Cleaning Glass on a Woodburner





Introduction: Cleaning Glass on a Woodburner

About: Retired teacher from long ago and semi-retired graphic designer who loves the outdoors. American expat living in New Zealand for over 20 years.

Clean glass on a woodburner adds sparkle to your home. The flames (behind glass) are very lively and cheerful.

Step 1: 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

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

Wet the rag by dipping it into the clean water.

Step 4: 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

Keep rubbing, adding more ash and turning the rag over until the burnt-on dirt is gone.

Step 6: 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

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

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.

Step 9: Enjoy!

Now you can enjoy the cheerful flames for awhile until it is time to clean the glass again. It doesn't take long, can be done when there is still some heat in the fire (but not much), and is easier if not left too long.



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    26 Discussions

    To keep the glass cleaner, what you can do is burn a better type of wood. The harder the wood, and the drier it is (longer time for maturing), the cleaner your glass will stay. Also a good fresh air intake will help. Choke the fire and you will almost instantly get black deposits on your glass.

    Remember also that if your glass gets dirty quickly, the chimney will be the same. That builds up and will eventually becomes a risk. If you insist on burning soft woods or damp woods, you need to sweep your chimney more often as well.

    Burning in a Jotul F100 for over a month now and we haven't cleaned the glass yet. It has a brown haze on it but nothing that takes visibility away, yet. We burn eco-briquettes, softwoods as well as hardwoods and sometimes a bit of fresh wood as well. When we start to see a black deposit, we increase the air flow and throw on an eco-brick and it slowly burns off again.

    Will try the newspaper with ash tonight and see how that works. Clean glass is still better than a slight brown haze :-)

    5 replies

    True, dry hard wood is the best. For truly dry wood it needs to dry for a year per inch plus a year for good measure. We don't burn wood for about two years but don't want to store for four to six years. We never choke the fire, preferring to let it go out over night. I think you'll like getting rid of the brown haze on your glass.

    I am sure I will but I have to wait till the weekend for it not to be hot at bight when I come out of work :-)

    Our wood is not that old to be honest, I would say about one year max.

    I will post pictures like you did, before and after. Saturday morning is the day.

    And something else I noticed this morning. Every day you will find small areas of deposits on the window. When you light a new fire in the morning, before you put your crinkled up newspaper inside, use it to wipe the window. Dry as it is, it still removes the film from the window. It takes 5 seconds and after that you just burn the newspaper with your kindling.

    Job done and never have to worry about dirty glass anymore.

    Definitely looks better without a brown haze :-)

    Giving a quick wipe down with dry newspaper before lighting the fire is a great idea. You don't even need to sit on the floor to do that! Thanks for the tip and photos.

    Buying a product to do a job that can be done just as well for free is against the spirit of Instructables. I watched your video and using ash, newspaper and water is honestly just as fast. I don't think it is a coincidence that Byreman joined Instructables on the same day he posted a promo for Byretech.

    YES, quarter of Tshirt, one page under door, one page to clean. 2 china dishes, one ash, one water. Rubbed with wet ashy rag - two minutes (never been cleaned, completely black) , wiped with page . BRILLIANT and not really work at all ,.,, THANKYOU.

    1 reply

    Thank you, I'm glad you found it so easy.

    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.

    1 reply

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

    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.

    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!

    1 reply

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

    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!

    This is so easy & cheap & it really works in no time at all! i do it all the time 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

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

    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!

    1 reply

    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.