The bone-chilling weather is upon us, and the most used thing in your house for the next couple of months will be a chimney. But, before using it, you need to get it cleaned by consulting chimney sweep services. If you want to do it by yourself, then here’s how you can do just that.

The Fireplace Should Be Cold

The last thing you want to do is put your hands inside an extremely hot and blazing fireplace and burn yourself. Besides, cleaning a cold chimney is a lot easier, since you have better access to places without the fear of getting blistered by the ashes or the hot soot. So, before you decide to clean the chimney, make sure that you keep the fireplace off and inoperable until the cleaning is complete.

Once the fireplace is cold to the touch, you can get to work. It’s not only easy, but it’s less of a hazard, so you won’t run into any unwanted problems. This might be a bother for a couple of days, especially if the weather is getting colder with each passing day, but the performance will be much better once you do get it cleaned and then you can get all toasty and warmed up in the fire.

Get Your Gear Ready

For cleaning a chimney, you can’t just jump in head-first and hope for the best. Creosote and soot are not going to do any good if you accidentally inhale it, so you need to ensure that you’re protecting yourself with the proper gear.

Wear clothes that you don’t mind ruining, because if you know anything about soot, then you would know that it stains like there’s no tomorrow and the stains are really hard to get off the clothes, so wear something that you won’t miss.

Next, wear some boots, because cleaning a chimney in slippers or barefoot is not the brightest idea. Next, you will need to protect your hands, eyes and nose. For that, you can go for thick and padded gloves. As for the face, you can wear goggles and a mask or you can get those heavy-duty fog masks that people wear to completely cover their face. Once you have the gear on, it’s go-time.

Cover The Important Areas

Pump the brakes, because the prep isn’t complete yet. Cleaning a chimney can lead to a lot of deposition of debris and you don’t want it to cover the entire room. So, to make the process somewhat cleaner and easier to manage, you need to protect the surrounding areas. You can do so with some tarp or plastic and cover the mantel of the fireplace, furniture in the room, and any other important things that you don’t want to get covered in soot.

Put some tarp on the furniture and cover the exposed areas with masking tape. This is going to keep the soot away from your beloved furniture and the rest of the room. It’s also advised to keep the windows open otherwise you’ll be surrounded by a thick and dark cloud of creosote and soot.

These things are important to do before the chimney is cleaned because you will have to deal with less of a hassle afterward when you’re cleaning things up from the surrounding areas of the fireplace.

Scrape Off The Soot

Soot is the black and slimy deposit of burned wood that can cover the fireplace walls and the annoying part of it all, is that it can go all the way up to the chute of the chimney. Soot can harden over time and it can be a nightmare to clean, so you want to ensure that you’re cleaning it regularly, at least once or twice a year.

You want to start the cleaning by scraping off the soot. You can use a cleaning agent that can soften up the soot and that’s going to make it easier to scrape it off the sides of the fireplace. You can use a hard bristled brush or a scraper to loosen the soot and once it falls, you can sweep it up with a sweeping brush and a dust pan. Your fireplace will be clean in no time.

The Creosote Buildup

Some might think that soot and creosote are the same, but that’s not true. Creosote is harder and is light-colored. Think of it as solidified ashes and if it’s stuck in the chute or other narrow places of the chimney, then it can clog the chimney and that can lead to disastrous results.

To get rid of the creosote, you’re going to need a special cleaner that’s meant to dissolve the creosote and it’s going to be much easier to clean the rest of it from the walls of the chimney. You’re going to want to saturate the walls of the chimney or the flue with the creosote cleaner and let it sit for some minutes before you go in with a brush and scrape everything off.

Once creosote is off, you will see a significant difference in the color of the walls of the fireplace. You can sweep the creosote debris away too and immediately dispose of it. In case you need help with this, contact chimney contractors Upper Marlboro.

Clean The Chute

The next step is the cleaning of the narrow places of the chimney. This can be a bit hard and you’re going to have to do it from the bottom (at the fireplace) as well as from the top (on the roof). You can use a long-necked brush and clean the flue of the chimney.

You can also use the soot and creosote cleaners and then brush the residue off with the brush. The dust and residue will fall to the bottom and you can clean it up and dust your hands off.

Get Rid Of Obstructions

The chimney, because it is warm and cozy, can be a place for small critters and birds to take refuge. If your chimney hasn’t been used for a long time, then there’s a huge possibility that there are going to be bird nests and even small raccoons, squirrels, and weasels living in the chute. It’s a safe place for the animals to take shelter from the cold weather and other animals.

So, you want to inspect the flue and the lower part of the chimney for any critters and gently remove them, because you don’t want any accidents to happen when you go ahead and light up the fireplace.

Check The Chimney

Once the cleaning is complete, you will need to do a test run to see how well you did. It’s pretty self-explanatory. You just need to load the fireplace up with wood and light it on fire. Now, you’re going to go outside and inspect the chimney.

If the smoke is coming out in a regular stream, then you’re good to go and the chimney has no obstruction. Another indicator can be your room; if it is not filling up with a smoke cloud, then it is a job well done.


Cleaning a chimney might sound complicated, but it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. These tips are going to help you out a ton. But if you don’t have the right tools or the time, you can use chimney cleaning services Bowie.