Providing warmth on cold nights and setting the stage for romance, a fireplace is a structure that allows people to safely create a fire in their homes. Some people have wood-burning fireplaces, while others have electric or gas models. In any case, home remedies for fireplaces can help with the maintenance and upkeep of units.
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Fireplace Home Remedies
Creosote forms when coal, treated woods and other materials are burned at very high temperatures. In large quantities, creosote is highly toxic and exposure to associated smoke can lead to breathing problems and worsening of current conditions, such as asthma. This is why regular cleaning of your chimney and fireplace is important so that you can remove and prevent a buildup of creosote.
Solutions for controlling creosote levels are found below alongside other home remedies for fireplaces that can help clean and maintain your unit:
a) Aluminum Foil:
To make cleaning a fireplace easier to accomplish, line the bottom with aluminum foil. When the ashes have cooled, fold up the foil, and lay a fresh layer out before your next warming experience.
b) Coffee Grounds :
To help with clean up, sprinkling damp coffee grounds on the ashes from your fireplace will weigh down the ashes and keep dust at a minimum.
c) Vinegar, Ammonia & Borax:
To clean the inside and outside of your brick fireplace, do a little spring cleaning using a solution comprised of three cups each of vinegar, ammonia, and Borax. Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients. Use the solution to scrub the bricks clean.
d) Vinegar :
A 50/50 solution of vinegar and warm water can help clean the white stains left behind on your masonry that comes from salt leaching out of bricks. Gently scrub the stains away and use a towel to dry. However, you now have a bigger issue on your hands. The salt stains indicate a moisture problem or fireplace leak.
e) Cola Soda:
To brighten the appearance of soot-stained brick, mix together one can of cola, 3 ½ fluid ounces of all-purpose household cleaner, and 3 ½ ounces of water in a bucket. Sponge the remedy onto sooty bricks, and then leave on for 15 minutes. You can use a stiff-bristled brush to loosen stubborn soot by scrubbing it away. Sponge off with clean water. Use more cola if you haven’t cleaned the bricks in a while.
f) Ammonia :
When your fireplace glass doors are covered in blackened soot, add one tablespoon of ammonia and two tablespoons of vinegar to one quart (or one liter) of warm water. Add the ingredients to a spray bottle that you will apply to the glass. Let the solution sit for several seconds before wiping off with an absorbent cloth. If necessary, repeat the process.
g) Baking Soda:
Remove stains from fireplace bricks by washing with a solution made from ½ cup baking soda and one quart of warm water.
h) Oven Cleaner:
Spraying oven cleaner on glass fireplace screens or brick faces will help to effectively remove creosote.
i) Cat Litter:
Sometimes, the constant burning of a fireplace can cause unpleasant odors to develop. After cleaning out the bottom of the fireplace, remove the grate and apply a layer of newspaper to the bottom of the fireplace. Bend a few pieces up at the sides of the fireplace – about three to four inches. With rubber gloves on your hands, use a wire brush to scrape off the soot that has accumulated on the side. Wrap the sooty newspaper and toss it in the garbage. Next, sprinkle a thick layer of clay cat litter on the bottom of the fireplace, and replace the grate. It is suggested to sweep out the cat litter and pour a new layer once a week to continue absorbing odor in your fireplace.
Tossing a bit of salt into your fireplace will make it easier to clean soot from the chimney. The salt will also produce a fire that burns a cool yellow color. Instead of using water, you can also toss salt on a fire that glows with the last few embers. This will safely snuff out the flame and make it easier to clean.
k) Lemon Peels:
Instead of using newspaper or other printed papers to fuel your fire, use lemon (or orange) peels as kindling. The oils in the peels help ignite surrounding wood, make a fire burn longer, as well as add a nice scent to the home. Your chimney will also stay cleaner because the peels produce less creosote than paper.
After cleaning the screen in your dryer, use the lint as kindling for your fireplace. Not only does it light quickly, but can also reach places that paper cannot.
m) Egg Cartons:
Egg cartons made out of cardboard are a good way to get your fireplace going. Fill with bits of wood and smaller pieces of crumbled paper (like receipts and business cards).
n) Flower Pot:
Add a touch of décor to your fireplace space by purchasing a ceramic flower pot to hold your firewood and kindling. This is an easy, inexpensive way to incorporate different designs and colors.
o) Tea Leaves:
To help control the dust that tends to stir when cleaning fireplace ash, sprinkle wet tea leaves over the area The tea will keep the ashes from spreading all over the place while lifting them out of the fireplace.
 Who Knew? Almanac by Bruce Lubin & Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin; pg. 302.
 Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg. 208.
 Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 50.