What tools do chimney sweeps use? Clean chimneys are safe, efficient chimneys. It’s best practice to get an annual chimney sweep and inspection. A professional chimney sweep and inspection is a minuscule expense compared to the cost of dealing with a chimney fire or the other problems that may arise from a dirty chimney. However, many Indianapolis homeowners are looking to save money and consider trying their own chimney cleaning or finding a “chimney sweep” that’s offering a dangerously low price. In reality, it’s best to rely on the expertise and tools of a professional chimney sweep. 

Why do chimneys need to be cleaned?

Chimneys, especially wood-burning ones, create creosote and soot buildup. This buildup is hazardous and reduces the efficiency of your chimney. 

Creosote is a thick tar-like material that’s brown or black. When combustible materials (like wood) are burned, creosote deposits on the flue lining of your chimney. All three forms of creosote are flammable, but the one that is most flammable and difficult to clean is a shiny, slick texture. 

Wood smoke produces creosote, with unseasoned firewood producing the most. Seasoned hardwood burns clean, creating much less creosote than unseasoned firewood, but all wood will cause creosote that eventually builds up in your chimney. 

Soot is another reason to clean chimneys. It’s black, flay, and powdery. The substance is made from amorphous carbon and is produced upon incomplete combustion of coal, wood, and other organic materials. The soot particles adhere to the chimney lining. 

If moisture mixes with soot or creosote, it creates an acidic substance that damages the chimney lining. 

Creosote is a huge risk for chimney fires. The built-up creosote is highly flammable, any embers that float up could cause the creosote to catch fire and start a chimney fire. 

Additionally, a chimney caked in creosote will not be as efficient. The creosote limits the airflow and can trap heat in the chimney. This makes your fireplace less efficient, and could also result in harmful gases reentering your home. A chimney without good airflow can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Can I clean my own chimney?

Based on the information you now know about soot and creosote, the importance of cleaning your chimney is clear. But, can you clean your own chimney? Many people have tried, but unfortunately, home remedies do not solve the problem. Here are some common chimney cleaning home remedies that don’t remove the deposits on your chimney. 


  • Using a pine tree like a “cleaning brush” and running it down your chimney. 
  • Starting a chimney fire to burn off the creosote and soot. This is VERY dangerous and can lead to an entire house fire and severe chimney damage. 
  • Attempt to soften the creosote deposit by burning potato peels in your fireplace. It sounds nice, but this wive’s tale is not actually effective. 
  • Add salt to your logs as they burn in the fireplace. This method also will not remove creosote or soot in your chimney. 

What tools does a professional chimney sweep use?

The DIY methods above sound nice in theory, but unfortunately none of them will safely or efficiently clean your chimney. Luckily, chimney cleaning has advanced dramatically since the old times when children were used. Modern chimney sweeps have an arsenal of effective tools at their disposal. The primary tools fo a chimney sweep are:

  • Brushes. There are a few types of brushes chimney sweeps will use. One is the long wire brush. This brush is sturdy enough to remove creosote, but can also navigate tight spaces. For creosote that’s in a glazed form, a stiff flat wire-bristle brush is often used. For small spaces and crevices, chimney sweeps use hand brushes. 
  • Vacuums. All of the soot and creosote that’s cleaned from a chimney must go somewhere. Chimney sweeps use powerful industrial vacuum cleaners to collect the soot and creosote before it enters your home. This also keeps the air cleaner. 
  • Chemical cleaners. Sometimes, brushes can’t remove all of the built-up deposits on a chimney flue lining. For very stubborn and difficult creosote, chimney sweeps use chemical cleaning agents. 

Chimney Sweep and Inspection in Indianapolis

A professional chimney sweep has the tools and expertise you need to quickly, efficiently, and safely clean your chimney. Instead of wasting time on home remedies that do not work, give your local Brick + Ember Outfitters of Indianapolis a call. We offer affordable chimney sweep and inspection services. Our knowledgeable, trained technicians are all CSIA certified and have the best tools available. Learn more about our chimney sweep services or schedule your appointment today by contacting Brick + Ember Outfitters at 317-500-1250 or OFFICE@BRICKANDEMBER.COM.