A cast-iron fireplace brings a touch of elegance to any home, but cleaning and restoring the metal can be a chore. Regular maintenance is key to retaining the old-world look of cast iron. For an initial cleaning, set aside a couple of hours to ensure enough time to do it right.
Things You'll Need
- Drop cloth
- Dust mask
- Trash bag
- Wire brush
- Mineral spirits
- Blackening paste
- Soft brush
- Vacuum cleaner
Lay a sheet around the edge of the fireplace to prevent soot from damaging carpets and tiles. An old shower curtain also makes a great floor cover. Be sure to cover the floor well as fireplace cleaning is dusty work. Wear gloves, a dust mask and safety goggles to prevent dust from staining skin and irritating eyes.
Remove any coal, newspaper, logs and kindling from the fireplace. Use a shovel and metal bucket if the fireplace has been used recently, or gloved hands and a trash bag if the fireplace has not been used in awhile.
Brush away surface debris from the fireplace with a wire brush. Be sure to purchase a brush that fits your hand comfortably to increase control and strength. Brush the entire surface of the fireplace vigorously. This will prepare the surface for further cleaning.
Wipe off any remaining dust with a cotton cloth that has been dampened with a small amount of mineral spirits. Avoid using water on cast iron to prevent rust spots.
Restore the original color of the cast iron with a blackening paste applied with a soft-bristle brush or a soft rag. Blackening paste is available at home and garden stores and online. It is often advertised for cast-iron stoves but can be used for fireplaces as well.
Maintain the restored fireplace by gently vacuuming it every week.
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