How to Clean Every Type of Fireplace the Right Way

Follow these expert-approved tips to clean your chimney and fire accessories, too.

Cozy room interior with electric fireplace and stylish furniture

When the weather turns cold and wet, our homes are a warm respite—and where we spend so much of our time during the chilliest months of the year. If your house has a fireplace, even better. The welcome heat and gentle flicker of the flames are soothing to say the least. However, your fireplace needs some routine cleaning and care to stay in its best—and safest—working condition. Follow these steps to get your fireplace clean, along with your chimney and accessories (including fire stokers and shovels).

Why It's Important to Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney

Of all the things you need to get done this winter, cleaning out your fireplace or chimney might not be at the top of the list. Experts say it should be a priority, though—especially if yours hasn't been cleaned in a few years.

The reason why? One of the main causes of chimney fires is the build-up of creosote, a byproduct of burning wood in the chimney interior, says Andrew Wilson, a home improvement contractor from Contractor Advisorly. "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," he says.

Another incentive for cleaning your fireplace and chimney is that it makes them more energy efficient. "As debris builds up, it will often clog up the chimney flue liner," he says. "When the liner gets clogged, it can inhibit fire operation."

How Often You Should Clean Your Fireplace

While there is no single standard for how often you should clean your fireplace and chimney, once a year (at least) is recommended—especially if you use it frequently, says Wilson. Otherwise, clean your fireplaces during the peak season, if you smell burning wood, or if you see soot.

How to Clean Every Type of Fireplace

Overall, fireplaces require similar cleaning routines, says Traci Fournier, the vice president of operations at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. As a general rule of thumb, always remove creosote buildup (again, to avoid risk of chimney fire) and inspect the chimney for cracks, so smoke won't leak into the house, she adds.

Materials You'll Need

  • Cleaning brush
  • Vacuum
  • Microfiber cloth

Follow Fournier's steps for how to clean a fireplace:

  1. Extinguish flames and ensure the entire area is cool to the touch.
  2. Depending on the fireplace, disassemble and remove any accessories like glass doors, screens, and curtains.
  3. Remove the burner unit and any logs.
  4. With a cleaning brush, brush each piece to remove dirt and debris. Repeat brushing as needed.
  5. Brush debris from burner unit. When brushing any piece, inspect for damage or hazards.
  6. Vacuum the fireplace thoroughly with a hose attachment. Vacuum all crevices.
  7. Wipe down interior with a soft cloth and brush away any major dust. Be sure to vacuum again if any dust has been knocked loose.
  8. Polish all metal and glass pieces, including fireplace accessories.
  9. Put the fireplace back together and check exterior vents for any blockages or hazardous debris.
  10. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer's manual for your fireplace to avoid damages and prevent wear and tear.

Follow Fournier's additional tips to clean the particular type of fireplace you have in your home.

Marble fireplace lit with fire


Follow the above steps and care for the marble surround by cleaning it with a microfiber cloth and a gentle all-purpose cleanser. Avoid hot water, as it can damage the finish, she says.

Fireplace in modern style, located on a marble pedestal, lined with stone and wooden mantel


Aside from following the aforementioned steps, use a gentle dish soap and warm water to wipe away dirt and stains when cleaning the stonework. "Allow stone to fully dry and be mindful not to oversaturate the stone with water, as it can leave watermarks," says Fournier.

Brick fireplace lit with wood and hardwood flooring


Care for brick fireplaces by following the above tips and mixing equal parts warm water and vinegar in a spray bottle. "Spray the mixture over the bricks and allow to sit for five minutes," says Fournier. "Blot at stains or grime with a sponge, using more of the vinegar mixture if needed." If you see stuck-on grime or dirt in the crevices of the bricks, she says to use a firm bristle brush to get rid of the debris; then, allow it to dry.

Cast iron fireplace in home burning with wood

Cast Iron

After going through the general fireplace cleaning steps, care for cast iron by wiping the surface with only methylated spirit and a soft cloth, says Fournier. For fading or color wearing, use an iron polish or WD40 to restore its shine.

How to Clean a Chimney

Service chimneys regularly and call in a professional cleaner if needed to keep things running smoothly and avoid home hazards, says Fournier.

Materials You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Firm bristle brush or steel wool scrub
  • Pressure washer
  • Broom
  • Plastic liner
  • Long wire brush

To clean your chimney's exterior, follow these steps:

  1. Create a mixture of vinegar and hot water.
  2. Using a firm bristle brush or steel wool, scrub the exterior bricks from the top down.
  3. Hose down the outside of the chimney and repeat scrubbing as needed.
  4. For deep stains for discoloration, allow the mixture to sit for five to seven minutes before scrubbing and hosing down.
  5. You can use a pressure washer to remove soot and grime.

To clean the interior of your chimney, follow these steps:

  1. Before cleaning your fireplace, give your chimney a good sweep by removing all accessories and fireplace tools from the area. Cleaning the inside of a chimney is a dirty job, so make sure to dress appropriately and wear safety gloves and glasses if necessary.
  2. Open and detach the damper and cover the front of the fireplace with a plastic liner sealed with duct tape.
  3. Go to your roof and remove the rain cap and, using a long wire brush, brush the inside of the chimney. Brush downward to shake soot and debris loose.
  4. Use the method to brush the entire length of the chimney.
  5. Sweep up soot that has collected and dispose of it. Be sure to reattached the rain cap and adjust damper after cleaning.

How to Clean a Fireplace Door

When it comes to cleaning your glass fireplace doors, you have a few options. Either use a store-bought glass cleaner or a homemade mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water, says Mallory Micetich, a home expert at Angi.

Follow these steps to clean the door:

  1. Spray down the glass with the cleaning solution.
  2. Let the solution sit for a minute.
  3. Wipe down the door with a microfiber cloth.

How to Clean Fireplace Accessories

The tools you use to tend to a roaring fire, like tongs, fire pokers, shovels, brushes, and fireplace fillers, should also be refreshed from time to time. These cast-iron tools are easy to clean, says Micetich.

Materials You'll Need

  • Dry cloth
  • Steel wool sponge
  • Metal polish
  • Small brush
  • Gentle dish soap

Follow these steps to clean fireplace accessories:

  1. For cast-iron tools, start by wiping them down with a dry cloth or paper towel to remove any dust.
  2. Then, wipe them down with a steel wool sponge.
  3. Gently rub them with metal polish.
  4. For ceramic logs, stones, or other fireplace fillers, lay them out on a dry cloth and use a small brush to dust, says Fournier.
  5. If needed, use a gentle dish soap mixed with warm water to tackle dirt—but make sure that the tools are fully dry before returning them to the fireplace.
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