How to clean wood burner glass without chemicals
I have had a wood-burning stove fitted in my living room for a while and it makes a great addition to the home, keeping the ground floor warm and cozy during the cold winter nights and looks good as a feature in the room when it’s not being used for heat.
My wood burner is a modern-style unit from Contura with a large glass panel in the door which makes the light from a roaring fire really spread out into the room and gives that warm cozy feeling.
This is just one of the many great features of having a wood burner, but one of the issues I found is keeping the glass clean so you can enjoy the relaxing effect of seeing the real fire.
I like to avoid using harsh chemicals so here is the best method that I have found to keep the stove glass crystal clean:
To clean wood burning stove glass, let the wood burner to cool fully after a fire, open the stove door to access the firebox, using a wet paper towel spread cold ash on to the dirty side of the stove glass, rubbing in a circular motion, remove the ash with a clean paper towel, and repeat on stubborn areas.
This is a really easy and nice way to keep your wood burner glass panels clean, You can also use this method to clean any stains from the outside of the stove door glass. Take a look at the full details in our post to give you the best results.
Tools needed to clean wood burning stove glass
To keep your wood burner in tip-top condition and the glass panels clean and clear you will need a few things but not many, here’s a list of ones I use regularly:
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When to clean the glass panels in a wood burner
After you have had a fire burning in the wood burner or stove, allow the stove to cool completely, I usually wait until the next day and allow the heat to dissipate overnight.
My Contura stove is a 5kW unit and giving it a good 12 hours to cool down will usually allow all the heat to have reduced so that I can work inside the firebox.
You may need to try this and check on your own stove as they will vary depending on their efficiency and design.
Always check carefully and wear thick gloves when first touching a wood burner.
How to prepare the area to work in.
First put some clean cold water into a small container, I use a plastic ice cream tub as they are a perfect size and are easy to store and keep to one side.
Then put on some gloves to keep your hands clean, any sort of cleaning gloves will do but I avoid rubber gloves just in case any part of the stove is still warm, as you don’t want to melt rubber on to your hands.
If you are cleaning the Woodburner out because the grate if full, before you clean the ash from the stove and dispose of it, keep some in a bag to use for cleaning the stove glass,
Check out our in-depth post on how to clean a wood burner for more details
If you want to keep the stove glass clean between emptying the grate, you can use the ash from the bottom of the firebox inside the wood burner.
Place some old newspaper underneath the door, to keep the hearth or floor clean and avoid spills.
Open the Stove or Woodburner door to allow access to the inside surface of the glass that needs to be cleaned.
You may need to prop the wood burner door open whilst you do this depending on the type of stove or wood burner you have.
I tend to hold the door open with one hand and clean the stove glass with the other.
How to clean the wood stove glass panel
Take a few sheets of clean, dry paper towel, I use a cheap, double-ply kitchen towel which you can buy from most home stores or supermarkets.
Rip up a couple of sheets of kitchen towel and dip them into clean water, they don’t need to be soaking wet, just a little damp.
Then dip the now damp paper towel into the cold ash in the grate or dust bag if you have cleaned out the fire grate already.
The ash will stick to the Damp towel and allow you to use it on the glass as an abrasive cleaning agent. Take care when moving the towel as the ash can fall away and will need to be cleaned up afterward.
Take the towel and ash and rub it over the dirty side of the glass, I find that working in circular motions helps to lift the dirt and stains from the glass.
Once you have completely worked over all the inside of the stove glass panel you should see a nice, wet, grey paste covering the inside of the glass.
This paste needs to be wiped off using another clean damp paper towel, most, if not all the stains and dirt will be removed from the stove or burner glass.
To really clear the glass and make it sparkle again, use another fresh paper towel with more clean water and wipe down the inside surface of the glass, then dry off the wet surface with a dry paper towel to remove the rest of the remaining stains of residue.
To clean stubborn stains from the stove glass
For really stubborn stains that have been caused by wood-burning against the glass, use more ash to create a thick paste and work over the dirty area thoroughly.
I often rinse and repeat the steps a couple of times, again using fresh paper towels and some more ash from the firebox.
Then again clean off the glass with a wet paper towel and rub over the area with a few clean, dry sheets of kitchen towel.
Why not to use Chemicals to clean stove glass
I have used my wood burning stove for over 8 years and in the past tried to use several different chemical stove glass cleaners in an effort to try to remove wood ash stains from the stove glass, but none of them seemed to work.
After trying the wet ash method which is free from nasty chemicals, I wouldn’t use any other method
It costs next to nothing as the ash is already in your wood burner, and it works much better at removing stains and dirt than any spray or paste I have found,
Moreover, you don’t have to protect every surface to avoid damage from accidentally spilling hazardous chemicals, or wear mountains of protective clothing.
And using ash to clean the glass is environmentally friendly as you don’t have to dispose of the chemical afterward, the only thing is to pour the dirty water onto the garden and you can throw the paper towels on the fire later.
If you found this information helpful follow the link and check out more information on Cleaning Wood Burning Stoves
This article was written by: Richard Quinton – The DIY Help Desk Owner, Engineer & technical specialist.
Richard is one of the key partners in The DIY Help Desk team. He is a qualified Engineer, writer, and publisher, educated to Master’s level. He is a keen advocate of DIY and home improvements.
Richard enjoys helping others to learn new skills and reach their goals and believes that passing his knowledge and experience on through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the lifestyles and well-being of others on a larger scale.