Sure, a crackling wood-burning fire has its charm—but if you'd rather turn on your fireplace with the flip of a switch than start a fire with logs, a gas fireplace is a great option. More common in modern builds, gas fireplaces are a convenient and efficient way to add warmth and coziness to your living room. But like any other part of your home, keeping a gas fireplace in working order may require some maintenance.
Of course, smudges and dirt on the glass look unsightly. But accumulated dust, dirt, and other debris can lead to pesky smells in your fireplace, even impacting how it functions. For that reason, experts say it's important to routinely clean your gas fireplace.
Ahead, your step-by-step guide to cleaning gas fireplaces according to experts.
Meet the Expert
How Often Should You Clean a Gas Fireplace?
According to Alex Varela, general manager of Dallas Maids, it's a good idea to clean a gas fireplace about once a month, followed by a once-annual professional cleaning and inspection. If you use your fireplace frequently, such as in the winter months, you may need to clean it every week or every other week. It's also a good idea, Daniel Morris of Fire and Saw says, to thoroughly clean your fireplace before you start using it again in the winter months, as it may have collected excessive dust during the summer.
No matter when you clean, use your routine fireplace-cleaning as an opportunity to inspect the unit for any issues that require the assistance of an expert.
Things You'll Need:
- Fireplace glass cleaner
- A soft-bristled brush
- A microfiber cloth
- Soap and water
- A screwdriver
- A vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment
- Cheesecloth (optional)
- A can of compressed air (optional)
- Newspaper or tarp (optional)
Step 1: Turn Off the Gas
Always begin with a cool fireplace. Before you begin cleaning a gas fireplace, make sure you turn off the gas valve (usually located next to the fireplace). It's also important to make sure the pilot light is out before you get started.
Step 2: Disassemble the Fireplace
Once the fireplace is safe to clean, it's time to disassemble. Varela suggests using a screwdriver to remove the glass covering if you have one. If your fireplace has a mesh curtain or metal screen, remove those.
You'll also need to disassemble the logs, which should go back in the same place when you're finished. To help yourself remember how the logs were originally assembled, Varela recommends using your phone to take a picture. The logs may be covered in soot, which could damage your carpet or rug, so lay a newspaper or tarp down beforehand if necessary.
Step 3: Clean the Glass, Mesh, or Metal
Next, use a dedicated fireplace glass cleaner (which you can usually find at a hardware store) to clean the fireplace glass, following the instructions on the product. "Remember to apply it on a microfiber cloth and not directly on the glass," Varela says. Typically, fireplace glass cleaners need to sit for several minutes; you can get started cleaning the other components while you wait.
If you have a metal screen or mesh curtain, use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove dust and dirt on both sides.
Step 4: Clean the Inside of the Fireplace
While your fireplace glass cleaner does its work, grab your vacuum and use the hose attachment to remove dust and cobwebs from the lava rocks or glass stones in your fireplace. You can attach a piece of cheesecloth to the end of the nozzle with the rubber band if your rocks are tiny enough to be sucked into the vacuum. Then, vacuum the inside of the fireplace box.
For the pilot light and gas line, use a soft-bristled brush or an old microfiber cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Make sure no soap remains on these components when you're finished. Varela says you can also use the can of compressed air to dust off these parts.
Step 5: Clean the Logs
Next, use your vacuum and hose attachment to suck away dust or dirt from the fireplace logs. Because the logs utilize electricity, never use cleaning products or moisture. Instead, use a dry cloth or soft brush to clean hard-to-remove debris.
One way to keep soot from your fireplace is to routinely burn potato peels (just make sure they're totally dry, as damp ones won't work). "These will help push the soot and creosote out of the fireplace," says Varela.
Step 6: Finish the Glass
If you sprayed your glass with cleaner, now is the time to wipe it off. Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove the cleaner from the glass surface, starting on the outside, which is probably less dirty than the inner part.
Step 7: Reassemble the Fireplace
Once all parts are clean and dry, reassemble the fireplace, referring to your photo to reassemble the logs. Use extra caution, as Varela says the logs are often fragile.
Step 8: Clean Your Mantle and Hearth
After the inside of your fireplace is totally clean, don't forget to seal the deal by cleaning off the mantle and hearth. A feather duster or soft cloth should do the trick, depending on the material. Now, enjoy your clean gas fireplace.
How to Keep a Gas Fireplace Cleaner, Longer
Monthly maintenance is the best way to ensure your gas fireplace is both clean and functional for the long haul. If you use your fireplace routinely, then Varela says it may be a good idea to vacuum it every week or so.