Heat and Light – how to clean the glass on a wood-burning stove

Everyone loves a real fire!  In common with lots of people in rural homes without access to the mains gas network, we use a multi-fuel stove for some of our heating.  Wood burning stoves are becoming more popular in urban areas, too.

Wood-burning stove

If you have an old stove, it’s likely that before too long you’ll find yourself having to work out how to get the soot off the glass.

Sooty glass on wood burning stoveI’ve tried oven cleaner.  I’ve tried multisurface cleaner.  I’ve tried a pan scourer, soap and hot water.  Giving it a damn good scrub works a bit, but is very hard work.  I’ve even tried expensive, specifically designed cleaner for the glass on multi-fuel stoves.  Nothing worked convincingly or easily, and the stuff in the aerosol stank, too.  Meanwhile the glass was getting blacker and blacker, and we were deprived of the gorgeous sight of flickering flames, to the point that we were wondering how easy it would be to replace the glass.

Necessary equipmentThe answer is as easy as could be.  No solvents or volatile chemicals, very little effort, and you have all the things you need already.  Strange as it may seem, you need some newspaper, some ash, some tap water, and a very little elbow grease.  And a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove, of course, but if you haven’t got one, you probably haven’t bothered to read this far.

Time: 30 minutes – Difficulty: simple – Cost: free

Glass half cleanedScrunch up about half a sheet of newspaper.  Dip it in the water and squeeze out the excess.  Then dip it into the ash.  Now use this, gently, to rub the glass.  You should notice it working straight away, which is very gratifying.  The water and ash forms a really fine abrasive slurry, which lifts the soot from the glass with very little effort.  When the paper starts to get really black and stops working again, get a new piece, and repeat the process as often as required.  Getting both doors of my fire cleaned took about half an hour.  They’re *sparkling*.

Job done!A small word of warning – if your glass has some sort of clever protective coating, this approach may not do it any good…  Then again, if your glass has some sort of clever protective coating, and is still sooted up, you might reasonably take the view that it’s not working anyway!

Go on, try it!  I know it sounds mad but I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Read more from the Country Skills blog >>