What not to put in a wood burning fireplace

Open flames are always targets for people to throw things into. Despite our cavemen instinct to be afraid of fire, as a species we are still enamored with it, and its amazing power.
Having a wood burning fireplace has many advantagesbut sometimes it can be dangerous, especially if you don�t know that  there are some things that you really shouldn�t throw into a fire, ever. In this article, we�ll explore some of the items and materials that become highly dangerous when they come into contact with open flames. While some will be known to the majority of you, there are some materials on here you may never have considered to be a threat. 

Cardboard / Paper

We have all probably thrown paper on fireplaces before. It has been shown on TV and movies for many decades. But there is an unforeseen danger with this activity. If your chimney is uncapped, wind can be blowing up and down. Should the paper get caught in the breeze, it could either fly out and set fire to your carpet or furniture, or blow out the top of the chimney and potentially set fire to the outside of your home.

Cardboard presents the same dangers as paper. It too could also get caught in a breeze and thrown out of the fire. But cardboard is also treated with chemical while it is being made, so burning it means the toxins contained within are released into the air. 


As with cardboard, plastic is packed with toxic chemicals.These substances will find there way into the air should the plastic be set on fire, which can have serious ramifications on the state of your lungs. The plastic can also be detrimental to the fireplace itself, melting its way through and either creating an expensive mess or breaking the fireplace entirely. This is why burning plastic is illegal in a lot of countries worldwide. 

Pressurised Cans

It is hard to miss the �no open flames� warnings on pressurised cans. The reason is clear - the pressure inside will only become greater when the can is heated, to the point of explosion. No need for us to tell you the terrible injuries that can result from an explosion.


You should never use the fire as a garbage disposal. Simply put, that isn�t a great idea regardless of what seemingly harmless items you are throwing on there. There are a multitude of ways everyday items can harm you - releasing toxins into the air, creating smoke that stings your eyes, or just letting off bad smells. Dispose of waste properly.

Treated or unseasoned wood

�So what can I throw on my fire?�, you may be asking. Well open flame fires and stoves need something to burn through, so things like coal and wood are OK if you use precautions. One such precaution is avoiding wood that is treated or unseasoned. Varnished or machined woods will contain chemicals, and unseasoned wood (wood that hasn�t been left to dry) can let off a lot of smoke.

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