Cleaning glass doors on wood stoves

Lake Arrowhead, CA(Zone 9b)

Anyone have a sure-fire way to clean the inside of my glass door on my Regency hearth heater wood stove. I've tried several methods/products, and I can get it clean, but it is really difficult.


Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Hi Sue,
I also have a Regency heater wood stove, I've found a good product that gets it pretty clean and puts a silicone coating on it so it's easier to clean the next's called.."Rutland, Hearth and Grill Conditioning glass cleaner." Also the tough burnt on stuff can be scraped carefully with a razor blade. I've used a razor blade lots of times and just some minor scratches from my carelessness. If you can't find the glass cleaner up there, let me know, I'll send you some. Ok, hope this helps. We're going up to Arrowhead to look at cabins when it warms up up there!

Rome, Italy(Zone 8b)

Hi There. I have a similar wood stove and I am living in Italy, north of Rome,
and over here there aren't any products for sale for cleaning the glass on wood stoves, so I just had to figure out my own method, so here's what I am doing these days....

Every few days or when the glass needs cleaning, I just take a little warm soapy water (using dishwashing liquid), and brush it on the glass with a small kitchen type utility brush, then after that, gently clean the glass with a piece of steel wool and they come easily and perfectly clean this way ---- then just wipe off the dirt with a washcloth in clean water until they are well rinsed. I sometimes do this job while I am in the process of getting the fire going ---- it can be done at this time, or when the stove is cold, either way, and find that the warm soapy water first helps loosen the stuff on the glass.

Another idea is to take a cloth and put a little rubbing alcohol on it and wipe down the windows with this; I find this works very well if it is done on a pretty much daily basis, before there is any buildup.

Hope this helps!

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Thanks Alice, I'll try anything. I guess you have to clean these things everyday, right?
I think what I like about the Rutland product is that it puts a silicone coating and is supposed to make cleaning easier but still some of the wood I put in sure makes a mess on the glass.
Thanks again

Winchester, MA(Zone 6a)

First: Make sure you burn with a HOT fire, as this will burn of most of the creasote and soot on the glass. If you can adjust the flue and air intake so the fire laps on or near the glass, all the better. It may take a few fires but clearing the heavy residue from the door will make cleaning the remainder much easier. I then use glass cleaner on a COLD glass and use a small amount of wood ash on a rag dampened with glass cleaner on stubborn spots. (This is the only abrasive I use.) With a little elbow grease this will work.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I always left a soapy residue on the glass, drying it with a paper towel.

Gold Bar, WA

The only product that I have used to clean the glass of my wood burning stove is white vinegar, and for the thicker or heavier layers I add some "Barkeepers Friend to the towel that is moist with white vinegar. It works for me, even if I forget to wash down the glass as often as I should.

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

I have a Pacific energy woodstove and on occasion if I have burned wet wood or green wood I get the blackened window .. sure looks gross.
I spoke to the folks who sold me the unit and they recommended vinegar and lil dishsoap .. preferably applied and removed when the window isn't too hot :-)
They also suggested some commercial products but I tried the vinegar one and was very pleased with the results :-)

Good luck


Lake Arrowhead, CA(Zone 9b)

Thanks to all of you who responded to my question. I haven't been able to get back to this site for way too long due to "stuff". I sure appreciate the good ideas.


Murfreesboro, TN

Try wet ashes. Make a paste and scrub. Also you might try lighter fluid.

Estell Manor, NJ

Tried the glass cleaner with a little ash to scrub hard to clean areas. What a great trick!!! I was on my way out to get glass cleaner from the dealer. Guess I will skip it now!

Slingerlands, NY

Make sure you are burning with Hard Seasoned Wood, this makes a huge difference. I have a Country Wood Stove and I clean it maybe once a week. (I burn all day and night) I clean the glass door when the stove is still warm, not hot; make sure you put on some good gloves. I use dish soap and water and once in a while I use household glass cleaner.

