What is best way to clean out ashes from the fireplace?

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Need to clean out my fireplace again...what is the best way? 1) sweep/dustpan ashes out? 2) wet/dry vacuum cleaner (maybe I should remove the filter?)

Any other suggestions welcome....It is quit a mess to get the ashes out.

-- mmmm (mmmm@mmmm.com), November 22, 1999


uh... unless you have a HEPA filter on your vac, you do NOT want to vacuum ashes, you will spray fine ash everyhere (guess how I know!). A nice metal dustpan works fine. Please note that if you have any paritially burnt wood it will have a much stronger smell than ashes.

P.S. If you have enough hose I guess you could run the exhuast from the shop vac out a window, if you vac has a hosable exhaust port.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), November 22, 1999.

1) sweep/dustpan ashes out? 2) wet/dry vacuum cleaner (maybe I should remove the filter?)

.......neither is very safe due to possible burning embers....get a METAL 5 gallon bucket and a small ash shovel (at wally's or local builders supply places)..be sure to keep ashes in this bucket until you are POSITIVE they are completely cold....friend just burnt 1/2 his house down by keeping hot ashes on his back porch...wind blew them out of the metal bucket...sooo...get a bucket with a lid...and store in a safe place...

try looking here for woodfire safety....


-- ....as if.. (clover@idontthinkso.com), November 22, 1999.

Yep ... get a tin pail or coal scuttle to keep HOT ashes in until they cool. You might find one affordable at an antique shop. And consider saving your ashes: we sprinkle them on the garden for the potassium and whatever other minerals might be contained; and of course they are said to be useful for making certain kinds of ..... SOAP??? That's what I hear anyway. Beats baking wood bread, right Eve?

Squirrel Hunter >"<

-- SH (squirrl@huntr.com), November 22, 1999.

Also be aware that putting hot ashes on the ground outside could constitute a fire hazard....one you could be cited for. Leave the ashes in the bucket for a while, maybe even until you need to clean out again. Ashes are also good for making soap, and useful in pottery glazing.

-- Mary (CAgdma.@home.com), November 22, 1999.

I use a small shovel to clean ashes from the wood stove, and I use a shop vac with filters designed for fine ashes and soot to vacuum it out at the end of the season, after it has been cold (usually for weeeks) and I have already removed most of the ashes with the shovel. During the heating season, I store ashes in 5 gallon paint cans that I got from a commercial painter that was painting remodelled offices. They were metal buckets with tight lids. I don't know if all the paint companies have gone to plastic by now or not. Another thng to use would be the galvanized steel garbage can- get the smallest size possible as a can of ashes can be heavy. We spread the ashes on the garden in the spring.

-- Jim (jiminwis@yahoo.com), November 22, 1999.

My DH took a heavy duty dust pan and bent the sides up to form a scoop like shovel. He puts the ashes in a 5 gal metal bucket to cool. Then he used the ashes to fill in any low spots in the yard. A Foxtail brush is a must for fireplace clean ups. I keep one handy with a dust pan by the fire.

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), November 22, 1999.

Ken's advice above about using a shop vac but putting the "blowing hose" out the window may be only partially correct.

Most shopvacs use a portion of the air that has gone through the filter to "cool" the motor, the air being split between the "blowing" air discharge and the motor ventilation/cooling.

If yours is of this ilk and used as Ken recommends, "dirty air" will get into the room from the ventilation grille on the motor.

Only the most recent generation of Sears Shopvacs and possibly others have a "dedicated" air flow for only the motor (i.e. motor has it's own fan and airpath) and the vacuum "transport air" through the vac and filter is inflow=outflow.

Hope this helps prevent a mess...

-- Joe (KEITH@noosnet.com), November 23, 1999.

If you want to spend money to make this task easier, I just ran into something in the current SilvoHome Hardware catalog that you might be interested in - called a Fireplace Ashtray.


Fireplace Ashtray contains all of your wood ashes for a less-mess clean up. Set your wood grate inside the Fireplace Ashtray to neatly contain all of your wood ashes for easier clean-up later. Three different sizes all have a 4"H front, 6"H sides, and 8"H back which helps to contain hot popping embers. The tray tapers so that it is wider at the front than at the back. After the ashes have cooled, empty them with Ash Vac (another product on the same page, for $189.99) or remove the grate and carry the Ashtray outside for dumping. Constructed of 20-gauge steel and painted with a fire-resistant black paint.

1035201 Small Ashtray, 21" front, 15-1/2" back, 14" deep $74.99 1035202 Medium Ashtray, 30" front, 19" back, 18" deep 79.99 1035203 Large Ashtray, 30" front, 25" back, 19" deep 84.99

Telephone SilvoHome toll-free at 1-888-331-4050.


I never heard of Silvo until about two weeks ago - so I have nothing to gain from anything they sell. I probably wouldn't have even thought about this product if I hadn't already seen your question here, since I don't have a fireplace, just a woodstove.

-- peg (peg@futureandahope.com), November 24, 1999.


I gave you the wrong number for SilvoHome - that number I gave is the fax number.

Here's the TELEPHONE number:


Sorry . . . .

-- peg (peg@futureandahope.com), November 24, 1999.

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