I have a wood burning stove and sometimes the glass get covered in black soot from the fire. It's very hard work to clean off using a scouring sponge and water/washing up liquid.

Is there an easy way to clean the glass?

  • 2
    The 'black' is called soot or grime
    – Vogel612
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 22:10
  • I have tried many methods and the best is (but non-hack) the special spray cleaner for wood stove doors. Sorry.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 11:35

5 Answers 5

  1. Take some newspaper (or any paper that retains its form well when confronted with moisture and pressure) and crumble it into a ball.

  2. Dip the newspaper ball into water. (I hear that the effect is better with a little vinegar in the water)

  3. Then dip it in the ash in the stove with the wet side

  4. Wipe the glass with the newspaper. This may need some pressure.

That's it :)

This process works since the ash can easily bind the soot. The ash and the soot are two complementary parts that are 'created' in the process of burning wood

  • 2
    Works even better if you add a bit off vinegar in with the water Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 1:45
  • This works great. Using a tissue also works, if a newspaper is not available. But be careful about the ashes. If relatively large, not burnt wood pieces hidden in the ashes attaches to your newspaper, they might scratch the glass for good.
    – Koray
    Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 8:26

Soot is carbon particles that weren't burnt up, and will burn under the right circumstances. A good, complete combustion will burn the soot right off. Try making a fire that burns well (i.e. lots of oxygen), then there should be little to no soot left.

You may need to look into whether your stove burns inefficiently if you are getting large soot deposits on the glass. If the stove burns well, it should burn off the soot itself.

Large quantities of soot is an indicator (and a result of) an incomplete combustion.

This may (as is often the case) be caused by too little oxygen in the stove - that is, too low airflow.

  • Welcome to Lifehacks! Even though you give good information, this is not an actual answer on how to clean the glass. So it should possibly only be an comment. Take care in the future to actually answer the question.
    – holroy
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:57
  • 3
    It is, I suggest burning it off. Should I edit the answer to make that point more clear? And I would have commented with the incomplete combustion part, but unfortunately, I cannot comment as I do not have the rep for it here.
    – Kitalda
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:59
  • I read your question as how to avoid getting soot on the glass, not as how to clean it. And you do have a valid point that a more complete combustion leaves less soot. (Regarding the rep thingy, get some more rep on Parenting (i.e. >200), and you automatically get a 100 rep on all other sites. :)
    – holroy
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:03
  • Oh, I didn't know about that feature. Now I know :) Is it better now with the edit? Btw I think you mean answer, not question ;)
    – Kitalda
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 7:11

Very fine wire wool (1000 grade) is the best way to do this. Spray the glass with a little water, then rub firmly with the wire wool.

This was suggested to me by a stove dealer, and is the only method I've found that removes the thickest layers of burnt-on deposits.

  • I've also found that the finest grade (0000) wire wood makes a fantastic glass cleaner! Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 10:54

My personal favourite is to start the next fire, and before the fire gets too hot (after 5 mins?), clean the glass with a cheap scourer and water. If the glass is hot enough to turn water to steam, its too hot (and you will get burned). The elbow grease required for cleaning it when it's warm, compared to cold is trivial.


I have found that ashes from the wood burning stove on a damp terry cloth or paper towel work wonders. Then take a second dry terry cloth or dry paper towel and wipe again. Another solution to the problem is using 'Nothings Better' which is a hard water stain remover. Just follow the directions on the container. 'Nothings Better' comes in dry and paste. The dry is what works best my wood burning stove.

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