Vacuuming up ashes from your fireplace might seem simple enough, but actually, it could be quite dangerous if you do not follow the proper precautions. So, is it even safe to vacuum ashes from the fireplace?
You cannot vacuum ashes with a normal household vacuum cleaner. This will quickly clog up the vacuum’s filters and destroy the motor. There are special vacuum cleaners specifically designed to clean up the ashes. These should only be used on ashes that have cooled down already.
Phew! Glad we answered that right away. However, there is still much to consider when dealing with the disposal of ash. Thankfully, we’ll discuss which ash vacuum cleaners you should be using, how to dispose of your fireplace ash, and also some interesting additional uses for your ash.
This post contains affiliate links. This means Household Blogger may earn a commission should you make a purchase using any of our links. Please refer to our full affiliate disclosure policy for full details.
Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
You should never try to clean up hot fireplace ashes. Instead, wait 12-24 hours (maybe even longer) to ensure that your ash has cooled down completely. If you want to vacuum up your ashes you should use an ash vacuum specifically designed to clean up ash.
Here are our favorite ash vacuums available on Amazon:
1. Powersmith – Designed to clean warm and cold ashes with a washable filter.
2. Shop-Vac Cordless – Cordless ash vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter.
3. Snow Joe – Dual filtration and extremely easy to clean.
You Can’t Vacuum Ash With a Household Vacuum
If you try to vacuum up your fireplace ashes with your Dyson or normal household vacuum you could cause some serious damage! Those vacuums are not designed to filter the small ash particles.
Is It Safe to Vacuum Fireplace Ashes?
Vacuuming fireplace ashes can be dangerous due to the heat that could be trapped in the ashes. We recommend that you wait at least 12 hours before attempting to vacuum up your fireplace ashes.
If you try to vacuum hot ashes you may damage your vacuum cleaner, or even worse, you may start a fire inside your vacuum canister.
It is best to wait for the ashes to dry completely or to use a vacuum designed specifically to vacuum ashes.
Will Ash Mess up a Vacuum?
Fireplace ash could mess up your household vacuum. Sometimes we think that the ashes are cooled down but we don’t realize that fireplace ashes can hold heat for quite a long time.
If you try to vacuum hot ash you could end up damaging your vacuum or even starting a fire!
Ash is also much smaller than regular dust, so the ash will float right through your vacuum filter and spread around your house.
Is It Okay to Vacuum Ash?
You should not try to vacuum ash with a household vacuum cleaner or while the ashes might still be holding some heat. It is okay to vacuum fireplace ash if you’re using a vacuum designed to clean up ashes.
These vacuums are specifically designed to clean warm and cool ashes, with a heat-resistant hose and a washable fire-resistant filter.
If you have a wood stove or you use a fireplace regularly, we definitely recommend investing in an ash vacuum cleaner.
Will Fireplace Ash Damage My Vacuum?
Fireplace ash could definitely damage your household vacuum cleaner. Not only can hot ashes burn your house but if the ashes are still hot enough they could even start a fire inside your vacuum cleaner.
The damage to your vacuum could cost you a lot of money or even a brand new vacuum.
If you do not want to buy an ash vacuum cleaner, you should rather sweep the ash into piles and throw it away once they have cooled down.
How You Should Remove Ash From the Fireplace
Now that you know how not to dispose of ashes, let’s discuss the proper way to do so!
Should I Remove Ash From the Fireplace?
You do not have to remove your ashes after every fire. Those ashes insulate your fireplace for your next fire. As long as the ashes do not build up more than one inch, you don’t have to clean it.
When you do need to remove the ashes from your fireplace, you should make sure to wait 24 hours until the ashes are cooled down completely.
Also, ensure that you are using a vacuum that is designed to clean up ashes.
How Do You Clean Ashes From a Fireplace?
You could use a vacuum cleaner designed to clean ashes or you could use a shovel to clean ashes from a fireplace. Both methods work well. However, if you use a wood stove or make fires often then the vacuum cleaner would be more convenient for you.
However, using a shovel to clean the fireplace ashes might be safer. You should wear rubber gloves and use a metal shovel with a metal bucket.
