Prepping Your Home for the Holidays

Tis the season to give your home a good cleaning, just in time for all those holiday guests who will be dropping in to partake in various festivities. Besides dusting, vacuuming and disinfecting bathrooms, bedrooms, the living area and the kitchen, pay special attention to the fireplace.

When was the last time you cleaned your fireplace’s brick work? The task can be easily overlooked during the warm summer months when most entertaining takes place outdoors, but during the winter when the family regularly gathers around the fireplace, it’s a good idea to get the hearth in tip-top shape.

For tough stains or a deep clean, consider using an ammonia solution on your fireplace’s brick work. The solution is much harsher than plain soap and water and should only be used when you are looking to get your fireplace exceptionally clean. Also, when working with ammonia it is important to do so in an area with good ventilation. Never use ammonia in a closed space. Rather, open windows or doors to encourage air flow in your work area.

To make the solution, mix soap and ammonia together with hot water. Use the ammonia sparingly at first, and increase as necessary. Once the solution is mixed thoroughly, apply it to the brick and let it dry a bit before rubbing it in with a moistened scrub brush. Rinse the area with clean water and dry with an old cotton cloth.

Another option is to use commercial oven cleaner. Believe it or not, the kitchen cleaner works wonders to remove soot and grime from bricks. To use, simply spray a generous amount of the oven cleaner onto the fireplace’s brick work and allow it to set for the recommended amount of time printed on the back of the can. Once time has elapsed, wipe off the cleaner with a towel and rinse with clean water.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.