If you have a working fireplace in your house, creosote remover is a must. Creosote is a result of burning wood. You can usually see the brown, sticky substance on your chimney bricks. Although you may think it just adds color to the stucco, this substance is toxic and if you let enough of it build-up you will not be able to remove it and will have to have your chimney replaced. Nonetheless, ridding your house of creosote and keeping it out is a fairly easy process. Here are all the steps you need to make sure your home is creosote-free.
Especially if the creosote buildup is thick, try scraping the buildup off the surface before you try to clean it. Many different tools can be effective for this step, including a putty knife or masonry trowel. If you are working on glass, make sure to cover the edge of the tool with tape so that you don't scratch or damage the glass.
First, try to scrub the creosote buildup with a steel brush, a brush specially made for chimneys, or you might try a steel wool pad. The only way to get rid of creosote is to remove it with a liberal application of elbow grease. Do not try to burn it off because that won't work. Other things around it might burn up in the process, but the creosote will remain.
Mix Up Creosote Remover
The next thing you'll need to do is make some creosote remover. For a natural solution, get some baking soda and mix it with water until it forms a paste. Apply that to the creosote-stained bricks and scrub until you see it begin to lift.
Rinse with water afterward. It's best to first try this homemade creosote remover on a small patch of brick to see what results from it before using it on your entire chimney.
There are a wide variety of commercial creosote removers on the market that also work, and while they can be effective, they usually possess some harsh chemicals. If you are nervous about using a chemical creosote remover, first try the baking soda paste, and then only use a commercial remover as a last resort.
Maintain and Prevent Future Buildup
The best thing you can do to make sure creosote does not accumulate in your chimney or fireplace is to burn the right kind of wood. Any wood that is too wet and has not been dried or seasoned will contribute to creosote buildup in your house.
Also, making sure that your fireplace is as clean as possible when you use it can be the best prevention. Clean the parts of the fireplace you can reach several times a year, especially during those times when you use the fireplace the most.
Use any stove or fireplace cleaners that you can buy in a home improvement store on a regular basis and let a professional chimney sweep give your fireplace a thorough cleaning at least once a year.
How to Make Your Own Creosote Remover
What is the best way to dissolve creosote?
There are many products on the market and many home recipes you can use to dissolve creosote. One of the easiest is a mixture of standard liquid dish soap and salt.
Stir the two together in equal amounts and carefully add half a cup of ammonia. Wear eye protection and hand protection while doing this and keep all children and animals out of the area.
Ammonia is a very strong chemical agent and should be handled with care. This mixture can be applied directly to any creosote deposits you see.
Will mineral spirits remove creosote?
Mineral spirits can be effective at removing or at least loosening up creosote deposits. Mineral spirits must be sprayed directly onto the creosote to be most effective.
Let the mineral spirits soak into the creosote for a couple of minutes and then spray clean water to rinse the creosote and mineral spirits away.
Does salt dissolve creosote?
Sat is very effective at dissolving creosote and it is often used as a chimney cleaner. Salt is naturally abrasive and helps to literally scrub the creosote off chimney walls.
What is a safe alternative to creosote?
Creosote is a carbonous buildup, a residue left behind by the burning of wood and fossil fuels. There are several alternatives to traditional wood logs which are considered to be more environmentally friendly and produce far fewer fumes and residues.
Alternatives include eco-logs made of compressed wood chips and sawdust, soy and switchgrass logs, and compressed paper bricks.
What can I burn in my chimney to clean it?
There are some logs that are specifically designed to help remove the buildup of soot and creosote that so many chimneys have. Creosote sweeping logs can be burned to get rid of this buildup.