How To Clean and Maintain Your Stove in 6 Easy Steps
We’re here to take the mystery out of cleaning and maintaining your wood-burning stove with some simple practical steps.
Why Should You Clean Your Stove?
During these months of fuel inflation and rising utility bills, keeping your stove clean will make it more efficient and cost-effective.
It is also wise to maintain your stove regularly before problems accumulate and more costly repairs may be needed.
Keeping your fire stove clean will increase the lifetime of your equipment, saving you even more money in the long term.
In addition, it’s just one more thing to help you keep your living space spick and span, making you feel better on those cosy nights where you can rest easy knowing every part of your room has been cleaned.
Practical Tips Before You Clean Your Stove
Make it a habit and choose your times wisely
- We recommend you clean fortnightly in winter. Do clean your stove more regularly when you start to use it more frequently in winter.
- During the warmer months, you could do it monthly if it has been used less regularly
- If you have not done it in ages, be sure to do it just before Autumn sets into Winter. Also, make sure you do it as part of your spring clean after Christmas. This will keep your stove working optimally for the harsh winter months at the start of the year.
- Choose your fuel wisely
- Burning dry wood in your stove instead of painted or varnished wood that has been treated with chemicals.
- Try to avoid throwing other materials like plastics and metal crisp packets into the stove as you will make it harder to clean out the remnants of those non-organic materials.
Treat each of your stove parts separately with different cleaning tactics. The separate parts are:
- The exterior
- The interior
- The flue
- The glass door
- Get your cleaning products and essential equipment ready and stocked. Check out our handy shopping list and Checklist for this project at the bottom of the blog.
6 Steps For Cleaning & Maintaining Your Stove
Step 1. How to Clean the Stove Interior
- First things first: Protect your floor and furnishings with some old newspaper paper or floor coverings. Protect your hands with protective DIY gloves. You may want to have a facemask on at this stage to protect your lungs from any fine ash.
Clean out the ash into a fireproof bucket or ash pan with a small shovel. Watch for dying embers and move slowly and gently to avoid spreading the fine ash.
- Once done, shine a torch and look inside. Check all other residues are removed and that the firebricks or interior surfaces are intact and not broken
Step 2. How to Clean The Glass Door on Your Stove
Wipe the stove glass window clean to give you the best light and a good view of your flame when the stove is in use.
- Use a stove glass cleaner and leave it on for five minutes.
- A dedicated glass cleaner for stoves (See our Checklist) will be more efficient. These works faster to dissolve tough tar & creosote deposits, as well as smoke stains on solid fuel stoves. It will not damage painted/enamelled surfaces or surroundings.
Remove the scum with a damp rag.
Remove soot on the glass by dipping a damp it into the wood ashes. Rub in a circular motion and the soot should come off easily. This will not work with coal ashes as this will scratch the glass.
Watch out for cracks or damage as you may remove the glass and arrange for repair in this case.
Did you know that a very sooty glass door indicates that the fire is not being lit correctly or there may be a draft?
You may also need to check the kind of wood fuel you are using tarred wood will leave a residue.
Step 3. How to Clean the Exterior of Your Stove
Now you have a clean interior, you are ready to clean the outside of your fire stove.
- If there is a lot of dust, use the brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner.
- Alternatively or even in follow-up, use a dry cloth to remove stubborn marks and accumulate dirt.
- Don’t use a damp cloth as this may lead to rust on the stove surface
Step 4. How to Restore the Exterior of Your Stove
- If you spot rust patches you can use a rust remover or a gently applied metal brush. Be sure to wipe up the debris with a dustpan as it's dangerous to have rust residue lying about.
- To restore any areas that need painting, start by protecting the handles, glass doors and fittings with masking tape first. You will also need to protect yourself with a mask and your furnishings.
- Use special stove paint. If applying via a spray can, you may want to hold it between 10-12 inches from the surface when applying. Give the paint plenty of time to dry out before using your stove. An hour will do.
- You should also check and clean the grate. If needs be repaint with special Grate Paint.
- You can protect the slate hearth by resealing it. This will ensure you retain the original colour and make it easier to clean in the future. A good brick and stone sealer should enhance and protect all masonry fire surrounds - for both indoor and outdoor use. It will also allow the masonry to breathe.
Before you reseal the slate surface, clean it and leave it clean for four days before applying anything.
- Start by removing any loose dirt and ash by sweeping it away.
- Use a heavy-duty floor cleaner and hot water to scrub the hearth clean.
- You should also mop up the excess scummy water.
- Once done, make sure you wipe it with clear water and just dry it clean with an old rag.
Step 5. How to Clean the Stove Flue or Chimney
We think the wisest thing to do is to get the services of an official chimney sweep first, especially if you have not done this in a long time as there might be a lot to do.
The aim is to clean out all excess soot that has accumulated in your chimney.
The DIY method can be used - get a drain rod with a brush attached to clear out your stove chimney. If there are bends in your chimney this will be difficult with an inflexible device.
You will have to do this from your roof. This is why we think an expert practitioner is still the wisest move.
Step 6. Day to Day Stove Maintenance Tips
There are some things you can do regularly to make sure your stove stays in good working order.
- In winter burn the stove for at least 30 minutes a day to help your flue stay clear
Leave the air inlets open and the door ajar. This will allow a flow of air through the chimney and help you keep it dry.
Applying slate oil to your slate hearth will go a long way to improving its appearance and keeping it easy to clean. The slate oil will repel dirt on a daily basis reducing the accumulation of grime.
Checklist For Your Stove Cleanout Project
Here are some essential items that you will need before kicking off your stove cleaning session.
- Old newspaper to protect your floor and nearby soft furnishings. An old towel or floor covering will also do.
- A Set of protective gloves
- A Vacuum cleaner and soft brush attachment or Ash vacuuming device
- A soft, lint-free cloth and damp rags
- A small ash shovel
- A metal ash container - could be an ash pan, metal bucket or fireproof metal container
- A spray bottle
- Slate oil and Brush
- Stain Blocker
- Heavy Duty Floor cleaner
- A small hard-bristled brush
- Stove Glass Cleaner
- Stove Paint
- Grate Paint
- Glass Cleaner
- Brock and Stone Sealer
- Ash Vac
- Medium grade Steel wool
Find more household cleaning materials and fluids specifically designed for a deep in the Cleaning section of our online catalogue before heading down to the stores.