Clean After Every Use (or at Least Try)

“I always say you should treat it the way you’d treat your indoor fireplace,” says Richardson. And that means cleaning it after each use, or at least after every few fires.

While there aren’t the same air quality issues as there are with indoor fireplaces, it’s still a good habit to clean out the ash, soot and debris left behind after a fire. You’ll avoid stains that might develop outside the firebox, and also keep ash from blowing around your patio surfaces.

To clean a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the fire is completely extinguished and the wood completely cooled. Thengather any remaining wood and brush out the ash using a fireplace brush and shovel. You can also clean up completely cooled finer debris with a shop vacuum.

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