So… fair warning- this isn’t the most glamorous post ever. It’s right up there with ‘How to Clean Baseboards’ and ‘Tips to Keep Your Garbage Disposal in Top Order’. Having said that, if you have a wood burning fireplace, annual fireplace maintenance is extremely important. It’s on my to-do list for this week to find a local chimney sweep for our annual cleaning… which is already a year late. Whoops. Seeing as it rained all weekend, I couldn’t put this task off any more. We literally spent the weekend on the couch which meant I stared at this dirty glass for no less than 42 hours before I cracked.
After the last two intense winters here in PA, our fireplace was looking pretty grimey. We are planking the wall this week, hence the weird paint job. More on that later. Our fireplace is double sided and you couldn’t even see through to the other side because of the soot and grime.
To start the fireplace mini-makeover, I first scooped out all the excess soot using a small dustpan. You can see the inside of the other side of the fireplace was just as bad. You should do this a few times a season (I think we did it 3 or 4 times and we burn wood a lot in the winter). This not only keeps your fireplace looking tidy, but makes it easier to start fires since you are creating space for oxygen underneath the grate where your logs sit.
Then, I opened up the glass all the way. Here is the before of one panel sprayed with some cleaner. YUCK. It was completely black in some spots!
I forgot to take a picture before spraying. My method is to soak the glass in cleaner of your choice (I used Simple Green but you can really use whatever you clean your kitchen with. Even plain of vinegar would do the trick). Make sure you put an old towel or something underneath because a lot of the grime literally melts off! Let this sit a minute or so, then use a razor blade to scrape the grime.
Like I said… not exactly glamorous. I was pretty surprised how easily the panels cleaned off. All in all, this project was minimally painful. It took me about 30 minutes to do both sides of our fireplace. The worst part is getting the grime on your hands. Here is that same panel after scraping. Already a huge improvement.
Once everything was scraped, I went back with Windex which got rid of all the scraping streaks and made the panels shine.
The glass turned out so nice. Look! You can even see through the glass into the living room now. Imagine that.
I promise I will have a fireplace wall update for you soon! We finally decided on the plank color (Hint: same as the wall colors) and materials so now it’s just a matter of buying what we need and doing the project. It’s such a relief to check off these less-glamorous and not necessarily earth shattering tasks off my spring to-do list. I know painting the red wall, switching the kitchen doors to gray and cleaning fireplaces are not the most stunning before and afters, but with every mundane “adult” project I get closer to exciting ones like flooring! planking the fireplace wall! and hanging my crystal chandelier!