With temperatures already dropping, it’s getting towards that time of the year when you’ll be using your wood burner more and more.
Before winter really sets in, now’s the time to give your wood burner a good clean. It obviously needs to be cool before you do this, so tackle the job before it’s on permanently.
So, how to clean a wood burning stove. Well, there are many branded cleaners available for wood burners, as well as plenty of DIY methods.
How often should you clean a wood burning stove?
There’s no set schedule for cleaning your wood burner. It really does depend on how often you use it. With the cold weather on its way, you’ll probably have it on constantly. If this is the case, the ashes should be removed every one or two days. Obviously, if it’s used less often, the less it needs cleaning.
If your stove is burning wood alone, it will require cleaning less often. That’s because it burns cleaner and produces less ash than some other fuel sources.
The inside of your wood burner should be cleaned every four to six weeks if it’s used on a regular basis. When it comes to the glass stove door, you’ll easily see when it needs to be cleaned. That’s when you no longer have a clear view of the flames inside.
Before you start
The most important thing is to ensure your wood burner is unlit and cool. Using cold cleaning products or liquids or cleaning products on your burner’s door could weaken or even shatter the glass.
To protect yourself from dust and other materials which could cause irritation, you may also want to put on gloves, a face mask and protective goggles.
Before you start, take a look at the maintenance guide from the manufacturer, which may contain instructions specific to your particular stove.
How to clean wood burner glass
If enough heat is generated by the burning fuel in your stove, the glass will clean itself. However, if you’re burning poor quality fuel or there’s a draught, a build up of soot may occur, clouding the glass.
You can use any of the methods below to clean the wood burner glass, but don’t leave it too long between cleans. The more soot that builds up over time, the harder it will be to remove.
There’s a choice of numerous cleaners which are suitable for the glass door on your wood burning stove. These include WD40, which is also great for polishing slate hearths. Just remember to read the instructions carefully and check that using the product you’ve chosen does not validate the stove’s warranty.
Ammonia and water
A mixture of ammonia and water in a spray bottle can be used to remove soot from your stove door. Simply apply to the glass and wipe with a cloth until clean. For more stubborn areas, leave the solution on the glass for a couple of minutes before wiping.
Ash and newspaper
Although requiring a little extra effort, this is an environmentally and cost-effective way to clean the glass door on your wood burner. Just dip some newspaper in water, then dip again in the ash left in your stove and rub on to the glass. Finish off by wiping down with a damp cloth.
For a really hard-to-shift build up, use a glass scraper. But be careful, you don’t want to scratch the glass. Scratches not only look unattractive, they can be a weak spot which could shatter the glass when it’s at a high temperature.
How to clean the surface of your wood burner
This is usually a quick and simple task. All you need to remove any dust and ash from the surface of the stove is a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. If you do this regularly, you’ll never have to deal with a potentially damaging build up.
Instead of using a vacuum cleaner, you could just use a soft cloth to clean the outside. This should not be wet or damp, as it could lead to rust. Try not to use liquid cleaners as these can leave surface streaks.
Cleaning the flue pipe
The flue pipe on your wood burning stove, which carries away fumes, can become blocked due to a build-up of deposits. So it’s very important that it’s checked on a regular basis.
The flue pipe should be cleaned once a year. If you use your wood burner a lot, you should clean the pipe more regularly.
While there are some stove cleaning tasks you can do yourself, this is one which may be better left to the professionals. A chimney sweep will ensure the flue is properly cleaned and safe to use. It will also save you a lot of time and hard work.
However, if you decide to do the job yourself, plenty of flue and chimney cleaning tools are available. Do remember to wear safety goggles and a dust mask, and, as it’s a messy job, use plenty of dust sheets.
We hope you’ve found our guide on how to clean a wood burning stove useful. And how, with just a little effort, you can ensure your wood burner is safe, looks great and operates efficiently.