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How to Clean and Maintain a Modern Wood Burning Stove

A wood burning stove is not an appliance that you will have to replace as with a dishwasher or clothes dryer. These units are made to last for many years and some older stoves from up to 100 years ago are still in perfect working order today. The key to keeping your modern stove in good working order is maintenance and cleaning. Here are some tips to help your stove outlast every appliance in your home.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is upon us and even though you have kept your wood burning stove clear of large debris, it is time to really give it a good cleaning. By cleaning out your wood stove during the spring, you can rest assured that you will have little trouble getting it going once the weather turns cold once again. It is also recommended that you re-clean the interior of the stove just before the first lighting to ensure that no small critters have found their way into the fire box.

Clean the Glass

The beauty of a wood burning stove shines out through perfectly maintained glass, but if the glass becomes foggy and filled with soot, the entire unit will not look as good as it should. Sooty glass can be the result of an improper draught or lighting the fire incorrectly. It is easy to clean with the proper technique. Soot is easily removed with the ashes in the stove.

Simply dampen a cloth and dip it into the ashes. Rub the cloth in a circular motion and the soot should come off easily. It this trick does not work, most manufacturers have a specialised cloth that removes the soot without the use of water or any cleaner. Be sure not to use a cleaner that is known to be flammable for obvious reasons.

Surface and Interior

Cleaning out the firebox of any wood burning stove is essential. Buildup of ashes will cause the unit to produce more smoke rather than a hot fire. Start cleaning by removing any large piece of unburned wood and discarding it.

Next, remove the majority of the ashes with a brush or small handled broom. It is best to remove the ashes into a metal container for safety purposes, but the cleaning should always be done when the unit is completely cool.

When the ashes are removed, use a vacuum hose with brush attachment to get into the corners of the unit. After that, a dry cloth can be used to further clean the interior of the unit. The same cloth can be used for the exterior, but it is recommended that you never use a damp cloth for surface cleaning as it can cause the unit to rust.

Paint Scratches

Your wood stove is meant to be a beautiful addition to your home, but over time, wear and tear on the unit can make it look dated. This is especially true if the unit has exterior paint scratches. Repainting the stove is easy, but the average paint is not able to withstand the high heat of the unit, so it is highly recommended that you only used heat resistant paint. The place where you purchased the stove will likely have the exact match for the paint and it is sure to be heat resistant. Before painting, ensure that the entire surface is clean, otherwise the paint will not adhere properly.

Check Gaskets

A stove is meant to keep the heat by tight gaskets to maintain the proper pressure within the unit. These gaskets can wear down overtime, so when performing maintenance check for any lose gaskets. They can be purchased from the retailer you purchased the unit from and replacing them will increase the overall life of the unit.


Quite possibly one of the most importance maintenance tips is to have your unit inspected annually. An annual inspection costs little, but maintains the supreme functionality of the stove. Professional inspectors check the unit for proper ventilation and that the flue is clear and free of creosote. Inspections on the unit should ideally be done just before the first lighting of the season.

A properly maintained wood burning stove will outlast most of the appliances in your home and investing in such an economical heat source will improve the comfort of your home. A modern wood burning stove is not only functional for optimal heat, but is a beautiful addition to any home.