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ARTICLES - - Cleaning Stove and Fireplace Glass

- by Ken Rajesky, Hearth Industry expert

Proper Wood Stove, Fireplace, and Gas Stove Glass Door Cleaning

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Before you start any procedure involving your glass door, its important to fist check your manufacturers instructions to ensure that the cleaner or the method that you plan to use complies with their requirements. This is especially important if the glass is still under warranty. Second, always make sure that you have the proper safety equipment such as gloves or glasses. Cleaners may be caustic to your skin, and your eyes are irreplaceable.

There are two ways to clean your glass. The first way is to clean the glass with the glass still attached to the door. I recommend using a cleaner specifically designed for removing the brown and black stains (carbon) from the glass. Cleaners such as Glass Plus do not do a good job when it comes to carbon. There are several brands available, and the cleaner I have had great success comes in the form of an aqua colored paste. Typically the cleaner will come in a 12 oz. Bottle, and say Fireplace Glass Door Cleaner or Woodstove Glass Cleaner. You must clean the glass while its cool for best results. All youll need is a few paper towels, or cloths.

Leaving the Glass in the Door
1. Open the door(s), and if possible, remove the door for easier access to the glass. If access is easy while the door is still attached, then leave it on.
2. Apply an amount of cleaner about the size of a 50-cent piece onto the paper towel.
3. Rub the paste onto the glass in an elliptical pattern. Be sure to clean the edges and corners.
4. Allow the cleaner to dry for a few seconds, and then rub off the paste and carbon with a clean cloth.
5. If carbon still remains in a few spots, repeat steps 2-4.

Removing the Glass to Clean

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If you need to remove the glass to clean, and/or you feel you need to replace the glass gasket, then you follow the steps outlined below. If you have a digital or Polaroid camera, you may wish to take a few pictures as you remove items, so that youll have a visual record available when you begin to reverse the procedure:
1. First, loosen the clips that hold your glass in place. Since the design of these clips will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, youll need to consult your manual.
2. Next, remove the glass and place it on a soft surface, like an old towel.
3. Clean the glass in the same manner as steps 2-4 listed above.
4. Review the gasket in the door. Does it appear to be okay, or is it frayed, or severely decompressed?
5. If the gasket needs replacing, consult your manual for proper gasket sizing, length, and procedure. Inn most cases, youll need to remove the gasket with a thin bladed screwdriver and thoroughly clean the gasket groove before adding new gasket material.
6. If the glass clips are screws, check the threads for signs of wear. Squirt a little WD40 into the drilled and tapped holes, and also onto the clip screw threads themselves. Allow the excess to drip off.
7. Place the glass back into place, and secure with the original clips.
8. See your instruction manual for details as they may suggest a specific pattern for tightening the screws or clips.
9. When tightening the screws, be sure to not overtighten as the glass will expand when heated and could crack from the pressure. You must allow some room for glass expansion. Just snug the screws—-the glass will not go anywhere.

If you are seeing a grayish coating on the glass, thats due to the ashes from the wood swirling around the firebox from either the reloading process, or opening the doors or ash pan door below which will cause a rush of air to enter the firebox. This stirs up these ashes. Be sure to wipe the glass clean of these ashes at least one a week or they will etch and stain the glass permanently. Wood ash is very caustic.

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Fireplace Glass Doors

Fireplace glass doors are quite easy to clean, except that they will require a larger amount of cleaner given their size versus a woodstove. Each door design is somewhat different in how the door clips are designed. Most doors, however, have spring-loaded clips along the top, which will allow you to remove the doors for maintenance. If you cannot remove the doors, check your manufacturers instructions for details.

Most fireplace doors are cleaned while still in their frame, so there will not be the need to remove the glass from the frame. This saves both time and aggravation.
1. Open the remove the fireplace door(s) from the track in the frame.
2. Lay the door down on a sift surface like a large towel so that the surface is not scratched during this procedure. This is especially true if the surface is brass.
3. Apply a large amount of cleaner onto the paper towel or cloth.
4. Rub the paste onto the glass in a short circular pattern making sure to clean the edges and each corner. Dont be afraid to use a little elbow grease.
5. Allow the cleaner to dry for a few seconds, and then rub off the paste and carbon with a clean cloth.
6. If carbon still remains in a few spots, repeat steps 2-4.
7. Replace the doors back into the tracks of the frame.

Gas Appliance Glass Doors

Gas Stove Glass will not typically carbon up unless there is a problem in the combustion zone that is prompting a sooting condition, or direct flame impingement on the glass. In most cases, you do not receive the brownish colored carbon glass, but instead a whitish coating on the glass. This film is caused by high temperature silicone outgassing or curing and the result is this film on your glass.

The procedure for cleaning gas appliance glass doors is similar to how you would clean a woodstoves glass doors. However, the type of cleaner is different. We have found that a non-abrasive cleaner such as automotive white polishing compound, or Flitz works quite well.

Most gas appliance glass doors are held within a frame, especially direct venting models where the tightness of the glass door to the body of the stove is critical. And, in most cases, you do not have to remove the glass from the frame but instead, clean the glass while still place.
1. First, loosen the clips that hold your glass frame in place. Since the design of these clips will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, youll need to consult your manual.
2. Next, remove the glass frame and place it on a soft surface, like an old towel.
3. Apply an amount of cleaner about the size of a 50-cent piece onto the paper towel.
4. Rub the paste onto the glass in a circular pattern. Be sure to clean the edges and all four corners.
5. Allow the cleaner to dry for a few seconds, and then rub off the paste and carbon with a clean cloth.
6. If carbon still remains in a few spots, repeat steps 3-5.
7. If the glass clips are screws, check the threads for signs of wear. Squirt a little WD40 into the drilled and tapped holes, and also onto the clip screw threads themselves. Allow the excess to drip off.
8. Place the glass back into place, and secure with the original clips.
9. See your instruction manual for details as they may suggest a specific pattern for tightening the screws or clips.
10. When tightening the screws, be sure to not overtighten as the glass will expand when heated and could crack from the pressure. You must allow some room for glass expansion. Just snug the screws.

If the glass continues to have a white film during the season, consult your local dealer or manufacturer for the next steps.


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