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As we speed toward the cooler weather (thank goodness!) we herald in the many reasons we love the fireplace. The mantel is beautifully decorated with the Pinterest inspired looks you made out of old leaves and modge podge, the wafting scent of burning oak, and the snuggled feeling of warmth spreading into your face and toes. I can taste the spiced tea now…However, the next morning we awake to find the entire downstairs covered in a fine layer of…dust? No, it’s ash. Forget Mr. Sandman, the ash and soot fairy have paid a visit and like annoying relatives, have no plans on leaving until spring.

The most common victim of ash and soot stains is the surrounding brick, marble, or tile. The windows become foggy. Old ash begins to fill up the firebox. Here are a few simple ways to make your home bright again.

  • A wet or dry vacuum can dispose of that old ash. Be sure to let it sit and cool for at least four days! No one wants to see the vacuum on fire. As you wait on this, to mask that musky odor, sprinkle coffee grounds or tea leaves.
  • For the foggy glass, a simple mixture of water and vinegar will really give that glass back its shine.
  • For smoke and soot stains on the brick marble or tile scrub well with 1 part cleaning solution and 1 gallon of water.

These simple and effective tips also play a major safety role. The less ash pile up left in the fireplace, the less risk of a chimney fire being ignited. And while it isn’t seen by the guests you have for dinner, a clean chimney is the most important! Before lighting that first fire this fall, ask the professionals to clean and inspect your chimney.