How to Restore Cast-Iron Fireplaces

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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
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Trash bag
  • Wire brush
  • Mineral spirits
  • Blackening paste
  • Cloth
  • Soft brush
  • Vacuum cleaner

Process

  • 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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