Wood stoves can generally be appreciated by any person, from producing a safe haven on a chilly day, to creating a charming ambiance that defines the room. But to appreciate the comfort and usefulness of a great wood stove, it needs to be kept in working order. Perhaps one of the most neglected (and ironically, the most appreciated) features on a wood stove is its glass. The glass is very expensive to replace, so it must be cleaned and cared for.
How to clean wood stove glass?
There are EPA rated wood stoves with a self cleaning glass airwash. These stoves only need to be cleaned about twice annually, if the wood being burned is of good quality, and everything else is in good working order (such as the fresh air tubes, etc.).
But for those of us without the fancy airwash, we need to clean our stove glass by hand. If wood is being burned often, the glass should be cleaned more frequently.
Daily wood stove usage generally requires a weekly cleaning. If you are only burning a few times a week or less, the glass may only need a quick wipe down once it becomes hazy.
Why Does Wood Stove Glass Get Hazy
Other than frequency of wood burning and using the stove, there are several other factors that can cause the glass to darken and become hazy or even build up grime (commonly referred to as “soot” or “creosote”).
Proper airflow for the wood stove is an important consideration. Insufficient airflow into the wood stove leads to build-up on the glass. Of course, a lack of air flow will choke out oxygen, which will increase the amount of polluted air in the wood stove. This pollution will consequently settle on the glass, increasing the need for cleaning.
Of course, another very large factor is the fuel being used for the wood stove. Lower quality wood, such as soft wood (cedar, pine, spruce, etc.) can cause a build-up on the glass. Damp and green wood are also examples of low quality fuel.
Dry, well seasoned, hard wood is recommended for wood stoves because of the clean, efficient heat production, and crisp burn (examples of hard wood include alder, beech, hickory, maple, oak, etc.). If the greatest quality wood is not an option, cleaning the glass weekly will help prevent dirt, soot, creosote, tar, mineral and ash from building up.
Products to Clean Your Fireplace Glass
There are multiple ways to clean wood stove glass. Many people use home remedies such as razorblades, spatulas, damp newspaper, paper towels dipped in ash or baking soda to make a cleaning paste, and even heating the stove to loosen the grime. Any one of these methods may not always be the best option due to abrasion.
Instead, emulsion cleaners are safe and produce excellent results, and they will also leave a silicone layer which will aid in the next cleaning. Professional cleaners include the following:
Windex may seem like a reasonable option, but it does contain ammonia and it is harsh on wood stove glass. (Note that wood stove “glass” is actually commonly a transparent ceramic, not an actual glass, rendering ammonia based cleaners inappropriate.) These professional cleaners, as well as many others, are easy to find in local stores and can also be found online.
Cleaning the wood stove is fairly simple, especially if you are using any of the professional cleaners. If there is a good amount of build-up on the glass, the initial cleaning may be more time consuming.
- Before getting started, make sure that the wood stove and the glass is cool.
- Apply cleaner to the glass and allow time for the cleaner soften the grime and do its work (usually just a few minutes).
- Then, using a soft cloth, wipe in a circular motion to remove the build-up. You may want to apply the cleaner a second time and wipe with a clean cloth to remove any residue.
As mentioned above, many cleaners will leave an invisible, polished layer, which will help with the next cleaning. If the wood stove is routinely maintained and cleaned on a regular basis, there should not be a lot of build-up for the next cleaning. It should only need to be quickly wiped down. Keeping the glass clean will affect the appearance of the entire wood stove. So putting in a little effort to keep your wood stove glass clean will certainly brighten the room.