How to Clean Glass Doors on Your Wood-Burning Stove

by CountrySunshine

Step-by-step detailed instructions with photographs on using simple items to to clean glass doors on a wood-burning stove.

I’ve owned a wood-burning stove since 2009. I found early on that after burning wood for several days in a row, soot and creosote would build up on the stove’s glass door. In the beginning, I used commercial wood stove cleaning solutions, which worked quite well. However, the smell was overpowering, and I worried that I would be sickened by the chemicals in the solution.

After a bit of trial and error, I found two easier - and much greener - methods to clean. The first way is to burn only hard, seasoned wood. Not only will this keep your chimney from coating up with creosote, but it will burn off the heavier soot and grime from your glass. The second way is to use 3 simple items that you should have around your house. Using these two methods, your stove glass will be as good as new!

All photographs copyright L.C. Clifton / Country Sunshine

Items Needed:

  • Clean water.  It’s best if it’s room temperature or warmer, as it will take less scrubbing.
  • Paper towels or newspaper.  If you are using paper towels, make certain they are the stiffer, coarser ones.  Soft paper towels tend to leave lint behind.
  • Wood ashes from your stove.  Make certain they are cool enough to handle.  Please don’t burn your hands or catch the paper towels / newspaper on fire!

Step 1

Wet newspaper or paper towel with water








Using a paper towel or crumpled up sheet of newspaper, dip one end into fresh, clean water.  Do not wring it out.

Step 2

Wettened paper towel









Dip the saturated newspaper or towel into the wood ashes.   Use enough in order to make a thick paste. 

Step 3

Using a circular motion, apply damped ashes to glass









Rub the ashes onto the glass in a circular motion, making sure to cover the entire surface of the glass.

Step 4

Wipe off the ash residue with a clean, wet paper towel or newspaper.  If the glass is still dirty, repeat the steps above until the glass comes clean.

It may take several sheets of paper to get the glass clean, especially if this is the first time you have cleaned it.

Watch how easy it is!

I recently came across this YouTube video showing just how easy it is to clean your wood stove using my tips above.  As you can see, it only takes a couple of minutes!

Beware of these cleaning ideas:

How NOT to clean your stove's glass!

You may hear of other home remedies to clean your fireplace or wood stove glass.  While some work, they may also damage the glass or cause other damage to your home or person. 

  • Scraping glass with a razor blade
  • Using rubbing alcohol or ammonia - it may catch on fire or cause noxious fumes
  • Cleaning with an abrasive cleaner or steel wool, as it may scratch the glass
  • Wiping the glass with lighter fluid, especially when a fire is burning in your stove.
  • Applying oven cleaner. While it may clean the glass, it will remove the paint on the stove!

Pipe Cleaning

Creosote can build up in your stove pipe in addition to your stove's glass.  It is essential that the pipe is kept clean and free of creosote.  To remove the creosote, you'll need a chimney brush.

For newer stoves, you'll need a brush that is made of the softer poly material, rather than the metal.  This keeps the inside of your pipes from becoming scratched.

To use the brush, attach a handle of some sort (either purchased separately, or made from an old broom handle), and push the brush down your pipe from the roof.  As you push it down, twist it to break off the creosote.

It's a messy job, but it will clean your pipes, and keep a chimney fire from starting!

Do You Enjoy A Fire On Cool Evenings?

Watching a fire burn in my wood-burning stove is almost as enjoyable as the heat it puts out.  If I cannot see the fire burn, then I know it’s time to clean!

Have you tried cleaning your stove’s glass with water and ashes?  Do you know of any other tried-and-true methods? 


Copyright 2013-2017 L.C. Clifton / Country Sunshine
Originally published December 9, 2013 on Zujava.


Updated: 10/17/2017, CountrySunshine
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CountrySunshine on 05/10/2015

I am a procrastinator when it comes to cleaning my stove, but found the wet newspaper & ashes do the trick even when it is burned onto the glass. I haven't tried using a newspaper on its own. I'll try it next winter when the stove is back in use. Thanks for the tip!

dustytoes on 05/10/2015

This is a unique idea. I use dry newspaper and give the glass a wipe when I'm getting the fire ready to burn. When it gets really dirty I use stovetop glass cleaner, which works well. Now I have another option.

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