How To Care For Your Mantel

Maintaining a clean, clutter-free fireplace mantel marks your home as a welcoming, tidy place where family and guests will want to spend quality time. These simple tips will help you clean and preserve your mantel for years to come.

Keep It Clutter Free

When you walk into a house, one of the least appealing sights is a fireplace mantel that has turned in to a storage shelf. Besides looking tacky, too much weight can actually damage the mantel. If beverages are left on the mantel, they can sweat and damage the wood. The rule of thumb is that a mantel can be used to showcase your valued possessions, but just not all of them. Consider keeping it very simple, with just a few well-balanced, eye-catching pieces.

Regular Cleaning

No matter how well you care for it, your fireplace will spread smoke and soot throughout your room. While you should always dust the mantel when you dust the rest of the room, the more you use the fireplace, the more you should clean the mantel. Be sure to remove the items from the mantel and dust under as well. On top of dusting you will need to deep clean it every so often. The process you use to clean your mantel will differ based on the material it’s made of.

Wood Mantels

A wood mantel should be cleaned with an oil-based cleaning product, like Murphy's Oil, every so often. This will help keep the wood looking new and beautiful. Avoid using water-based cleansers as water is easily absorbed into the wood and cause damage. Harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners should also be avoided to help cut back on accidental scratching and other damage. You can use a cotton swap to get in between any of the decorative elements such as dental molding in the mantel face itself.

Stone Mantels

The method of cleaning a stone mantel will vary depending on the stone that is used. In general, most mantels made of stone are sealed to help resist taking on water and soot that can cause staining. If your mantel is sealed, you can clean it with a mild soap and warm water. You should not use regular household cleaners on stone, even if they are sealed. These can damage the natural finish of a stone mantel and make matters much worse.

If your stone is unsealed, you will need to follow instructions provided by the mantel manufacturer for cleaning. Different stone types react differently to different cleaning products. There is no one single way to clean all stone mantels that are not sealed.

Pest Control

We all know the damage that termites can cause, and your mantel is no exception. Most wood mantels are hollow on the backside and this creates a perfect haven for pests and critters. If you already use a regular extermination service, make sure the fireplace and mantel are included in the service. If not, it’s a good idea to set up a service a few times a year to keep pests and rodents at bay.