Wood burning stoves provide an enclosed environment in which to burn wood to provide heat, but byproducts of a fire can cause the glass on the door of the stove to blacken over time.
There are ways to clean wood burning stove glass once it has blackened through use, but there are also some things you can do to help keep wood burning stove glass clean.
To clean wood burning stove glass:
- Wipe down the inside of the glass with a wet piece of newspaper. The wet newspaper can also be dipped in wood ash to help remove any tougher stains on the glass door.
- Use a conventional stove glass cleaner to give the glass on the door of a wood burning stove a deeper clean.
To keep the glass clean on a wood burning stove:
- Wipe down the glass with wet newspaper between fires to keep on top of any blackening of the glass.
- Ensure to keep any air vents open that are required for the air wash system.
- Burn dry, low moisture content wood.
- Never leave the fire to smolder, which can produce excess smoke and can increase the rate in which the glass starts to blacken.
- Build and maintain fires more towards the back of the stove.
- Use hardwood logs rather than softwood.
- Have hotter fires to help burn off any soot particles.
A blackened glass door on a wood burning stove can prevent you from fully enjoying a fire.
I’ve explained why your fireplace glass is turning black in more detail here, but some of the main causes can be burning wet wood or not providing enough air supply to the fire.
We’ve regularly experienced blackening of the glass on our wood burning stove, and have learnt how to keep on top of keeping the glass clean, and what products and methods are best at giving the glass a thorough clean when needed.
Using what we’ve learnt I’ve explained in more detail below how to clean wood burning stove glass and how to keep the glass clean on a wood burning stove.
How To Clean Wood Burning Stove Glass
Over the many years of using our wood burning stove we’ve had to give the glass door a thorough clean a number of times.
Our wood stove is a ‘slimline’ version of a particular model of stove and because the stove is quite shallow, it may be one of the reasons why it needs more regular cleaning compared to our multi fuel stove.
Here’s what the glass door look can like on our wood burning stove after several fires:
We’ve found that using a wet piece of newspaper helps to remove a good proportion of any glass stains.
Simply take a piece of newspaper and dip it in some water. Take the newspaper and wipe down the inside of the glass door until as much of the stains have been wiped as possible.
You can also dip the wet newspaper in any wood ash left over from a previous fire at the bed of the stove. In many cases this can help to remove any deeper staining on the glass, and has worked quite well for us in the past.
Wipe down the glass with kitchen towel once done to remove any marks left by using the newspaper.
If you can’t remove all of the black deposits on the glass door of a stove using the methods above, it’s worth using a dedicated stove glass cleaning product to help remove all of the staining.
We’ve found that such stove glass cleaning products do an excellent job of removing all of the staining on the glass door.
Here’s a picture of the stuff we liked to use:
We simply spray the stuff onto glass and leave it to soak, then wipe it all off using kitchen towel or an old rag. If there are still some soot deposits left on the glass then we’ll give it another spray.
Here’s what our wood burning stove looks like before and after cleaning the glass:
You can see that the spray has made a massive difference, and allows us to see the fire much more clearly.
Never clean the glass while the fire is still burning or when the glass is still hot, and don’t use any form of harsh or abrasive cleaning equipment as this can leave scratches or marks on the glass.
How To Keep Wood Burning Stove Glass Clean
There are ways to effectively clean the glass on your wood burning stove, but there also a few things you can do to help keep the glass clean.
Glass that is harder to clean is generally caused more by the type of fuel being burnt and the proximity of the fire to the glass. Stains on the glass that are easier to wipe off can be a sign that there is an issue with the air flow keeping the glass clean.
Use Dry Wood
Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you’re burning firewood in your wood burning stove that is dry enough to burn efficiently.
The ideal moisture content for firewood is around 20% or lower. Kiln dried or seasoned wood is typically dry enough to be used in your stove, but you can always use a moisture meter to identify the exact moisture content of your wood before using it.
Wet wood is much harder to catch alight and burn and so excess smoke can be produced when used in a fire, which can lead to more soot being deposited on the glass of your stove.
It’s also better to use hardwood logs throughout your fires, as softwood logs typically have higher sap content that can increase the rate of blackening of the glass.
Don’t Let The Fire Smolder
A fire inside a wood burning stove can smoke due to inefficient burning of the wood, and one of the main causes of inefficient burning of wood can be a lack of air getting to the fire.
It’s therefore important to ensure that the air vents on a wood stove aren’t too far closed, which can prevent sufficient air from getting to the fire.
A wood burning stove creates an environment in which both the air and the fuel can be controlled to burn wood more efficiently than in an open fireplace. It’s therefore typical for primary air vents on a wood stove to be closed down enough so that the fire is burning through the wood the most efficiently, without causing the fire to smolder or going out.
If the vents are closed too much, the fire can start to smolder and produce smoke, which can lead to increased blackening of the glass on the door of your stove.
Therefore, to help keep wood burning stove glass clean, leave the air vents on the stove open enough for the fire to keep producing heat, without causing the fire to smolder and produce smoke.
I’ve explained in more detail here how to use the air vents on a wood stove to control a fire.
Wipe Down The Glass Between Fires
Using wet newspaper, or wet newspaper dipped in ash, on the glass between fires helps to keep on top of any blackening of the glass.
This method has worked for us for many years. Keeping on top of preventing the soot from building up on the glass means that you won’t need to use any conventional cleaning equipment as often.
Build Fires Towards The Back
Our wood burning stove is quite shallow in depth, and so we’ve had issues with the glass blackening more quickly than it does on our multi fuel stove.
Having a fire too close to the glass can cause it to blacken at an increased rate, and can also make more difficult to clean stains. We therefore try to build and maintain a fire in our wood burning stove towards the back of the firebox.
To help keep wood burning stove glass clean, having hotter fires also helps to burn off any excess smoke and soot.
Maintain The Air Wash
Many wood burning stoves, including ours, have air wash systems designed into the operation of the stove.
Air wash works by providing a flow of air down the inside of the glass on the door, and helps to prevent soot particles from settling on the glass that create the blackening effect.
If your wood burning stove has an air wash system, it will work as part of the air flow into the stove through one or more of the air vents. It’s the secondary air vent on a wood burning stove that typically provides air down the glass (more about secondary air here), and the secondary air vent on many stoves can found on the front of the stove near the top.
On our wood burning stove, the only controllable air vent is located underneath the stove, and provides both primary air to the fire and secondary air to the air wash.
To ensure that enough air is being supplied to help keep the glass door clear, we make sure that this air vent is always at least partially open.
I’ve explained air wash in stoves in more detail here.
Parts Of A Wood Burning Stove Explained
How To Warm The Flue Of A Wood Burning Stove
How To Build And Light A Fire In A Wood Burning Stove
How To Use The Vents To Control A Wood Burning Stove
Primary, Secondary And Tertiary Air In Stoves Explained