How Should I Keep My Stove Clean?

There are many reasons why having a wood-burning stove in your home is a great idea. It will create a great centre point for the room around which you can plan the rest of your furniture and design. What’s more, a wood-burning stove can provide warmth and low-level lighting without the need to pay extra on your energy bills.

But if there is one problem that a lot of people find, it is that they struggle to keep their wood-burning stove clean. However, this doesn’t need to be a massive job and keeping your wood-burning stove clean needn’t be as much of a challenge as you might think.

We won’t suggest that you set up a strict cleaning routine for your wood-burning stove but it is important that you do keep up the maintenance on it. While there is no specific timeframe, it can be useful to set a time every so often to clean your wood burner.

However, the frequency will largely depend on how often you use the stove. For example, during the summer months, you may not need to clean it as often as you would when it is being heavily used in the cold winter months.

The type of fuel that is used in the wood burner can also greatly impact how often it needs to be cleaned.

If you have a multi-fuel stove then you may use things like coal or peat and these are typically much less ‘clean’ burning than wood. For this reason, you may find that you have to clean the stove more frequently.

How To Clean The Interior Of Your Wood-Burning Stove

We know how disheartening it can be to be confronted with a pile of ash and not being sure what to do with it. The last thing you want is a laborious cleaning mission when you could be doing more interesting things.

But the good news is that, provided you keep on top of it, your wood-burning stove will be pretty easy to clean.

You will notice that on most modern wood-burning stoves, there is an ashpan. This makes cleaning a whole lot easier. In some cases, there may also be a grate which can be opened, allowing the ashes to fall into the pan which can then be removed and emptied.

But you must be mindful to stay on top of emptying the pan as you do not have the ashes to start overflowing; this will require much more effort to clean up.

Deep Cleaning The Interior

Regardless of the ashpan, some ash and debris will remain inside the stove; this is unavoidable. But again, if you perform regular maintenance, you will notice that cleaning doesn’t take a huge amount of effort.

One of the first things you should keep in mind is that your wood burner will get very hot and you should never attempt to clean it before it has fully cooled down.

When it is cooled, you can begin by sweeping any remaining ash out of the stove using a dustpan and brush. It is important not to be too vigorous when you are doing this, otherwise, you may find yourself sitting in a dust cloud and that isn’t very pleasant.

Alternatively, you could use the extension on your vacuum cleaner to remove the final pieces of debris.

Once you have removed everything from the inside of the wood-burning stove, do make sure that you check the seals for any ash. If there is any present, gently brush this away.

How To Clean The Exterior Of Your Wood-Burning Stove

Typically, wood-burning stoves are made from cast iron. The reason for this is that this material is incredibly strong and durable as well as being heat-resistant.

However, cast iron can be tricky to keep clean as using cleaning chemicals and liquids can leave it looking lacklustre and will often result in streaks.

The best way to keep the exterior of your wood burner looking its best is to use a brush to remove any dust. You can also use your vacuum cleaner or a soft cloth to wipe over the surface.

If your wood-burning stove is looking a little worse for wear, you can use iron paste to restore it. But this is not something that will need to be done all the time and only when the stove needs to be restored.

How To Clean The Glass Door Of Your Wood-Burning Stove

Most wood-burning stoves feature a glass door so that you can see what is going on inside. Not only does this mean that you can monitor the fire but it also gives these pieces of equipment a much greater aesthetic appeal.

But as many of us are aware, glass can be notoriously difficult to keep clean, mainly because it will streak or become cloudy.

However, keeping the glass door clean will give your wood-burning stove a much nicer overall look and there are a few easy ways you can maintain it.

Much like cleaning the other components of the oven, you should always make sure that you clean the glass when it is cool. This is not only important for your safety but will also prevent the glass from shattering.

  • Use a piece of old newspaper that has been dipped in ash to buff the glass. It might sound counterproductive to rub ash all over your stove door but this method is extremely effective. When you have finished, you can use a cloth to remove any left-over ash.
  • Ammonia is a very effective cleaning solution, especially for glass. Dilute it in water and spray it onto the glass before wiping with a clean cloth.
  • Alternatively, normal household cleaning products like glass cleaners and multi-purpose cleaners can be used to clean the glass door on a wood-fired stove.
  • If all else fails, it is possible to burn off any marks that appear on your glass door. Not only will this method keep the glass looking clean but it will also be beneficial to the flue.

How To Clean The Flue/Chimney Of Your Wood-Burning Stove

While it is possible to clean the flue of your wood-burning stove yourself, we would always advise hiring a chimney sweep to do this for you – yes, they do still exist.

It can be off-putting to hire a professional to do this job for you since it will mean that you incur additional costs. However, there are advantages to this.

  • Your flue only needs to be cleaned annually so the cost won’t break the bank. What’s more, on average, a full flue clean in the UK doesn’t cost any more than around £100.
  • A professional chimney sweep will ensure that the job is done correctly and safely.
  • You will save time having to do the job yourself.

Again, we would reiterate that hiring a chimney sweep is always the best option. However, if for some reason you must do the job yourself, it is important to do so safely.

There are lots of tools that you can buy to aid you in doing this and the job will require you to use wire brushes to clear any residue from inside the flue. It is worth keeping in mind that cleaning the flue is a difficult and lengthy job so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to finish it.

You should always wear safety goggles as well as a dust mask as there will be a lot of dust. You will also want to protect your furniture and flooring by laying dust covers.

Conclusion

If you have taken the leap to add a wood-burning stove to your room then you will appreciate the many advantages that these heating systems can have. But you may have also noticed that they can be particularly tricky to keep clean, owing to all the ash and the build-up of debris.

But don’t let that put you off, cleaning your wood-burning stove doesn’t need to be a mammoth task. With regular cleaning and removal of the ash, your wood stove will always look in tip-top condition.

Don’t forget that it is also an excellent idea to hire the services of a professional chimney sweep once a year to clean the flue.

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