How to clean a wood-burning stove

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Written By Jim J Neal

It may not be fun, but fireplace maintenance is important. We’ll explain how to clean a wood-burning fireplace so you’re ready for the colder weather.

Cold weather means cozy fires, and that means knowing how to clean a wood-burning fireplace. Cleaning is part of regular fireplace maintenance, and you need to do this regularly to make sure everything works well. Read on to learn how to safely clean your fireplace.

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Make Sure The Fire Is Out

This step may seem obvious, but safety is important. Be sure you completely extinguished the previous fire. You don’t want to start cleaning it out and stumble upon smoldering pieces of wood. If you have gas hook-ups, make sure they’re turned off.

Remove Old Wood

Next, pull out any remaining logs or pieces of wood that didn’t burn fully. This will clear the way for you to get smaller stuff, and let you see if any areas require extra elbow grease.

Remove Fixtures

Carefully take out any fireplace fixtures. If this is your first time or if you don’t do this regularly, film yourself removing the fixtures or take photos of each step with your smartphone. This way you can see how things should be put back. Gather any pokers or other tools now; you can clean all these at the same time.

Sweep and Vacuum the Ash

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Start this step by sweeping out the remaining ash. Then go in with a shop vacuum to grab any last residue. The more ash you get out now, the less scrubbing you’ll do later.

Scrub the Interior

Grab a cleaner and a brush. Start at the top. If you begin at the bottom, the suds and liquid will just run down over the sections you’ve already cleaned. If you have a brick fireplace, use a gentle cleaner so you don’t damage it.

Wipe Down the Glass

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Wipe down both sides of the glass. A gentle cleaner and microfiber cloth are excellent tools for this. Ash, soot, and smoke reside build up on the glass, leaving it foggy and unsightly. This will also give you a chance to inspect the glass for chips or cracks.

Scrub the Exterior

Different materials have different care instructions, so be sure to confirm what your fireplace needs. Cleaning a brick exterior is different than cleaning tile.

Clean the Fixtures

Check the manufacturer’s suggestions for cleaning the fixtures and tools. Then wipe them down, scrubbing any stubborn areas. You want to remove all residue. Once you’ve finished cleaning, dry them thoroughly.

Replace the Fixtures

Finally, replace the fixtures. Refer to your video or photos from earlier.

Congratulations! You know how to clean a wood-burning fireplace. Now you’re set for the chilly days ahead and can light a fire whenever you want.