Andirons are the horizontal irons rails used to hold the burning logs in a fireplace. Over time soot and ash build up on the andirons requiring cleaning and maintenance. Cleaning the andirons on a regular basis will help maintain the look and integrity of your fireplace. Maintaining and cleaning the andirons is necessary for all fireplace owners. You should keep a regular schedule for cleaning that involves the removal of ash and soot from your fireplace to prevent any build up that makes it appear unkempt and unsightly.
Step 1 - Remove the Andirons and Clean the Fireplace
Remove the andirons from the fireplace and take them outside to clean them. Wipe them down with an old cloth to remove the soot and then use a wire brush to scrub the andirons. This will complete the cleaning of the andirons. Don't use water. Moisture will cause rusting and corrosion eventually necessitating their replacement. Water should only be used in the case of wetting a towel or cloth to spot scrub a problem area. Never spray water directly on the andiron’s surface.
Step 2 - Use Vegetable Oil to Polish
Use a piece of steel wool dipped in vegetable oil to remove grime and restore luster to the andiron grill. Work slowly over each grill prong, rubbing the steel wool in an up and down motion to apply the vegetable oil generously.
If the andirons are made from brass, use a brass polish instead of vegetable oil in order to polish the andiron. Use a flannel or chamois cloth when applying the brass polish.
Step 3 - Replace the Andiron
Sweep the ashes from the fireplace and check the flue to make sure that it is working properly before returning the andirons to the fireplace.
Place the andiron back in place once you complete the cleaning and polishing. This process should be accomplished several times in a year, once every quarter, or more frequently when the fireplace is in constant use. Keeping the andirons clean and free from the build-up of ash and soot will help your fireplace work better. It will also eliminate the potential for the dangerous build-up of creosote, which is a cause for fireplace and home fires.
You should also inspect the andirons to determine whether or not they need to be replaced. The andirons are made with sturdy and durable material so there should be no need to replace the units unless they have a factory or manufacturer’s defect.