6 Tips on cleaning your chimney

6 Tips on cleaning your chimney
Photo by Philippe Brems on

If you own a wood-burning fireplace, you will have to be committed to its maintenance. This is because a poorly looked after chimney will result in a buildup of soot which could leave an unpleasant smell in your home. A lack of maintenance might also lead to a chimney fire. When cleaning your chimney, here are some tips that should help you do a good job:

1. Check for animals

Before you begin cleaning your chimney, make sure that you’ve checked if animals like birds and rodents are lodging inside your chimney. If you find any of them, take out time to take them out of the chimney. Failure to conduct a check might make things complicated for you – especially when cleaning has begun.

2. Cover up the surroundings and obtain essential materials

Cleaning a chimney can be a messy job, so it’s advisable that you cover the surrounding area with plastic or any other suitable material. Failure to do this will most likely leave your home and furniture with a lot of dust.

Due to the dust from your chimney, you should get goggles to protect your eyes. You should also get a respirator to prevent dust from getting into your lungs.

3. Clean debris

Before you begin cleaning, remove the logs and the rest of the debris located at the chimney’s bottom. You might want to sweep up everything in one go (after you’re done cleaning the chimney), but it will be less messy to remove the debris first. You should also take out the animal guard and chimney cap before you begin. If you don’t have these fireplace accessories, purchase them at

4. Start from the top

Even though you can clean the chimney from the bottom to the top, it is ideal to start from the top and work your way all the way down. You can use various brushes to complete this task, however, wire-bristle brushes have the most impact. Clean the chimney by moving the brush back and forth on each edge. When you have done this to the bottom, you can switch to a smaller brush to get more control of the situation.

5. Take preventive measures

You can take measures to slow down creosote buildup in your chimney. Creosote buildup majorly occurs due to the inefficient burning of wood. This usually happens when softwoods such as spruce, cedar and pine are used in the fireplace. You will need to purchase ideal woods like birch, oak and maple. They burn better, so they will not produce as much creosote.

6. Self and professional inspection

You can check out the level of creosote buildup in your chimney at intervals to determine when the time is right to clean it. If there is smoke buildup during a fire, then it is likely that there’s creosote buildup or there’s a problem with the flue. That’s why it is also important to seek professional help at least once every year to ensure that your fireplace is in top shape and that it doesn’t present any hazards.



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