How to Clean a Cast Iron Fireplace Grate

Updated February 21, 2017

While owning a wood burning fireplace has many benefits, such as keeping your house warm in the winter, cleaning its grate is a necessary and sometimes frustrating reality. Luckily, it's not necessary to clean the grate very often, only about once a year. Wait until the spring or summer when you can take the grate outside and do the dirty work. Make sure you wear old clothes and gloves when cleaning your cast iron fireplace grate.

Place an old towel or piece of plastic down in front of the fireplace to collect any ash or soot that escapes when you remove the grate.

Remove the grate from the fireplace. Use both hands to prevent spilling ash.

Put the grate on the towel or plastic and wrap it up. Transport the grate outside to the place you will clean it.

Scrape clean all soot and detritus from both sides of the grate with a wire brush.

Wipe down the grate with a rag dipped in warm water. Change the water in the bucket if it becomes too dirty from the soot.

Wipe down grate with a clean cloth and allow it to dry before replacing it.


You can clean the grate inside your house as well, but be prepared to deal with the mess.


Do not touch or attempt to clean the grate if it is still hot.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Warm water
  • Old towel or plastic sheet
  • Old cloths
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About the Author

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.