Speed-Clean Your Fireplace Checklist

Take your fireplace from filthy to flawless in just 15 minutes. Here’s what you’ll need: a kneeling pad,  a shovel and brush set, a scrub brush, glass cleaner, an apron, a large plastic tarp, rubber gloves, a lidded trash can, used coffee grounds, a spray bottle filled with water, dishwashing liquid, a soft cloth, and paper towels.

  1. Check Start here:

    Wait at least 24 hours after you’ve burned your last fire so the ashes cool thoroughly.

  2. Check Minute 1:

    Put on an apron and lay a plastic tarp in front of the fireplace.

  3. Check Minute 2:

    Situate yourself on a kneeling pad. Wearing rubber gloves, remove logs, tinder, and the grate; set aside on the tarp. Keep burnable logs; toss badly charred logs into the trash.

  4. Check Minutes 3 to 5:

    Sprinkle a handful of used coffee grounds on the ashes to minimize flyaways. Sweep each interior wall top to bottom with the fireplace brush. Shovel the ashes into a pan, then dump the debris into the trash.

  5. Check Minute 6:

    Sweep each screen top to bottom with the fireplace brush.

  6. Check Minutes 7 to 10:

    Tackle the exterior. For brick: Spray water onto sooty areas followed by hearth cleaner. (For bricks more than 50 years old, use only water—no hearth cleaner.) Clean with a scrub brush, spritz with water, then use a soft cloth to dry. For iron: Spray with hearth cleaner, rinse with water, and use paper towels to dry. For marble and stone: Spray residue with water, clean with dishwashing liquid and a cloth, rinse, and dry.

  7. Check Minutes 11 to 12:

    If the fireplace has glass doors, apply hearth cleaner to the back and front of each door, then wipe down one panel at a time, removing the cleaner before it dries.

  8. Check Minutes 13 to 14:

    To polish tools and grates, place them on the tarp, spray with hearth cleaner, and wipe clean with paper towels.

  9. Check Minute 15:

    Replace the grate and logs. Carefully ball up and toss the tarp. Take the trash can outside. Now draw the screens, close the doors, and kick back. But don’t make a fire just yet. You should enjoy that sparkling-new fireplace for at least a few days, right?