Just the other day I looked inside of my chimney box to see a build up of ash and soot and realized it was time to clean. Cleaning a chimney box isn’t the average person’s favorite thing to do, but if you don’t keep up with the chore there are consequences far worse than spending half-an-hour cleaning. As the saying goes, you should work smart instead of hard. There are hard ways to clean your chimney box, and there are smart ways to clean your chimney box.
Here are the smartest ways to clean out your chimney box without making a mess or working too hard.
Use A Wet/Dry Vacuum To Remove Debris
A wet/dry vacuum with a disposable bag can be your best friend when it comes to cleaning out your chimney box. But first you must allow the pile of ash and soot to cool for at least four days. Before you start to clean check for any residual warmth by simply holding your hand above the ash pile. If the pile is large, use the chimney poker to dig into the pile and check for warmth here. Once properly cooled, suck it up and dispose of the bag.
Reduce Dust As You Clean
If you plan to remove the pile of debris with a fireplace shovel you can reduce the amount of dust that gets in the air by spreading wet tea leaves or coffee grounds over the cooled ash. This will reduce the stale scent as well as reduce the amount of dust that gets in the air as you scoop it up.
Clean Up Glass Doors
One of the trickiest places to clean your fireplace is the glass. In order to remove soot and cloudy film you can create a mixture using equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Mix together in a spray bottle, and grab a paper towel and microfiber cloth. You can use the ash to your advantage by dipping a paper towel in the ash pile after squirting it with the spray bottle mixture. The ash works as a gentle exfoliator to help remove built on stains. Once you have removed the most stubborn stains, spray the glass directly with the water and vinegar mix and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. A razor blade can help remove any left behind gunk.
Remove Smoke Stains From Sides Of Chimney Box
If the sides of your chimney box are stained with smoke you can remove marks using a cleaning solution. Before applying any cleaners you need to rinse off the area, this prevents the cleaning solution from quickly soaking in; this step is especially crucial if you are dealing with brick. Create your cleaning solution using ¼ cup all-purpose cleaner and 1 gallon of water. Dip a rough bristled brush into the solution and scrub at the stains quickly. Have a clean sponge on hand to wipe the solution clean and let the area dry.
If you are working to clean off marble or stone materials, spray the area with water and then use a soft cloth dipped in mild dishwashing liquid to scrub over the area. After, rinse the area and wipe dry.
If brick is over 50-years old it is more prone to crumbling if scrubbed with a cleaner. Instead of scrubbing, use a vacuum with a soft-brush attachment to go over the dirty areas. (Find out more on this topic)
Reduce The Mess With The Right Supplies
It can get messy cleaning up a messy chimney. Having the right tools for the task can make things go much smoother. The materials you need for the job include:
- A dust mask to protect yourself from the dust and debris sure to kick up
- A pair of gloves to protect you against the semi toxic substances in the box
- Plastic covering to protect surrounding floors and furniture
- A metal bucket or some type of container to place the ash and debris
- Cleaner capable of removing soot and smoke from the different surfaces in your chimney box, including glass, brick, stone, etc.
- Chimney shovels, picks and brushes are sold as affordable sets and help make cleaning out your chimney easier.
Have Your Chimney Professionally Cleaned Every Year
It’s not just your chimney box that gets dirty with each use. Your chimney collects dirt and debris all the way up to the very tiptop. While you can easily handle cleaning your own chimney box it’s a little more complicated to keep your chimney flue clean. This is why all professionals and national chimney associations recommend conducting an annual chimney sweeping. By keeping all parts of your chimney clean you reduce the risk for chimney fires, poor indoor air quality, and many other issues.
To have your chimney cleaned and inspected contact Turnbull Masonry today!