If you spot any hot coals while cleaning you can leave them behind in the fireplace.
How Do You Remove Hot Ashes From a Fireplace?
To remove hot ashes from a fireplace, you will need a shovel and a bucket or an ash vacuum. Removing hot ashes from a fireplace can be dangerous but can also be quite easy if you use the right tools.
You have to wait for the ashes to cool down completely. This might take longer than you expect. A good rule of thumb is to wait 12-24 hours before trying to clean your ashes.
You should also use a metal shovel and bucket because metal cannot catch fire, unlike plastic.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Ashes From a Fireplace?
You do not have to clean the ashes every time after a fire. It is recommended that you leave one inch of ash in the fireplace to help insulate the heat of the next fire. This bed of ashes also catches coals and cools them down.
If you see that the layer of ash in your fireplace is getting higher than one inch, you should clean out the ash from the fireplace.
You should use an ash vacuum because it can easily suck up all the ash and make it a lot easier to clean up.
How Do You Clean Ashes Without Making a Mess?
To clean up ashes from your fireplace without making a mess, you should only use a metal bucket and shovel or a specially designed ash vacuum. This will prevent any additional mess or fires from occurring.
How to clean your fireplace without making a mess:
- Use a metal bucket and shovel.
- Scoop up some of the cooled-down ash, but not too much.
- Tilt the bucket about 30 degrees.
- Slide your shovel in the bucket until the shovel hits the bottom.
- Gently lift your shovel and allow the dust to slide off.
Which Vacuum You Should Use to Clean up Ashes
As we’ve said, you can’t use your regular vacuum, but, in this section, we recommend some of the best ash vacuum cleaners that you could use, instead.
What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Ashes?
The best way to get rid of ashes is to wait a couple of days for the ashes to completely cool off. Move the ash to a bag and throw it out with your normal garbage. Ashes can also be reused around your home for numerous purposes.
Wood ash can be used on your lawn to balance the pH and can give nutrients to plants on the lawn.
Ashes can also be used as a natural pest repellent- simply spread some wood ash in a circle around the plant and the bugs will stay away.
Can You Vacuum Fireplace Ashes With Shop Vac?
A wet/dry vacuum would be able to clean up cold fireplace ashes. Dust and soot particles are very small and they tend to clog the filter, so you should clean your filter immediately after vacuuming fireplace ash.
We recommend the Shop-Vac Wet Dry vacuum as an all-around utility vacuum that you can use everywhere in and around your home.
If you want a vacuum specifically for cleaning up ash and soot we recommend the Powersmith Ash Vacuum.
Can I Vacuum Ash With Dyson?
You cannot vacuum ash with a Dyson vacuum cleaner. The filter of the Dyson vacuum is not designed to catch such small particles. Consequently, your ash will blow right back into your home and it might even cause your Dyson to jam.
If you have to clean out your fireplace or woodstove constantly it would be better to purchase a vacuum specifically designed to clean up ash.
What Vacuum Is Good for Ash?
The Powersmith vacuum is excellent for cleaning up ash. Since it is specifically designed for the job, it won’t cause any unwanted mishaps to occur such as a fire within the vacuum.
The Powersmith is top-rated on Amazon and is specifically designed to clean up hot fireplace ashes.
It has a washable filter to ensure that it does not get clogged up from the fine ash particles and it also has a heat-resistant metal hose.
Is There a Cordless Ash Vacuum?
Cordless ash vacuums are not as popular as normal vacuum cleaners. However, Shop-Vac does manufacture a stainless steel cordless ash vacuum that can be carried around the house without having to worry about the cord.
The Shop-Vac Stainless Steel Ash Vacuum is specifically designed to remove ashes from fireplaces.
Even though this is an ash vacuum, it is still recommended to wait until the ashes have cooled down before trying to vacuum the ashes.
How Often Should I Clean Ashes From Fireplaces?
You do not have to clean the fireplace every single time after using it. it is recommended to let the ash build up to about an inch before cleaning it. If you use the fireplace every night, you can do a weekly cleaning routine in and around the fireplace.
Wait 12-24 hours for your ashes to cool down completely. Then, sweep the floor around your fireplace for any ash that might have blown out of the fireplace.
