This Simple Salt Hack May Help Keep Your Chimney Clean

Few home features are as cozy and charming as wood-burning fireplaces. As beautiful and homey as they are, though, they can be a bit of a mess to deal with. Aside from the hassle of stacking logs and kindling, the fire can produce soot, ashes, and debris that are difficult to control and clean up. Further, the respiratory and allergy issues it can cause are standalone topics on their own.

A few ways to manage these messes include using fire screens and vacuums, employing the right wood and burning materials, and keeping up with fireplace maintenance. However, one simple and affordable hack can significantly reduce the ashes and soot produced by your fire in the first place, making the entire clean-up process much easier and quicker. All the hack requires is something in your kitchen pantry — salt. Simple table salt, like the kind you cook with, is an excellent material for better and neater fireplace burns.

Use salt to douse the flames

Using salt to put out fireplace fires is a great idea for a variety of reasons. Salt is a commonly recommended tool for putting out grease fires in kitchens due to its ability to smother smaller, contained flames. With a melting point of more than 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, a large amount of salt applied to the flames at once is a surefire way to kill the fire's oxygen supply.

This makes it a great way to quickly and safely put out large and out-of-control fires. You'll need enough salt to cover the entirety of the fire, so pour it out into a larger bowl or container first, and then douse the flames in the mineral in one go — don't sprinkle or grind salt directly on the fire. This method will quickly extinguish the fire, which means there won't be nearly as much soot produced by the burn, resulting in a cleaner chimney.

Easier clean up

Another perk of using salt to put out your fireplace fires is making the ashes easier to clean. Anyone who's groomed a fireplace knows how difficult it is to sweep up the ashes, which try to fly everywhere but into the canister you're sweeping them into. While vacuums are a little easier, not everyone has one with a hose extension. Instead, salt can help clump the ashes together, making sweeping them up much more convenient.

If you don't have excess salt on hand during an emergency, baking soda could also work. The science and result are similar, but the process varies a little. Baking soda has a much lower burning point — only 518 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're using it to put out a fire, you want the flames to be at least that hot. When heated, the baking soda releases carbon dioxide, significantly and instantly reducing the fire's oxygen levels and smothering it.