How To Clean A Fireplace Insert Thoroughly Like a Pro 2019

What is a Fireplace Insert?

Fireplace Insert

A fireplace is a luxury but if you regularly use it then you have to clean the fireplace insert doors and screens. As a fireplace burns wood the fumes, soot and other particles will find their way up the chimney but also on the insert doors and screen. These deposits can become dangerous over time as these materials form a hardened coating known as creosote which is flammable.

There’s nothing like a blazing fireplace to create a sense of warmth and comfort. However, there’s a major downside to the traditional wood-burning fireplace, whether it’s a factory-built fireplace or a masonry fireplace: heat loss.

An insert is basically a fireproof box that’s surrounded by steel or cast iron and fronted by insulated glass, creating a closed combustion system. The steel or cast iron helps to trap the heat. Most fireplace inserts are designed to increase a fireplace’s efficiency. Inserts can be powered by electricity, gas, propane, wood, pellets or coal.

Electric, gas and propane inserts also offer owners a big timesaving advantage. With an electric or gas insert, all you have to do to start the flames is push a button, which, depending upon the model you buy, might even be on a remote.

10 Steps to Clean a Fireplace Insert

How To Clean A Fireplace Insert

Cleaning a fireplace insert gets easier the more often you do it. It’s important to clean your fireplace at least once during the winter or more often if you light fires on a daily basis.

Follow these simple steps to thoroughly clean your fireplace insert:

  1. Start by spreading out a plastic tarp or several layers of newspaper in the area that fronts the fireplace in order to keep your floor clean.
  2. Remove all wood, grates, and tools from in and around the fireplace.
  3. Use a small shovel to scoop out any ash or debris. If you maintain your fireplace regularly and you don’t have a lot of large piles of dirt and dust, then simply vacuum the area in and around the fireplace using a hose attachment. Your goal is to remove as much of the loose grit as possible.
  4. Use a heavy-duty wire brush to scrub the inside of the fireplace. Pay special attention to removing baked-on creosote from the walls.
  5. Use a small wire brush, a baby bottle brush or a firm toothbrush to remove dirt and debris from the door of the insert and the hinges.
  6. Suck-up the loosened creosote and dirt with the vacuum.
  7. Mix together a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap, a half-cup of baking soda and one gallon of warm water in a large bucket.
  8. Use the solution and a rag to clean the fireplace insert. Scrub the entire insert, inside and out, paying close attention to grates and vents. You may need to repeat the process with several fresh rags to remove all of the gunk.
  9. Have another bucket with clean water on the side. Use the water to rinse the insert after you’ve scrubbed it with the soap and baking soda solution. Thoroughly dry the insert with a clean cloth.
  10. Liberally spray a commercial window cleaner or white vinegar on the glass features of the fireplace insert. Wipe away any built-up grime that may have collected on the doors. If the debris is caked-on, then use a brush to work the cleaner into the glass before wiping it clean.

Finally, replace the grate, logs, and tools, and dispose of the plastic tarp or newspapers.

Additional Cleaning Tips to Clean a Fireplace Insert

  • If you have brass accents on your fireplace insert that needs cleaning, mix together equal parts of salt and lemon juice in a bowl to create a thin paste. Next, dip a toothbrush into the mixture and rub it gently onto the dirty brass. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth. Then, buff the brass with a dry rag to restore the shine.
  • Finally, safety comes first when cleaning fireplace inserts. Remember to keep your workspace well ventilated when removing dirt, dust and debris. Also, if you are asthmatic you may want to wear a mask while cleaning, or simply outsource the job. The desire to have a shiny fireplace insert should never compromise your health and well being

How to Properly Clean the Insert Doors and Screens of A Fireplace.

Cleaning the Fireplace Glass


  • Your best bet for cleaning your glass are things you have right near your fireplace: water, ash, and newspaper. Before you begin cleaning your fireplace glass, make sure that your fireplace insert or stove has no smouldering ash.
  • Make sure that the glass is cool to the touch before you begin cleaning, then remove the screen from the fireplace area if you cannot reach the glass.
  • Use the specialized formulated fireplace glass cleaner on a rag to clean the glass. With the cleaner on a soft rag apply it to the glass in a circular movement. Make sure the cleaner is all over the glass.
  • Wait for the cleaner to dry then wipe it off with a paper towel. Repeat this cleaning process if there is any soot still remaining.
  • Mix 1 part water with 1 part white vinegar and place in a spray bottle. Spray the glass with the mixture and wipe off with a paper towel. This mixture will take off the residue left behind by cleaner or soot.


