cleaned off the smoky deposits, clean the hearth and screen using dish soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly.

My Cleaning Lady does not provide chimney sweep services, nor are we affiliated with chimney sweep organizations. But we recommend that you leave difficult jobs to professionals whenever possible. But if you’d like some help cleaning your house so you can concentrate on the fireplace, call the professionals at My Cleaning Lady, a domestic referral agency.  The house cleaners we refer offer complete home cleaning services including thorough dusting at reasonable prices. My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency proudly serves Arcadia, Chino, Chino Hills, Duarte, Ontario, Pomona, LaVerne, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Montclair, Claremont, Phillips Ranch, Upland, West Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, and Sierra Madre. Visit http://www.mycleaninglady.com/or call (909) 593-6690 for information or to arrange a free estimate.