by Karen Bates
(last updated October 3, 2011)
Keeping your house warm during the chilly months can sometimes be a challenge, and it can be made more difficult for those who want to cut back on spending. Although there are various methods for heating an area, some are more cost-effective than others. Using a fireplace to help heat your home can help you save money, but at the same time a fireplace can require some maintenance to keep it working correctly.
Fireplaces can be a wonderful and useful addition to your home, but they also come with their share of responsibility. If you use your fireplace regularly, you will also need to clean it thoroughly from time to time.
Move the fireplace grate aside. Start by removing any loose ash in the bottom of the fireplace. Of course, if you have used the fireplace recently you will need to wait until this area has cooled entirely. Use a fireplace shovel to pick up and dispose of the ash and large clumps. Sweep up any particles left over and discard.
Using a scrub brush, scrub to loosen and remove the soot that has built up on the fireplace walls. You may want to line the bottom of the fireplace with newspaper to catch any bits of soot for easy disposal later. Once this is done, clean the walls using the brush and some fireplace cleaner. Be sure to wear gloves to protect yourself, and follow the product's directions carefully.
If you prefer a safer, more natural cleaning method, you can try using ingredients that you may already have around the house. Cleaning with vinegar or washing soda, for example, can work well to remove build-up from inside the fireplace. Use a scrub brush to apply and scrub the surface until clean. Of course, this method may not work for heavy duty staining, in which case you might need a stronger cleaner.
When you are done applying cleaner and scrubbing the fireplace, use warm water to rinse the surfaces you just cleaned. Replace the fireplace grate.
Do you hate needing to deep-clean the fireplace? You can vacuum or sweep out the fireplace often to help prevent a build-up from occurring. This simple step can save a lot of time and work for you later on when a real mess has developed. Just remember to wait until the ashes have cooled completely after a fire before sweeping or vacuuming.
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