  • Fold or crumple your newspaper, dip it in the water and then in the ash. You just need to dampen the newspaper a bit and you just need a little ash to stick to the wet newspaper.
  • Take your dampened newspaper with ash and begin gently rubbing the item on the inside of your fireplace glass. I prefer a circular motion as I find it loosens the soot quicker. You will notice as you clean, your newspaper will turn black and become dirty. Discard that piece of newspaper and get some more, dip it in the water then ash, and repeat as needed. In short order, you will have removed the majority of the ‘baked on’ soot, and you’ll have just a bit left on your glass.
  • Spray some of the water on the glass and wipe off with a paper towel. Repeat until the paper towels have no black residue, then dry with a clean paper towel.

Step 2 – Cleaning the Fireplace Screen

  • The screen is a dirtier job than the glass so a sheet is a good idea so you do not damage carpets or floors.
  • Use a spray bottle that is 2/3 full of warm water. Add to the bottle 3 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt. Screw the lid on the bottle and shake it vigorously until the salt is dissolved.
  • Spray the screen with the solution and allow it set and work for 10 minutes.
  • Scrub the screen using the soft-bristled brush then wipe off the screen using a damp rag. If there is brass on the screen then wipe that section again with a second damp rag to remove residue.
  • Use a towel to dry the screen.

Step 3 – Creosote Removal

  • Gloves and a dust mask are important when removing creosote due to its toxic nature. Remove wood and any large chunks of debris from the insert and put them in a trash bag.
  • Sweep away the soot and dispose of it then vacuum the fireplace with the round hose attachment. Pay special attention to the corners.
  • Mix together a cup of bleach and a gallon of water.
  • Scrub away the creosote with a stiff bristled brush and bleach mixture.
    Remove the bleach with a damp rag.

A Gas Fireplace Insert

A gas log fireplace insert is one that is inserted into an existing fireplace. This type of fireplace uses gas that when ignited provides heat in the fireplace. This eliminated the need for wood or wood pellets as fuel for the fireplace. It also provides a cleaner burning fireplace that is easier to maintain and have in your home.

How to Maintain a Gas Fireplace Inserts

  1. Clean the gas pilots and burners
  2. Check to make sure that the gas pilot safety system is working properly
    Make sure that the ignition and combustion are working as designed
  3. Check regularly the chimney draw and combustion vents for the gas log fireplace insert.
  4. Inspect the door gaskets to ensure that they are working properly
  5. Paint the fireplace firebox if needed
  6. Clean the glass to the fireplace doors
  7. Clean the exterior part of the fireplace
  8. If there is a fan, check to make sure that it is operating properly
  9. Each of these maintenance steps will help keep your gas log fireplace insert operating as designed for a long time.

How to Clean a Gas Fireplace Insert

There are a few things that you will want to stay away from. This includes any cleaner that contains ammonia. This can be very harmful, so using a specific fireplace cleaning cream is the smartest move, but using an all-purpose cleaner with no harmful chemicals could work as well. Similarly, using nothing that could scratch the glass to wipe off cleaning liquids is always a good idea. Lastly, one thing to be wary of is using paper products to clean off the cleaning materials. People don’t think of this, but it should be avoided.

To clean your gas fireplace insert, do the following;

  • To start off, check your fireplace’s manual for instructions on how to clean it.
  • Turn off the fireplace
  • Open the Glass
  • Use a fireplace glass cleaner to wipe the cleaner the glass
  • Let the glass sit until it is completely dry
  • Buff out any imperfections lightly
  • Repeat for the other side of the glass

How to Clean an Electric Fireplace Insert

Electric fireplaces are gaining popularity; they cut down on dirt and debris. There is no need for a vent, a chimney or burning logs. Cleanup is virtually non-existent. An AmbionAir Flame electric fireplace needs only a light cleaning when it appears dusty, giving you the benefit of having a realistic fireplace without all the work involved

To remove any accumulation of dust or fluff on the fireplace logs, the soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner should occasionally be used to clean the outlet grill of the fireplace.

To access the electric fireplace logs follow these easy steps:

  1. Remove the 4 screws on the front panel.
  2. Carefully remove the front glass panel.
  3. Unscrew the rosebud log screw.
  4. Wipe and clean the log set with a damp cloth or a soft clean duster.
  5. Replace the rosebud screw, glass panel and screws and enjoy!

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