A nice and clean fireplace in a cold winter night is quite a sight. The sight of crackling fire makes you all cozy and warm. However a dirty fireplace does not look good at all with all the soot around it and is not quite safe too as the chimney might catch fire. A masonry fireplace becomes extremely messy and cleaning it is also very tedious. However with suitable cleaning tools, you can easily clean your fireplace. Make sure you wear an old set of clothes when you set for cleaning your fireplace. If the fireplace has been used the night before, wait until the next 24 hours and then start cleaning. You can put on rubber or leather gloves and get started. Make sure you have put on goggles before cleaning up as the soot and dust can get into your eyes. Remember that you are dealing with poisonous and harmful substance and make sure you take proper precautions before putting your hands into it.
Line some old newspaper sheets around the fireplace and on the fireplace floor. Cover your surrounding furniture with plastic sheets so that they do not get dirty. Keep trash cans ready for the dust and the soot which you are going to put in it after your cleaning is done. You can probe through the ashes for warmth or any fire residue and then remove the grate. Keep it for cleaning later on. Clear the ashes and collect it in the trash can. Inspect the chimney using a flashlight and check the flue for black powder or creosote. Creosote is toxic deposits which get deposited up the chimney and you must get rid of it as it is toxic in nature.
You can use a metal chimney brush and start scraping the creosote off the chimney. These brushes are available in the market and can be bought for cleaning the flue. You can also use wire brushes or nylon brushes for this job. Now take a plastic bucket and fill it with around 3 litres of warm water and add a tablespoon of baking soda or a cup of vinegar. Now clean the walls of the chimney using this solution. Carefully pick the newspaper which you had previously lined around and on the floor of fireplace and put in the trash can along with the soot and debris collected. Start rinsing the walls with water and a sponge till it is all clean. While this set up is clean, leave it for drying. In the mean while clean the grate which you took out earlier.
Carefully place all the parts together and close the flue. Your fireplace is all set for another fire and is ready to warm you. You can also call in professionals for cleaning your fireplace if you do not want to get into the mess or fear the poisonous substances. With regular cleaning and proper care, you can easily maintain your fireplace. If you want to decrease the creosote accumulation, use only well dried wood for your fireplace.