How to Remove Crystallized Creosote

What You'll Need
Chemical Creosote Cleaner Powder
Eucalyptus Oil
Logs/Coal for a Fire
Old Towel or Dustsheet
Spray bottle
Hot water
Wire Brush
Eucalyptus Oil
Face mask
Safety Glasses

Creosote buildup in open fireplaces is not only unsightly as it coats the area in a black thick covering, but these deposits can also be a fire hazard. For this reason, it is important that householders know how to remove crystallized creosote. Householders should be aware that the job may take a couple of days to complete and can be a bit messy so it may be best to plan this task for when guests are unlikely to come calling.

Step 1 – Apply and Activate Powder Creosote Cleaner 

To remove crystallized creosote from your fireplace you will first need to loosen the deposits using a chemical compound. The creosote cleaning powder should be applied to the areas of build up in the fireplace according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually to activate chemical cleaners a fire will need to be lit and allowed to burn in the fireplace. As a base guideline the fire will need to reach a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit but you should be guided by the instructions supplied with the cleaner you purchase. 

Step 2 – Prepare the Area for Cleaning

When the fire is out and the fireplace cooled (this is best left until the following day) then it is time to remove the larger deposits of creosote from the fire place. Spread an old towel or dust sheet around the fireplace to catch any falling debris and protect flooring. Fill the spray bottle with hot water and liberally spritz the areas of build up, this will not only help to loosen deposits but will also reduce the amount of dust released by agitating the deposits.

Step 3 – Remove the Large Crystallized Creosote Deposits

After putting on a face mask and safety glasses, you can begin to use the wire brush to work on the larger deposits. Starting at the bottom of the fireplace and working upwards, remove the buildup by scrubbing, adding more water with the spray bottle if areas seem dry.

Step 4 – Treat the Underlying Layer of Creosote Deposits 

When the top layer has been removed, underlying deposits can be treated. Stubborn deposits may require a second application of chemical removal powder and a second fire, while lighter deposits can be treated by wiping with eucalyptus oil and leaving for a few hours. 

Step 5 -  Remove Underlying Deposits 

Once the underlying layer of creosote has been treated it can be removed in much the same way as the larger deposits, using the water spray and wire brush, it is also advisable to wear safety glasses and mask at this stage. When all visible build up has been removed, wipe the area with a damp cloth . You can also apply a thin coating of eucalyptus oil to reduce future build up and fill the home with a fresh smell when the fire is lit.