First time managing a fire? Not sure what to do to get rid of ashes etc in the fire bowl left after a fire?
Chimineas shouldn’t need much cleaning except for ash removal. Some may advise essential cleaning after every use and yes this is probably the best advice. However, you most likely will be completely fine if you don’t clean it out after every single fire. Also, chimineas are designed so that the gentle collection of soot in their chimneys actually helps to improve the structural integrity making it less likely to crack.
Instead, note when the fire bowl is getting a bit crowded with ash and it will likely affect starting your new fire. Then it’s definitely time to clean out your chiminea!]
Common Sense Cleaning
Tools needed for cleaning:
- Dustpan and brush (unlikely that you’ll have other ‘fire tools’ but if you do, they are perfect for cleaning out your fire bowl. Otherwise, an old dustpan and brush will do fine.
- Something to put the ash in.
- Mask – it’s a good idea to throw a facemask on (as we all have them lying around the house now) and it may help with breathing in dust if you are sensitive to that).
Cleaning a Clay Chiminea With Sand
The fire will have happily burned down on the top of the sand surface. Using your dustpan, simply scoop up the ash waste from the fire and a little sand making sure you get it all.
Alternatively, you can use a sieve to scoop the sand through to separate it from the ash and other debris from the fire. This will allow you to use it again but also give it a good ‘clean’.
SAFETY NOTICE – ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOUR FIRE IS DEAD AND CHIMINEA IS PERFECTLY COOL BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO CLEAN IT.
how to Clean a Metal Chiminea
First, remove any large fire debris left over with tongs or gloved hands or indeed just bare hands if you’re not bothered about getting dirty.
Often metal chimineas whether they are steel or cast iron will have a grate in the bottom to raise the fire up and help with the airflow. Remove this and brush it down with a dry brush to remove any ash.
Next using a dustpan, scoop out the ash and fire debris from the bottom of your fire bowl. Good idea to use gloves and a mask and even some eye protection if you have it to cover all bases.
What Should I Do With The Ash From My Chiminea?
If you are looking for the correct way to dispose of your ash, unless you have a way of collecting for compost or food waste disposal then it would go in general waste. Fire leftover from ash can be put to good use in making compost as it contains a large amount of potassium….apparently.
Check out this article over at Firewood Centre for some cool ways to recycle your fireplace ash. You can do all sorts from gritting your driveway to dehumidify your home with it!
Should I Clean The Inside of My Chiminea?
No with the only exception being if the chimney is actually obscured. If your chiminea has a non-obstructive coating of soot on the inside, it’s perfectly fine to leave it there.
In fact, I’d encourage you to do so. In particular with traditional clay chimineas, it’s best to leave the inside alone.
You would only need to clean out the inside of a chiminea if the chimney function was obstructed by soot buildup or if there was considerable soot buildup that may cause a fire hazard. Then it’s a good time to get a rough brush around the inside and shake loose the soot and dispose of it.
In general, inside cleaning of a chiminea is only needed at extremely high levels of use.
Probably the main consequence of not cleaning out your chiminea is an overly smoky fire. If you light fire upon fire without cleaning out the fire bowl, you will get more smoke. Having a clean chiminea makes sure the chiminea works as it should and keep your fires burning bright.