How to clean a log burning stove

Wood burning stoves should be cleaned at least twice a year and three times if used regularly. Whilst the process can seem daunting and messy, this simple step-by-step guide will get your wood burning stove looking as good as new with as little hassle as possible.

To get cleaning, you will need:

  • Some metal scoops/small fire spades
  • A metal bucket/container
  • A fire brush
  • Lots of newspaper and old towels/dust mats
  • Paper towels
  • Stove polish/paste
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • Some old bags and rags
  • Two plastic containers (one with filled with water, the other with your chosen cleaning product
  • Either a paste made of ash and water or a commercially available log burner glass cleaning paste/spray.
  • A solution of one part vinegar, three parts water

Step One:

The first thing to do is light a small fire to loosen the soot inside the log burner. When the fire is out and the stove has cooled, then you can begin cleaning it. Placing the old towels or dust sheets around the log burning stove, put on the rubber gloves and then place some newspaper around the immediate area beneath the stove. Using the fire brush and metal scoop/spade, clear out any ash or pieces of wood inside the wood burning stove and place them in the metal bucket or scatter them out across the garden after 24hours (ash is very good for plants).

Step Two:

With all the ash and debris cleared out, rub some damp rags across the interior to get rid of some of the soot and then dry the interior with some paper towels. With the interior finished, you can then move on to the glass door. To begin with, use a wet rag to apply the ash paste or glass cleaning paste to the inside of the glass door, making sure you cover the whole surface of the inside glass. If you are using a spray instead, take the stove door off, if you can, and spray the inside of the glass door, leaving the liquid to soak for a couple of minutes.

Step Three:

When the interior of the glass door has been covered with your chosen paste or soaked in the spray, take a clean damp cloth and begin rubbing off the product, making sure to get rid of all the black patches on the glass. When it looks like most of the soot has been removed from the glass, scrunch up some balls of newspaper and begin wiping off the murky paste mixture until the glass looks clear.

Step Four:

Taking another clean cloth, dip it into the vinegar solution and wipe off any streaks left in the interior of the glass door, giving the glass a final wipe with a damp cloth just soaked in water and a dry one to finish. You can use a window cleaner on both sides of the glass door if you wish at this point however this is not necessary.

Step Five:

With the interior done you can now look at the exterior of the wood burning stove. This step is optional as the exterior of the stove will need cleaning far less frequently than the interior. However if you do want to clean the outside metal surfaces of the stove, get some more old rags/cloths, some warm water and the stove polish or paste. Wash the exterior once with a damp cloth soaked in the warm water. Clean the damp surfaces with paper towels/or rags until reasonably clean and then apply a very thin layer of the stove polish or paste all over the exterior metal.

Step Six:

After the polish/paste has been applied to all the metal surfaces on the outside of the stove, take an old rag and begin rubbing it into the surface. Wipe off any excess and then light a small fire to seal the polish on the stove and then you’re finished.

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