Picture of Cleaning glass on a woodburner
Clean glass on a woodburner adds sparkle to your home. The flames (behind glass) are very lively and cheerful.
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Step 1: Dirty glass

Picture of Dirty glass
Glass on a woodburner gets dirty from burning wet wood or wood with a lot of resin in it. Gradually it gets so dirty it's not possible to see inside.

Step 2: The cleaning kit

Picture of The cleaning kit
The cleaning kit is simple and cheap. The only item which needs to be purchased is the rubber glove.
A plastic bag stores the rubber glove.
A rag is ideal for the actual cleaning but folded up sheets of newspaper work, just not as well. These rags are used only once but one old T-shirt cleans a lot of glass.
Folded up sheets of newspaper wipe off the film.
One plastic container holds wet ash.
One holds clean water.
The bottom of a two litre or half gallon milk container is ideal.
Full size sheets of newspaper go on the floor under the open door.

Step 3: Wet the rag

Picture of Wet the rag
Wet the rag by dipping it into the clean water.

Step 4: The ash paste

Picture of The ash paste
Dip the wet rag into the ash paste or into the ash in the firebox.

Step 5: Rub ash onto the glass

Picture of Rub ash onto the glass
Keep rubbing, adding more ash and turning the rag over until the burnt-on dirt is gone.

Step 6: Wipe off the film

Picture of Wipe off the film
Wipe the film off with the folded up newspaper squares. Fold the square over and back on itself to expose clean sides. When too dirty or wet to clean use another piece of newspaper. I usually use three half sheets. If the film is stubborn you can dip the newspaper into water.

Step 7: The clean glass

Picture of The clean glass
This photo was taken from the same position as the dirty glass in step number one. It took less than ten minutes to clean up. The dirtier the glass is the longer it takes.

Step 8: Finishing up

Picture of Finishing up
Roll up the top sheet of the newspaper that was protecting the floor with the rag and smaller pieces of newspaper. Throw away.
Fold up the rest of the newspaper and put out with your recycling.
Store the rubber glove in the plastic bag, and the two plastic containers until next time. I store mine under the washtub in the laundry because it is nearby.
bluidmidget3 months ago

I don't use a rag, just newspaper -- crinkle it up, dip it in some hot or warm water, dip it in some ash that's already in the fireplace, and then start scrubbing and change out the newspaper when I need to. Follow-up with newspaper and clean water and then dry newspaper to finish it off. Whatever newspaper I've used for this job then gets thrown in my inside woodpile to use as starting fuel after it's dry.

I've learned that burning hardwoods (instead of woods like pine) will keep the glass (and chimney/insert) from getting so grimy. And although I've heard different stories, a cup of salt thrown in on the flame for every 8 hours of burning also helps, at least at my house.

Thanks for this instructible.

ClareBS (author)  bluidmidget3 months ago

Thanks for the tips, yes newspaper works well. I'll look into the salt too.

ClareBS (author) 4 months ago

Hi Jon, I'm glad you found this before buying a chemical product. This is easy and free, what could be better?

JonB114 months ago

Brilliant. We've had a woodburner for a week and the glass was already dirty. I was just about to go out and buy some glass cleaner from our local wood burner shop and thought I'd just look on google before I went. I'm glad I did! This technique has worked perfectly. Thank you for putting it online.

WendyK35 months ago

All I can say is ... wow! This is so useful. I just tried it on our (2-week-old) woodburner, which was already really dirty, and it worked like magic! I'm so glad I don't have to use toxic oven cleaners, which the stove manufacturer recommends. Thanks so much for this!

ClareBS (author)  WendyK35 months ago

Glad you found the instructable useful. It's easy, non-toxic and free—a winning combination.

ClareBS (author) 5 months ago

Hi Sue,

It is a pain to clean often. I clean when I get really frustrated, every 3 to 7 days. If anyone has a tip on keeping the glass clean I'd love to hear it!

SueR35 months ago

This is so easy & cheap & it really works in no time at all! i do it all the time now....but...is there any way to keep the glass clean longer? Even tho this is easy, it's still a pain in the butt to clean it & then 3 or 4 hours later it needs done again

womble esq1 year ago

garogers, if the glass is not damaged, try bicarb mixed into a paste with water, but sounds like the heat has got in

garogers2 years ago
Hi my problem is a white/greyish film like covering on my glass to date I've tired vinegar, lemon juice, CIF, oven cleaner, hob cleaner, wet ash, hot water, newspaper storax woodburner glass cleaner and nothing has worked I am still left with this white/greyish film any ideas would be so appreciated as pulling my hair out!
ClareBS (author)  garogers2 years ago
That must be frustrating, I don't know the answer but maybe someone does. As a last resort maybe you could get a new piece of glass installed. I had new gaskets put in so I know, at least on my woodburner, the glass comes out.
ClareBS (author)  RoyalWindowCleaners3 years ago
Thank you, that is high praise from a professional window cleaner.
gypsyvet3 years ago
I will try that. A friend said she thought it was something simple, but she couldn't remember what. We tried glass cleaner, baking soda, baking powder, nylon scrubber, but nothing worked. I will try the scraper. Thanks.
putipa3 years ago
cool thanks
dog_on_mars4 years ago
Nicely broken down. I use this simple method too.
As for the "The dirtier the glass is the longer it takes." it doesn't have to be that way... When I have very old and thick burns I usually remove with a window scraper (glass is harder so it causes no scratches and it goes off really fast).
Joe Martin5 years ago
What a wonderful, natural technique!