How to clean chimneys?


To ensure the proper functioning of your stove or fireplace, it is crucial to perform regular chimney cleaning. Burning wood generates soot, a black substance that adheres to the chimney, narrowing the opening. The accumulation of this dense soot layer hampers effective heating of the chimney walls, impeding airflow. Consequently, smoke and carbon monoxide may infiltrate your room, posing risks of fire and health issues.

If you haven’t used your stove or fireplace much, then there is also a need to clean your chimney because of the possible presence of things like debris, feathers and spider webs inside it. You should clean it every six months in order to avoid dirty chimney pipes. Check this step-by-step guide to clean chimneys easily. 

Importance of cleaning chimneys

Ensuring efficient functionality

A clean chimney operates most efficiently when its components, such as meshes, filters, and baffles, are free from deposits and can effectively capture and expel unwanted elements.

Preventing health hazards

Accumulated grime in the chimney can create an environment that fosters the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. It is essential to clean the chimney regularly to prevent health hazards, such as respiratory issues and foul odours that can arise over time.

Maintaining air quality

Regular cleaning helps improve air quality in your kitchen by preventing contaminants from circulating.

Extending lifespan

Regular cleaning extends the lifespan of your kitchen chimney, ensuring longevity and saving you money.

Steps to clean chimneys


Step 1: Get the right tools

Firstly, measure the width of your flue liner to buy the correct brush size. The brush should be 1/4  to 1/2 larger than your chimney’s size. If it is smaller than that, it will not serve the purpose. If much larger, it will get stuck inside. Also, make sure that your brush type suits the type of your chimney. Now, you will have to attach a few rods to clean the whole chimney. Check its height and compatibility with rods and brush connectors. 

Step 2: Prepare 

To keep your floor safe from debris and ashes, lay a big plastic piece on it. Remove the metal bars and grate from the fireplace. Also, remove anything else that hinders access to the firebox.  Now, open your window so that the air pressure outside the room and inside can balance. This prevents you from making a big mess when you open the damper.  

Step 3: Inspect

Open the damper and wait for a few minutes. Use a bright light to get a look at the smoke chamber right above the firebox. Use a metal rod or a stick to check if there is a buildup on the firebox surface. If the buildup is shiny or more than 1/8, you must clean it before the next use. 

Step 4: Protect

If you are following this process from your roof, then make sure you cover the fireplace opening. This protects the chimney from debris and soot. However, if you are cleaning it from inside of your home, then you don’t have to cover it. Just protect your furnishings from the falling dust. 

Step 5: Scrub

You might need to remove the chimney cap if you are on the roof. Attach a long stick to your brush and insert it inside the chimney. Scrub the chimney tube carefully, leaving no dirt and then take it out. Now, you can put back the chimney cap. In case you are doing it from inside your house, push your brush up into the chimney and scrub it all. Now, you can take your brush out.

Step 6: Remove the cover

Give some time for the dust to settle, and then remove the cover to clean the remaining areas. You can do it with a wire brush or even a small brush. Make sure you clean the shelf thoroughly. Cover back the fireplace and then again wait for everything to settle down. 

Step 7: Clean up

Gently remove the cover again and use a vacuum or brush to clean the smoke shelf. Don’t forget to dispose of the debris properly. 

How often should you clean the kitchen chimney?

The frequency of kitchen cleaning depends on factors like workload and food types. Follow these guidelines to establish an effective routine:

Meshes and filters

Clean meshes and filters at least once every two months to maintain optimal conditions for capturing airborne substances.

Heavy usage of oily and spicy foods

A monthly cleaning schedule for meshes and filters is advisable for kitchens with frequent use of oily and spicy foods. This prevents the buildup of stubborn grease and ensures the chimney’s efficiency.

Charcoal-filtered chimneys

If your kitchen has a charcoal-filtered hood, replace the filter every six months to maintain its odour and impurity-absorbing capacity.

Also Read: How to clean marble surfaces?

Frequently Asked Questions

Ans 1. Sodium hydroxide serves the purpose the best, but it is quite dangerous. Therefore, you should use it carefully.

Ans 2. You should clean it at least twice a year.

Ans 3. Baking soda is useful in removing rigid stains. You can mix it with a little water before use.

Ans 4. Regular cleaning is crucial to ensure the efficient functioning of your kitchen chimney. It helps prevent the buildup of grime, bacteria, and fungus, providing a healthy cooking environment and extending the appliance's lifespan.

Ans 5. Signs include reduced suction power, increased noise levels, and visible grease or grime buildup. If you notice these, it's time to clean your chimney to ensure it operates effectively.

Ans 6. For charcoal-filtered chimneys, replace the filter every six months to maintain its effectiveness in absorbing odours and impurities. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the specific model.

Ans 7. Ensure the chimney is turned off and cool before cleaning. Use protective gear, such as gloves and goggles. If using a cleaning solution, follow safety guidelines and ventilate the area.