Organize & Clean

How To Clean a Fireplace

updated Jun 5, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

No matter how clean a room may be, a dirty fireplace can make it look messy and unkempt. Tidying up can take time and effort, but the end results are rewarding, and will help keep your fireplace in great working order.

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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

More than likely you’re only dealing with some soot here and ther—and if that’s the case, your cleaning adventure won’t take all that long. But if you’ve inherited a neglected fireplace like mine, prepare to put in some time and serious elbow grease!

What You Need


  • Dustpan
  • Large paper sack
  • Drop cloth
  • Coffee grounds (optional)
  • Broom
  • Scrub brush
  • Kneeling pad (a folded towel works, too!)
  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • Cleaning products (see below)
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear


(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. Put down a drop cloth or plastic tarp over the hearth. You’d be surprised how far the soot will travel through the room!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Remove all logs and scoop out any debris. To minimize debris in the air, sprinkle coffee grounds over the top of the ashes. Scoop into a pail or paper sack with your fireplace shovel or a dustpan.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Sweep out the interior of the fireplace from top to bottom. Follow up with the brush attachment on your vacuum.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Choose your cleaning solution. A mixture of warm water and TSP (trisodium phosphate) is a practical go-to solution to use on your fireplace, but can be too harsh on older brick. Consider using other green solutions such as vinegar and water, baking soda and detergent, or cream of tartar.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. Dip the brush into your cleaning solution and begin to scrub the interior of your fireplace, working it around in small circular patterns. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top to avoid streaking.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Depending on how dirty your fireplace actually is, you might need to repeat this process a few times. I was prepping my fireplace to be painted, so I wanted to be sure it was as clean as possible and repeated this process one more time.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

The best way to keep your fireplace in good working order is to keep up with it. Wait a day or so after you’ve lit a fire and pick up the ashes. If you have just a few small soot smudges, products like this waterless soot removal sponge are great to keep around.

More great tips and tutorials: Cleaning Basics