Cleaning cast iron

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Feeling the Heat
Feb 11, 2008
Hi all,

My first topic post - it may sound silly, but I haven't been able to find the answer elsewhere on the site:

What's the appropriate way to clean a black painted cast iron stove? The ash lip on my stove is seemingly always filthy, but I'm not sure if its ok to clean with a damp cloth since I don't want my expensive new stove to get all rusty! Any thoughts? Thanks!


Feeling the Heat
Feb 12, 2008
I would just use a dry cloth or paper towel, most of the time that will do the trick. Down the road i would use stove polish(stove black). if you use the polish it will keep that black cast iron look, and help prevent rust.

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
NW MI near nowhere
Do not put water on rusted or unpainted cast iron.

During the heating season, I simply brush off any ash or dust.

During the off season, wire brush, sand or use a rust remover like Naval Jelly on unsightly or rusted areas. Then paint them with high heat paint. Repeat as required.

Or, if the rust look doesn't bother you, leave it alone. It will probably take several lifetimes to rust through.

Feb 7, 2008
Western Virginia
I sort of have a hybrid mix of the answers above. Use a brush and/or mini shovel ("ash scoop") for the bigger ash/debris, if not satisfied then wipe with damp cloth. As long as stove is burning, there should be plenty of heat to quickly evaporate any moisture before it would create rust. For the brush, if you want to get one of those fancy dancy fireplace kits (mini-broom, shovel, poker, etc) that will certainly suffice, but I find a nice soft bristle dust brush and pan work just fine.


Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
My stove has a lot of black painted cast iron. It was getting gray with ash so I wet a sponge and mopped it off. Keep your sponge clean and the black will become as good as new. My stove is new since August of 07 so it really is new but water and sponge cleaned the ash very well. No surface rust on painted iron.


New Member
Jan 22, 2008
I had to replace a door gasket on my Jotul 450 yesterday so while the stove was cool, and I was waiting for the cement to cure, I cleaned the exterior. My stove has the black paint, not the enamel finish. I used some hearth cleaner / creosote remover that I bought from my stove dealer. It did a great job- the ash lip and doors look like new. I also used it to clean my bluestone hearth and it did a great job getting rid of the soot stains that had accumulated.



Feeling the Heat
Feb 11, 2008
Thanks everyone for the replies. I figured a damp cloth would be OK, especially if the stove is cranking and any dampness evaporates immediately.

Also just wanted to say what an excellent web site. Tons of great information, easy to use, and very friendly folks from all over using it. Thanks again. I'm sure I'll have some more questions as I get used to my new Jotul Castine.


New Member
Feb 10, 2008
Chaumont, NY
I would treat a stove painted with heat paint differently than one that has a "stove black" (like shoe polish) finish. I believe you would not have any problems wiping down the paint with a damp cloth. My old Jotul Combi fire #4 had the stove black finish which is not water proof. You will just tend to wash the black off prematurely with water.

I now have a ceramic finish Jotul #3. I love the ceramic and think it is worth every penny. :coolsmile:
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