The best way to clean a mesh fireplace curtain is to remove the curtain entirely and take it outside. Lay it down on a drop cloth and rinse it thoroughly with water. Then, apply dish soap or another gentle cleaner. Scrub the curtain with a soft-bristled brush to remove soot. After scrubbing, wash away the soot and soap with water from a hose. Allow your fireplace curtain to fully dry before reinstalling it.
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Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Your Mesh Fireplace Curtain
When cleaning a mesh fireplace curtain, it’s best to avoid using abrasive cleaners that can damage the curtain itself. Products that contain bleach or ammonia, as well as harsh or gritty “scrubbing” cleansers, can remove the finish and protective coating from your fireplace screen. You should avoid these. Gentle products are all that’s required.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners that may scratch or remove paint from your fireplace curtain.
- Avoid cleaners with bleach and ammonia—these can damage your metal fireplace curtain.
- Don’t use a flammable cleaning product or oil—they can catch fire when the fireplace curtain is in use.
Although it may be tempting to use an oil product in an attempt to prevent rust from forming on your fireplace curtain, do not do so. Oil products may be flammable, or they may release toxic fumes when exposed to heat. To prevent a hazardous fire, clean the curtain with mild soap and water, rinse thoroughly, and allow it to air dry.
7 Steps for Cleaning a Mesh Fireplace Curtain
To prevent soot buildup and rust from forming on your fireplace curtain, clean it regularly. A once-yearly cleaning is a great addition to your spring cleaning list. It will keep your fireplace curtain looking pristine. Here’s the best way to do it:
Remove the Curtain
Before you can clean it, it’s best to remove the fireplace curtain from its track in front of your fireplace. Search the track for a metal tab. When depressed, this tab should release the screen entirely.
- Lay a drop cloth down beneath the fireplace curtain to catch soot and debris.
- Find the metal tab that releases the fireplace curtain from its track.
- Press the tab to release the curtain, allowing for easy removal.
It’s a good idea to spread a drop cloth on your fireplace before you remove the curtain. Removing mesh screens and curtains can drop a lot of soot. You’ll save time on cleanup by laying out a drop cloth beforehand.
Rinse the Screen
Cleaning a fireplace curtain can be a messy business, so it’s best done outside on a driveway, patio, or porch. Lay the curtain down on a drop cloth in an outdoor location. Then, spray the curtain with a hose. This will remove loose dust and soot.
- Take the curtain outside and lay it on a drop cloth.
- Spray the curtain thoroughly with a hose to remove loose dirt and soot.
- If working outside isn’t an option, wipe the curtain down with a damp cloth in an indoor workspace.
If you cannot clean the curtain outside, lay it on a thick drop cloth in a garage or other workshop. Then, wipe the curtain down on both sides with a damp towel or other soft cloth. At this stage, all you need for cleaning is plain, warm water.
Apply Dish Soap
Use a simple squirt of dish soap or non-abrasive cleaner to clean your mesh fireplace curtain. If you are working outdoors, apply a dish soap directly to the curtain or spray it with cleaner. If your workspace is indoors, you can spray the curtain with a solution of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of dish soap.
- Apply dish soap or a simple cleaner directly to the curtain.
- Alternatively, spray a mixture of dish soap and warm water on the curtain.
- Do not use any cleaner that contains bleach or abrasive scrubbing additives.
Do not use a bleach-based cleaner, one with “scrubbing action,” or any cleaners that are gritty or abrasive to the touch. These can break down the protective coating applied to the mesh curtain during manufacture. Stripping away this coating actually increases the chance that rust will form on the curtain.
Scrub with a Metal-Safe Brush
Scrub the curtain with a soft-bristled brush that will work into the mesh but won’t scratch the metal or strip away the curtain’s protective finish. Scrub in a circular pattern, causing the soap to foam as you work. You should see the soapy water turn gray as you remove soot and grime. Make sure to turn the curtain over so you thoroughly clean both sides.
- This soft-bristled brush designed for car detailing is great for scrubbing fireplace curtains.
- Scrub in a circular pattern to remove dirt and grime buildup.
- Flip over the curtain to scrub both sides.
- Avoid stiff-bristled or wire brushes.
You should not use stiff-bristled brushes and wire scrub brushes for regular cleaning of your fireplace curtain. These heavy-duty cleaning options can scratch metal, remove the protective finish, and damage the look of your fireplace curtain.
Rinse the Soap Away
After scrubbing, use your hose to wash away the soapy water, along with all the soot you scrubbed out of the mesh curtain. Take a second look at your curtain—if there’s still visible dirt, give it a repeat scrubbing and rinse again.
- If you are working outside, use your hose to wash away the soapy, sooty water.
- When working indoors, use a damp towel to clean the curtain after scrubbing.
- Inspect the curtain and repeat the soap scrub if necessary.
If you are cleaning your curtain indoors, wipe away the soap with a damp towel. This may take a few passes, but it will get the job done.
Allow Time to Dry
It’s critical to allow your fireplace curtain time to dry fully after cleaning. Hanging the curtain up immediately after cleaning can trap water in the folds of the mesh, causing rust to form. To avoid this, move your fireplace curtain to a dry place in the sun.
- Move your fireplace curtain to a sunny location to dry before hanging it again.
- It helps to move the fireplace curtain off the wet dropcloth it rested on during cleaning.
- It may take 1–3 hours before the curtain fully dries.
The dropcloth you used during cleaning will be damp from scrubbing and rinsing. When allowing your fireplace curtain to dry, it’s best to move it to a new drop cloth in a sunny area. It may take a few hours for the curtain to dry fully.
Reinstall Your Fireplace Curtain
With the job done, put your fireplace curtain back in place. To do so, depress the same metal tab that released the curtain, then slide the curtain back into position. Different fireplace curtains may have different methods of removal and installation, so pay close attention to your curtain system during removal. This makes reinstalling it much easier.
- Reinstall your fireplace curtain by reversing the process used to remove it in Step 1.
- Dust your fireplace curtain from time to time to prevent excessive dust and soot buildup.
To keep your fireplace curtain neat between cleanings, dust it with a dry microfiber cloth regularly. This will help prevent dust and dirt buildup, which makes your annual cleaning a lot simpler.
How Do You Clean Fireplace Curtains?
A dirty fireplace curtain leaves a trail of debris when you move it and leaves traces of soot on your fingers. In order to clean a dirty fireplace screen, you should:
- Remove the fireplace curtain from its track.
- Lay the fireplace curtain on a drop cloth outside.
- Rinse the fireplace curtain with a hose.
- Apply dish soap or gentle cleaner to the curtain.
- Scrub the mesh curtain with a gentle scrub brush.
- Rinse away the soapy water.
- Allow the curtain to dry.
- Reinstall the fireplace curtain.
It really is that simple. You’ll be left with a pristine curtain that shields sparks from exiting your fireplace and doesn’t leave a sooty mess behind.