5 Easy Fireplace Cleaning Steps to Get Your Hearth Ready for the Holidays

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5 Easy Fireplace Cleaning Steps to Get Your Hearth Ready for the Holidays


There’s nothing better than cozying up in the winter next to a nice roaring fire. That is, if your fireplace cleaning is up to date. No amount of hygge will make you relax if you’re staring into a sooty, dingy hearth. If your living room fireplace is often lit, you know that the burning wood in it will inevitably produce ash, soot, and gray smoke that may even billow inside the interiors of your home. According to John Crouch, a fireplace expert with the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, the nation’s leading trade association for fireplace manufacturers and installers, thorough fireplace cleaning, especially if this chore has been neglected for years, should be left to professional chimney sweeps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spruce up your hearth to keep it looking from a coal pit. Here are five tips to get your hearth holiday ready.

Can I clean a fireplace myself?

According to Crouch, yes, you can clean a fireplace yourself, but it’s best to focus on the bottom of the hearth and not the chimney. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting on fireplace cleaning for the first time is not putting down tarp to cover the area surrounding the fireplace. Doing so can help prevent filling your living room with soot, he says.

How much does it cost to clean a fireplace?

Fireplace cleaning costs vary around the country, but in most urban areas the service charge ranges between $150 to $200, according to Crouch. Fireplace age, height, and the maintenance timeframe can influence the cost. It’s worth noting that certified sweeps are usually booked several weeks in advance, especially during the winter months and holiday season, so don’t expect someone to spruce up your fireplace 24 hours prior to your Ugly Sweater party.

What is the best way to clean a fireplace?

Given the technical nature of gas fireplaces, Crouch recommends a certified technician for a full clean. For an electric fireplace, Crouch says you don’t really need any special service, so long as you follow the manufacturer instructions. However, if you’d like to clean the glass covering or just around the area for these two types of fireplaces, a little Windex and some dusting will do the trick. But if you’re willing to take on cleaning your wood-burning fireplace yourself, or at the very least, the bottom of your wood-burning fireplace, here is a quick method.  

Step 1: Remove the andirons and grate

Prep the space by removing accessories.

Photo: John Keeble

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