How to Clean Your Fireplace - and the Screen

A fireplace fire in a rustic room.
What You'll Need
TSP (tri-sodium phosphate)
Eye protection
Wire scrub brush

A fireplace is often the focal point of the room it occupies, so it needs to look good. That’s why it’s important to keep not only the fireplace itself but also the screen clean. Cleaning a fireplace is not the most glamorous job, but, if done correctly, it’s not very hard either.

Step 1—Throw Out the Ashes

Start at the source. Clean the ash out of your fireplace, and less of it will get onto the screen. Since you’ll be working for a little while, lay a rag down to protect your knees from the brick.

Put on some gloves and then remove the screen and door. Line newspaper or plastic on the bottom of the fireplace to catch the soot. Use a wire scrub brush to scrape it off the walls and anything else. After you are done, pick up your dirt catcher and dump it in the trashcan.

Step 2—Scrub It Down

Now it’s time to put on your safety goggles and gloves. The cleaning solution can burn your eyes and skin. Pour a gallon of water into a bucket and then add six tablespoons of TSP and one cup of bleach. Don’t let it splash.

Dump a wire scrub brush into the solution and use it to clean the walls and floor of your fireplace. After you’ve got rid of as much residue as you can, use wet rags to wipe the walls and floor clean. You don’t want to leave the TSP in there. Don't worry if some stubborn black spots won’t go away; that’s to be expected, especially in an old fireplace.

Step 3—Clean the Screen

Use a dry rag to wipe as much soot from the screen as you can. Again, you’ll need a newspaper underneath it to catch the char. Next, clean off your rag, get some detergent on it, and scrub both sides of the screen. Put it under a sink to wash away the dirt and soap or take it outside and spray it clean with the garden hose. Now, it should look great back in front of your fireplace.