Your fireplace is the focal point of your living room or kitchen; it is attractive to look at and serves as a heat source for your home, whether it is an open fire, a gas fire or log burner.

The bricks of fireplaces become dirty when ash, soot and chat builds up around the fire and you can see black or grey build up there. This means it is time to clean your fireplace bricks to avoid the build up becoming worse. Sparks of fire can potentially be dangerous on ash build up around the hearth.

Whichever type of fireplace you have, clean it whenever you see ash building up on the brickwork.

Traditional fireplaces may only need brushing down with a stiff wire brush to remove any ash that has collected on the bricks. Dirt can be brushed down into the grate and then removed, using gloves.

There are various fireplace cleaning solutions that you can buy, depending on the state of your brickwork, which contain bleach, dish soap and oxygen bleach to help remove the stains, or you can mix up your own solution with these ingredients inside a bucket; such as a gallon of bleach, 2 tablespoons of dish soap and about a quarter of a cup of oxygen bleach.

Using a large scrubbing brush, dip it into the solution and scrub the bricks in the fireplace. Keep dipping the brush into the solution as needed. When you are satisfied that the bricks have been cleaned thoroughly enough, empty the bucket of solution and fill it with plain hot water. Use a cleaning rag to dip into the plain water and wipe it over the fireplace bricks.

There are wood burner accessories available to buy which can help with the cleaning of your burner itself, including cleaning solution for the burner door and thermal paint to treat scuffs and scratches.

Gas fires and surrounds also need maintenance. You can polish trims and frets of your fire with a metal polish, remove pebbles or coals and dust them down or vacuum the dust collecting in the fire bed. Your gas fire components should be replaced exactly as they were, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Your clean, well maintained fireplace will look more attractive and will be safer and easier to use. Log baskets and other accessories will really accentuate this feature.