Good Luck

Kansas City, MO

I brush my chimney & clean my fireplace insert (stove) out at the beginning of the season. To clean the glass, I use a new razor blade (actually an utility knife blade) and lay it close to flat - against the glass...and just scrape it clean. Its quick and does not scratch the glass. Then vacuum up the scrapped residue.

Glendale/Parks, AZ

I have a Lopi and burn only pine. After having a constantly dirty door last year, I learned how to operate the stove so that the door is dirty no more. Sometimes in the morning there is build-up but a hot fire burns it right off. The key for me was learning how to manage the air flow. And, as Theresaemma says, seasoned wood is a must.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I've noticed too that some mornings the glass will have just a little brown on it but burns off quickly once more wood is added. Rtl, can you explain how you learned to manage the air flow? I'm still struggling with that but the more I burn, it seems the less I have to clean.
And yes, the razor blade does work great but I have tiny scratches from it...I can live with that.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Our glass on our woodstove cleans nicely with a window wash product when cold or cool. Just gets a little sooty. We do not burn pine, but do burn some birch and I think that helps dirty the window.
The problem I have is with the fireplace, as someone (I will not name, because I would have to yell at myself) filled the rack with dry wood and paper and lit it and walked away, forgetting to open the draft. Luckily I walked back into the room to see huge flames licking the glass and black smoke. I was able to squeek open the doors and with a long glove hotpad, open the draft and then shoot all the fire alarms that were going off. (not really, I had to air them out) But the glass on the fireplace doors are now gray and smoky. It doesn't want to clean off with amonia, glass cleaner or ashes. Maybe I will try the razor approach. carefully.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Yes cparts, very carefully or you will have to yelling at someone about scratching the glass like I did!

Glendale/Parks, AZ

weegy I went to the dealer I bought the stove from and told him of my problems. He spent time re-educating me regarding the workings of my stove. I was loading my stove up, letting the fire get to a roaring stage, then choking it down as one would do for a night burn. Consequently, I had a constantly dirty glass to contend with. Now, I never choke it down except for the night burn. He also stressed making sure the wood was dry but also said that wood drys very quickly in Arizona. I would like to find some oak for next year but it is not as plentiful as the pine. Most people here burn pine or juniper during the day and oak if they have it during the night.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I am sure pine is fine to burn, but it has to be dry like any other wood. We just use it here for campfires, as we have other wood to burn.

Here, we let oak set for 3 years, most wood for 2 years. We also have found that some standing dead wood (even though sound) does not burn as well as green and dried.
Of course storms and wind keep us supplied with wood for 3 years ahead, easily.

We have an overubunbance of poplar trees. Many do not like burning this wood. I love it, and use it on the coldest days as it burns very hot. If it is cut large, the wood burns long and burns down to ash, not charcoal chunks like cherry or oak.

I haven't seen any problems with glass when choking the stove. As long as the wood is not touching the glass, we have had no problems there.

Hawthorne, NV

haha boy do i feel like a tard, almost never clean glass now im gonna have to. feel like dirty boy. usually i just burn some manzanita and it is clean in the morning.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I only clean mine when I can't see the wood burning. Usually it cleans itself pretty well.

Wood like birch really gums up the window.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

My last stove (Jøtul) had an air-flow wash by the glass. This older Vermont Castings stove here doesn't and I sure miss that feature.

Riverton, UT

The best cleaner I've found for soot smudges is ammonia (from the grocery store) on a paper towel. I've used only regular ammonia, but I'm nearly certain that sudsy ammonia would work just as well. Of course the ammonia shouldn't be used until the stove is at room temperature.

I also want to agree with the gal from Michigan...that poplar makes a fine fire. It may not have the longest burn time or the most enduring coals, but it has made many a cozy fire on a cold day, it is easy to cut, it grows fast, and it grows just about everywhere.

Shenandoah Valley, VA

I sure hope that those of you who are burning green and soft woods like pine are spending the money to get your chimney cleaned frequently because you have a perfect recipe for chimney fires otherwise.

