How Often to Clean a Wood Stove

Most of you will know that you should clean your stove. But, how often?

A stove is an investment. Normally well-built and well maintained stoves can last decades, and cleaning is an important part of this process. Below we’ll cover everything you need to know about the frequency of stove cleaning.

How Often to Clean a Wood Stove: Best Practice

We would recommend cleaning your stove at least once a month. This is to prevent excessive build-up of dust and other dirt particles.

During the winter, when you use your stove more often, it becomes wise to clean it more often. We recommend cleaning your stove at least once a week during the months you use it as wear, tear and dirt will all naturally increase with your frequency of use.

And twice a year, you should give it a deep clean to ensure all the small parts that aren’t usually cleaned, such as the catalytic converter, can do the job as expected.

So, just to clarify. You should clean your stove once a month when you’re not using it, once a week when you use it, and a deep clean twice a year.

We recommend doing the deep clean in the middle and at the end of the “wood stove using season”.

However, even if cleaning isn’t scheduled, you should clean it as soon as possible if you notice any issues.

Signs You Need to Clean your Wood Stove:

As with other home appliances, a stove must be cleaned and maintained. Without proper cleaning a stove can become dangerous or simply less efficient, eventually costing you more money in fuel and wasted energy.

If you haven’t owned or maintained a wood burner before, watch out for the below signs as signals that you need to clean your stove:

Creosote build-up

Creosote is a thick, black, sticky substance caused by smoke cooling before it can escape via the flue. A build-up of this substance can cause your stove to become dirty and smoke to bellow out into the room.

Blackened glass

Being able to see the fire is a vital part of being able to control it. If the stove glass has become blackened with creosote, you will need to clean it.

Ash build-up

A small amount of ash is good for insulation. But when there is too much, the ash will absorb more heat than it should, causing the fire to burn inefficiently.

Unpleasant smells

This one speaks for itself. An unpleasant smell will usually indicate foul play or potential issues in the near future. If and when you do smell something (unrelated to whatever you’re burning) unpleasant, stop the fire, wait for it to cool and then clean your stove.

Excess smoke

When your fire burns, if you can barely see the flame through all the smoke, that is a sign your stove is dirty and needs cleaning.

Decreased temperature/performance

A clean stove will burn efficiently and reach a high temperature quickly and easily, dependent on fuel. If your stove is cool, it cannot burn properly and should be cleaned.

How to Clean your Wood Stove

There are multiple ways to clean the inside of a stove.

But, the first step is always to remove the ash using a dustpan and brush after the stove has safely cooled for anywhere between 12-24 hours.

If there is a creosote build-up, you should use an anti-creosote chemical and an old rag to get rid of it. You could also use oil if you dislike heavy chemicals, but these might not be as strong.

Whatever you use, just make sure to remove it once it has removed the creosote.

If you need to clean the glass, dip a rag into some water, and place the damp rag into the ash. Rub this “wet ash on a rag” onto the glass to clean it.

Wood Stove Cleaning Safety Tips

When you clean your stove, safety is paramount, so follow these tips to ensure you don’t get hurt:

  • Make sure the stove is cool before you clean it. If you touch a hot stove, you can seriously burn yourself. And if chemicals burn, they can create toxic gasses
  • Use protection if you use chemicals. If you choose to clean your stove with chemicals, follow the safety advice on the bottle and wear the relevant protection (e.g. gloves, glasses, long-sleeved tops etc.)
  • Be careful of inhaling ash and remove it to an outdoor space as quickly and safely as possible

How Often to Clean your Chimney

One part of your stove setup that is vital to clean is the chimney.

Try to clean your chimney at least once a year, but twice is even better.

Get it cleaned at the start of the heating season and after your stove has been dormant for a few months.

We recommend using a professional cleaning service as most people will not have the time, equipment or experience to clean their chimney properly.

Signs You Need to Clean your Chimney:

Excess smoke

When the chimney is blocked, smoke cannot pass through it. Hence, said smoke will get pushed down, and the only place it can escape is via the air vents leading into the room.

Flue smells

This foul smell is likely from creosote and should be cleaned.

Flue build-up

If your flue is noticeably dirty at the bottom, nearest the stove, then this will be an indication that it’s most likely dirty throughout the entire flue.

Cleaning and maintaining a stove is vital for safety and efficiency. That being said, by following a few simple routines and rules it becomes nothing more than another simple house chore. Follow the suggestions above, alongside the safety and maintenance recommendations from your stove manufacturer, and you should have nothing to worry about other than throwing another log into your roaring fire!

We hope this helps, and for everything else home heating stick with