If this is your first year owning a fireplace, you will soon discover one of the biggest downsides to dealing with a fireplace is managing all the soot it generates. The soot from your fireplace can be a real hazard to your carpet. Here are a few tips that will help you learn how to deal with soot and your new fireplace.
Put Different Flooring Right Around Your Fireplace
First, you should not have carpet directly around your fireplace; the soot from your fireplace can get rubbed into the carpet, and if any coals or wood fall from your fireplace, they can burn your carpet. You should have material that is easy to clean and will not burn easily, such as brick or vinyl flooring. If you have currently have carpet around your fireplace, you may want to consider putting down an easier-to-clean material.
Clean Up After You Put Wood In Your Fireplace
Second, every time you add wood to your fireplace, you should sweep up any bark, dirt and soot that falls around your fireplace. You may want to set up a little box near your fireplace where you can easily throw away the debris you sweep up so you don't have to risk carrying the dustpan across your house to the nearest trash can. At least once a day, you should also vacuum around your fireplace to ensure the debris from your fireplace doesn't get ground into your carpet.
Be Careful When Removing Soot From Your Fireplace
Third, be careful when you remove the soot from your fireplace. After you burn enough logs, you will need to remove the soot that has built up inside of your fireplace. The best time to remove soot from your fireplace is when there are no ashes still burning.
Place a paper or plastic bag right next to your fireplace, and use a scoop to move the soot from your fireplace to the bag.Try your best to minimize the distance between your trash bag and your fireplace as you remove the soot.
Set up your vacuum so that it is nearby and you can easily grab it and turn it on without having to walk over your carpet again. Vacuum up any soot that got onto the bricks or vinyl near your fireplace. If any soot got on yourself, vacuum that off as well. You may want to keep a wet washcloth or disposable wipe on hand so you can remove any soot that gets on you during this process.
Make sure the bag is well sealed before you throw it away.
Clean Up Soot On Your Carpet Immediately
Even if you take all the precautions above, there is still a chance that some soot could make its way onto your carpet this winter. If soot gets on your carpet, try to clean it up as quickly as possible.
Take either corn starch or baking soda and sprinkle it over the area on your carpet where the soot is. Both of these products will help absorb the soot; let the product sit on the soot stain for an hour or so, then vacuum away the powder.
Next, moisten a cloth with a little dry-cleaning fluid. Take the cloth and blot the stained area. Continue to blot until the stain is lifted. If the cloth becomes dirty, exchange the dirty cloth for a clean one.
If you don't have any dry-cleaning fluid, you can also use a mixture of water and dish soap to blot away the soot. If neither of the above solutions completely remove the soot, you can use a carpet steamer on the soot stain. The heat and steam from the carpet cleaner will help pull the soot from your carpet and remove the stain.
By taking the precautions listed above, you should be able to greatly reduce the risk of soot from your new fireplace staining your carpet this winter (and thus avoid potentially necessary carpet cleaning.) If soot does get on your carpet, as long as you clean it up right away, you should be able to minimize any potential damage to your carpet.