Learning how to clean wood stove glass the proper way will save you a lot of time and energy throughout the year.
A wood stove can be a great focal point in any room, but once the glass becomes so dirty or hazy that you can't see the fire inside, it quickly becomes an eye sore.
With normal everyday use, a wood stove will accumulate a brownish colored soot on the glass. Even with todays modern stove designs with air wash technology, a little bit of soot buildup on the glass is always going to happen.
Maintaining the glass on your wood stove is similar to maintaining any other type of equipment around your home. Regular cleaning will make the job a lot easier.
If you keep up on it and wipe it down every day or two, you'll prevent the thick black creosote deposits from building up along the edges that can be hard to remove.
The glass on your wood stove is different from a typical window found inside your home.
The "glass" is actually a ceramic polycrystalline material that's designed to withstand the high temperatures created from a wood stove.
This clear ceramic material won't crack or shatter from the extreme heating and cooling that takes place as your fire heats up and cools down throughout the corse of the day.
However, this doesn't mean the ceramic glass is indestructible. Hitting the glass with a fireplace poker or even dumping large amounts of cold liquid on the hot glass can cause it to break, but with normal everyday use the ceramic is very durable.
As we mentioned before, you can't completely prevent all soot and ash from sticking to the glass and making it dirty. However, there are a few things you can do to keep a majority of the soot from building up on the surface of the glass.
Burning high quality seasoned firewood is very important. Wet firewood that smokes and sizzles is a culprit for dirty glass. Even with todays modern stove technology which includes secondary combustion, wet wood is notorious for leaving soot on your glass because it just doesn't burn hot enough.
Also, running your stove on its lowest damper setting will cause smoke to build up in your firebox and stick to the glass before it is "re-burned" by the secondary combustion.
This usually happens when you load up the firebox at night before you go to bed and damper the fire all the way down so you have enough coals to relight the fire in the morning. These smoldering fires will quickly dirty your glass.
To prevent the smoldering fire, most stove manufactures recommend opening up the air intake on the stove, creating a nice hot fire, then backing it down before you go to bed.
One of the easiest ways to clean dirty glass is by taking crumpled up damp newspaper and dipping it in the ashes found inside your firebox.
The fine ashes work great for removing the buildup on the glass. Simply rub the ashes on the glass in a circular motion and the results are amazing.
The newspaper and ashes method for cleaning the glass is a favorite among many wood stove users. You should avoid cleaning your glass when it's really hot. I like to clean mine in the morning when the stove is cool, which works out really well.
Vinegar is a substance that cleans a lot of things inside your home. From calcium deposits in your shower head, to that clogged coffee pot that just doesn't run as fast as is used to.....vinegar can also be used on your wood stove glass.
To make homemade wood stove glass cleaner, use a 2 to 1 mixture of water to vinegar.
Combine 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. This mixture works on both the inside and outside of the glass. Simply spray the homemade glass cleaner on the soot, allow it soak in for about 30 seconds then wipe it off with paper towel, newspaper or clean rag.
Just like other firewood topics, there's many different schools of thought regarding what works and what should be avoided.
For years I've used Windex and a razor blade to effectively clean those large stubborn deposits of buildup that won't come off using the methods above.
Some say the Windex contains ammonia and will etch the glass and others say a razor blade will scratch the glass, making the soot more likely to stick to the glass in the future.
In my experience, this method works great for the creosote deposits that build up on the outer edges of the glass.
In fact, the professional chimney cleaning company that I occasionally use in the fall uses a razor blade to clean my glass every time they come out.
Start by spraying the inside of the glass with widow cleaner.
Allow it to soak in for about 30 seconds then use a razor blade to scrape away the buildup on the glass.
If you keep the razor blade flat, you'll prevent damaging the glass with the sharp corners of the blade.
Finally, wipe down the glass with a paper towel and you're done.
As you can see in the photo below, this method works really well for removing the thick buildup that would normally require a lot of scrubbing.
There are a lot of commercial glass cleaners made specifically for wood stoves on the market to choose from.
Rutland's Conditioning Glass Cleaner works really well for removing tuff deposits without a lot of effort and it's my favorite commercial cleaner to use.
The stuff works great and it's simple to use. With many 5 star user ratings and its affordable price, it's a great product to have on hand for cleaning your dirty wood stove glass.
Learning how to clean wood stove glass is an easy task if you keep up on it and don't allow your glass to become extremely dirty.
A clean glass not only looks nice, but it also allows the heat from inside your stove to radiate out of the glass and effectively add more heat to your room.