Can a Wood Burning Stove Rust?

Can a wood burning stove rust? The short answer is yes, but thankfully there are things you can do to stop it.

Below we will cover why stoves rust, what to do if your burner is starting to rust, and how to stop it from happening.

Can a Wood Burning Stove Rust?

Why do Wood Burning Stoves Rust?

As we’ve already highlighted, wood stoves can and will rust if not properly cleaned and maintained. Whilst this is important to know, it’s more important to know why your stove might rust, and what the specific causes can be.

Summer Rain

If you live in a particularly wet part of the country, you’ll know just how destructive even the smallest amount of constant rain or moisture can cause. Heck, even if you’ve experienced a small undiscovered leak in your home, you’ll understand.

For those with a wood burning stove, rain can be particularly destructive if it goes unchecked. In this case, if you’re using a traditional chimney, rain goes down the chimney and into the furnace. This isn’t a huge problem during the winter, as the heat will just evaporate the water again.

But, because most of us don’t use our stoves as often during the summer, the water is more likely to lay there and cause rust over a prolonged period of time.

One potential solution could be to use a chimney cowl to stop water entering the chimney. And it can also help to light a summer fire occasionally, to evaporate any water that remains. There are also plenty of other chimney and stove covers available to consider.


Another common cause of rust is condensation.

Metal is a very absorbent material. When a room is hot, the metal will also be hot. But, if a room is cold, the metal will also be cold. Cold metal is not a problem in and of itself, but in a damp room, the water can condensate on the cold metal and cause rust over time.

As you might know, from other areas of home improvement or renovation, a poorly ventilated room is far more susceptible to dampness.

To avoid condensation simply undertake the most common solutions. In this case you should open some windows, use an extractor fan, or get a dehumidifier. A combination of these actions will help remove moisture and dampness from the air.

Also, if possible try to not dry your clothes in the same room as your stove, as this will increase the moisture levels.

Stale Air

In the summer due to lack of use, most stove owners will keep the stove door closed for long stretches of time. This is understandable as most of us would think why should you open it if you’re not using it?
But common sense doesn’t always make sense (see what we did there?), as when air is trapped in the stove this lack of air movement can cause corrosion.

The solution is simply to leave the stove door open, even cracked slightly, if you haven’t used it in a while.

Other Objects

The final most common cause of rust in stoves is other objects.

Many stove owners like to decorate our burners when we’re not using it. Often with flowers or houseplants. However, putting anything on your stove limits the air supply around it, causing your stove to be surrounded by staler air.

Add to this the moisture from plants, and you’ve got a recipe for rust.

The solution is simply to keep your stove bare and keep your flowers elsewhere in the room.

What to Do if you See Rust on your Wood Burning Stove?

If your stove has started to rust, don’t worry. But, you must get things sorted before they progress and deteriorate further.

To clean rust from a stove, you’ll first need some wire wool. In small circular motions, use the wool to scrape off any rust – you might want to lay down some old newspaper or bedsheets, so the rust doesn’t damage your floor.

Once the rust has been loosened by the wool, you should be able to remove it with a damp cloth using cool water and nothing else. Once your stove is clean, get a dry cloth to remove the moisture leftover from the damp cloth.

You should do all of the above at the first sign of rust. If you let the rust get too thick, it could damage the structural integrity of the stove. If you’ve ever experienced rust in a car or another appliance, you’ll know just how destructive it can be if left unchecked.

If you don’t currently see any rust, but want to protect against potential rusting in future then you could consider painting the stove. The paint will form a barrier between the air and the metal but be sure to use proper stove paint.

Regular paint, not meant for stove use, will melt at the extreme temperatures stoves reach so trust us when we say choosing the right paint is crucial.

How to Stop your Wood Burning Stove from Rusting

And now before we finish, some general advice on stopping a stove from rusting:

1. Keep it clean!
A dirty stove will create stale air, which will erode the metal.

2. Keep water away.
Be that water from the air or water from nearby houseplants. Water speeds up the rusting process and is best avoided.

3. Cover the stove in the summer.
This might not be possible for everyone. But if you can, cover the stove when you’re not using it.

4. Use dry wood.
When using your stove, use dry wood when possible. If the water in moist wood doesn’t entirely evaporate, it could stay in the stove even after cleaning to eventually cause rust. Make sure anything you burn contains no more than 20% moisture.

We hope this helps!

With a bit of general preparation and maintenance, you should have a rust-free stove to enjoy for years to come. For everything else home heating, stick with