Not burning your fire hot enough builds up a lot of dangerous creosote in the chimney too.

Cincinnati, OH

A light, quick spray of Windex or similar window cleaner, then a few seconds with a razor blade is all it takes to clean the glass doors on my fireplace insert. Easy and fast.

Seville, OH

You people are going to think I`m nuts but the guy I bought my Lopi insert from told me to use ashes. After I clean out the ashes I wet a waded up sheet of newspaper and dip it in the ash bucket. Then I rub the newspaper with the wet ashes on the glass. Kinda messy so I put newspaper under the door. I use this method when I have some real baked on stains. Makes a smeary mess on the glass but then I finish the job with a clean paper towel and windex. Comes out perfect

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Not so nuts at all... wood ashed were used a lot for polishing...

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Windex turned my window a rainbow color. I 've heard not to use windex on them, you have no trouble argusy? I've used ashes too, you're right, messy.

Seville, OH

No, I`ve never noticed that but our glass is only 9in x 15in so it might not be as noticeable. You don`t use it on the glass when it`s hot do you?

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

No, not when it's hot. I quit using it after I noticed the rainbow, pretty rainbow, but I don't want it there! I only use the Rutland product I mentioned above and it's doing a great job, there's some protectant in it and I notice that it's much easier to clean and keep clean.

Hammondsport, NY

burn seasoned, dry hard wood......get a stove top/chimney thermometer and follow the recommended temp ..the ash washes off easily with simple green or soap and water....

Shenandoah Valley, VA

cpartschick, pine isn't fine to burn, even when seasoned. The soft woods all have a lot more sap, which creates a lot more creosote when burned. You should never burn anything but seasoned hardwood.

johnnierotten is right, burn the right wood and burn the fire hot enough and you won't have all that hard to remove creosote mess on your glass. Most of the time, I can use just water to clean the glass on my stoves.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Then I must be using the right wood, I've been able to clean the glass without much effort!

Chester, CT

we have a masonry heater and can burn pine and brush- which i do in the spring and fall. i clean the glass only every week or two with damp newspaper dipped in some ash. then wipe dry with more newspaper. it does a pefect job.
a chimneysweep told me that pine does not have more sap than hardwood. everyone else seems to think it does. i just know that even burning hot and fast, the pine dirties the glass doors more than hardwood does.
i just love having a fire!

Shenandoah Valley, VA

Your chimney sweep is crazy and apparently never did any woodworking. If you don't believe me, cut a fresh limb off a pine tree, cut another one off a hardwood tree. See which one leaves sticky resin all over your hands.

Yreka, CA

This will take off the nasty baked on soot. Takes about 5 minutes, 4 of which you are waiting.

Brookville, PA(Zone 5a)

i have also used fine steel wool to take the stuff off the glass. this you can do while the stove is still warm..i have a soapstone great.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I just open the doors over a piece of newspaper and scrape with a single-edged razor blade. (I might have said that before since this thread has been around a while.)

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

An odd question here from someone who just got their first wood stove insert, but could you define "hot enough"? We have had the stove for one week and burn only seasoned Oak and the glass is now mostly black ... FWIW, it's a new VT Castings insert.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I have found with our stove, that the blackness mostly comes with smoke. If you fill the stove and choke it off to burn slowly, it starts to smoke for a while and that makes the glass black.

I remember once, I had our fireplace all set to light. We don't use it everyday like the woodstove. Anyway, I lit it and went about my chores and after 5 minutes, found I forgot to open the draft. That was fun, trying to get the draft open with a roaring fire going and black smoke behind the glass doors. I had to remove the doors (later) and clean them. They looked like tinted windows on a truck. LOL

If we have a hot fire, we put wood it and crack the door open an inch (with flue open) until it lights well, the glass stays cleaner.

We still clean the glass about once a month. I like seeing the fire clearly.

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