Use an ash vacuum cleaner and carefully start to vacuum the ashes inside of your fireplace.
Additional Uses for Fireplace Ash
Did you know? You don’t have to dispose of the fireplace ashes when you’re finished cleaning your fireplace. You could actually use them in your garden!
What Can I Do With Ash From My Fireplace?
There are endless possibilities of what you can do with your wood ash. The most common is using the ash on your lawn as a fertilizer, compost boost or to prevent frost damage on your plants.
- Garden fertilizer – Wood ash contains trace minerals from trees which are excellent for plant health.
- Boost compost – If you live in a rural area, sprinkling ash on top of your compost will help keep wild animals away.
- Slug and snail repellent – Create a circle of ash around your plant. This will keep slugs and snails away from your plants.
How Do You Dispose of Fireplace Ashes?
The most important thing is to make sure that the ash has cooled down completely. We recommend waiting 12 – 24 hours before attempting to clean up your fireplace ashes. Then, you can carefully remove the ash.
There are two ways to remove ash from a fireplace. Firstly, you could use a metal bucket and shovel and slowly scoop the ash into the bucket.
When all the ash is cleaned up, you can tip the bucket into a garbage bag and dispose of it like normal garbage.
Secondly, you could use your ash vacuum cleaner – not a household vacuum – and vacuum all the ashes from the fireplace.
After cleaning the fireplace, you can dispose of the vacuum bag in the garbage and clean out the filter of the vacuum thoroughly.
Where Is the Best Place to Dump Fireplace Ashes?
Before dumping your fireplace ashes, you need to be 100% sure that they are cool enough – just a little stirring could cause them to heat up and ignite again. Use a metal bucket to collect the fireplace ashes.
In winter you can dump them on a snow pile outside of your house and in summer you can dump them in a moist area, not close to the grass.
Never store ash inside your home as it can still catch fire.
Are Fireplace Ashes Good for Compost?
Fireplace ashes have an advantage when thrown on compost heaps. Fireplace ash contains some of the minerals in trees that are great for plant growth. Also, wood ash on a compost heap can help keep wild animals away.
If your ash is completely cooled down and your compost is at least 10-feet from your house, you could definitely throw the ash on top of the compost.
However, if your ash is not properly cooled down, it could start a fire.
Are Firepit Ashes Good for the Lawn?
Firepit ashes are very good for your lawn and for your garden. You could use your ashes in your garden instead of throwing them out in the garbage since wood ash can help to balance the pH of your lawn.
The pH of your lawn should be between 6 and 7. If your pH is below 6 your lawn is acidic and if it’s above 7 your lawn is alkaline.
Wood ash can help to balance your lawn between 6 and 7. If your lawn is already balanced then there is no need for wood ash.
Can Fireplace Ashes Be Used in the Garden?
Fireplace ash can be used in your garden to boost plant growth and balance the pH of your lawn. Calcium is the nutrient that is most commonly used in wood ash and a lot of plants benefit from extra calcium.
You have to be careful where you place wood ash in your garden because placing it near acid-loving plants (blueberries, tomatoes, etc.) would not be beneficial to the plants.
Do not apply too much wood ash to the lawn.
What Can I Do With Half-Burnt Logs?
Half-burnt wood logs can be used again next time you make a fire. Although they do not serve well in starting a fire, you can add them once the fire is started and burning steadily. There is no need to waste half-burnt wood logs.
You should not dispose of half-burnt logs but keep them in a container close to the firepit, or even leave them in the firepit ready to use next time you make a fire.
What to Do if You Breathe in Ash?
Ash is not safe to breathe in at all which is why you should use a proper ash vacuum when cleaning up ash from a fireplace. There are steps that you should follow when you realize that you inhaled any amount of ash.
What to do when you inhale ash:
- Immediately step outside and away from the ash to get fresh air.
- Try to take some deep breaths. Sometimes breathing in the ash could trigger an asthma attack
- If you have difficulty breathing, immediately call 911 or go to the hospital to receive medical care.
Cleaning your fireplace can be more dangerous than you thought but now you have all the information to make sure you are safe.
Remember to properly dispose of your ashes next time you clean your fireplace.