A fireplace can offer both comfort and luxury to your space, but the state of the glass can impact its aesthetic and use. Cleaning the glass on a fireplace can require a lot of effort, depending on how dirty it is, but is important for the fireplace’s overall maintenance. If you have ever wanted to know how to clean fireplace glass or are looking for some new cleaning tricks, we have you covered! We will take you through some tips on cleaning your glass, the causes for dirt and soot buildup, and 5 easy steps to clean your fireplace glass today!
Tips on How to Clean Fireplace Glass
It’s important to remember that not all glass door fireplaces are built alike, so there are a few tips you may want to consider.
The main thing to remember is that it’s more difficult to clean glass door fireplaces when the soot has been piling up for long periods of time. Regular cleaning is crucial to maintain the fireplace, especially during the colder seasons when its use is more frequent. It’s best to clean the glass door of the fireplace every couple of weeks for the best results.
Remove the Glass
Another useful tip is to remove the glass door before you clean it, but be careful not to break or shatter the glass while handling it. Some glass door fireplaces have simple metal clips to allow for easy removal of the glass, while others just have screws. Ultimately, it’s up to you if you’d like to remove the glass or not, but doing so will make cleaning all the harder-to-reach places easier.
You need to have the right equipment to clean the glass correctly and safely, and the most effective way is to use a high-quality glass cleaner with rubber gloves and a dry cloth or clean paper towels. It’s also best to wait for the glass door to cool down before you commence cleaning because hot or warm glass is dangerous to handle and can shatter if suddenly exposed to cold temperatures.
If the soot is heavily caked on the glass, try using a razor blade to scrape off the carbon gently before applying the glass cleaner. If you cannot regularly clean your fireplace, it might be best to purchase a tinted glass door fireplace for convenience.
What Makes Fireplace Glass Turn Black?
Usually, a blackened glass fireplace door is the result of soot build-up, which indicates that the fuel being used in the fireplace is not burning completely. This incomplete burning of fuel can be caused by multiple factors, and knowing each potential cause can help you to better maintain your glass door fireplace. Some of these factors are:
Burning Unseasoned Wood
The burning of unseasoned wood is a common cause of soot build-up in fireplaces. To avoid this, make sure your logs are seasoned: this means that they are cut, chopped, and have been left to air for at least 12 months to allow moisture levels to drop to roughly 20-25%. If the wood is unseasoned, energy will be used on evaporation rather than burning, and this can cause an incomplete burn which results in excessive smoke. This smoke will settle in the form of soot, tar and creosote inside the flue system and on the glass door.
Incorrect Use of Air-wash
Many modern fireplaces and wood-burning stoves come with an air-wash system that discourages soot from settling on the glass. If your fireplace or stove has an air-wash system, remember to avoid closing the vent completely during use. Otherwise the glass will blacken fairly quickly.
Fuel Touching the Glass
Fireplace glass can blacken easily if the fuel being used is burning right up against it. This can happen from overloading the fireplace with fuel or stacking it too close to the glass. You can tell if this is the case for yo, if the glass has blackened in one or two specific spots rather than the entire surface.
The burning of coal is a direct cause for the blackening of glass on fireplaces. Many fireplaces or stove manufacturers advise against the use of regular household coal and instead recommended the burning of smokeless fuels.
Low Burning Temperature
If the fuel is not burning hot enough, then it is not burning completely, which can cause the production of excess soot. Low burning temperatures can also happen if the user is trying to light a small fire in a large fireplace or stove, which can negate the effect of the air-wash system. Safe to say, it’s best to avoid starting fires with a slow burn.
If you’ve explored the previous five reasons and still haven’t found out why your fireplace glass is turning black, then it may be because of a poor draw. This means that the movement of air from your room, into the fireplace and up the chimney is not powerful enough, resulting in smoke building up against the glass. To fix this, try increasing ventilation in the room or fitting an anti-down draught chimney cowl.
Now that we’ve covered the causes of soot build-up, let’s go over a step-by-step process on how to clean fireplace glass effectively.
How to Clean Fireplace Glass
If you consistently use your fireplace, we recommend cleaning the glass once a week for maintenance and to extend its lifespan. However, if your fireplace only gets seasonal use, you only need to follow these 5 easy steps to know how to clean fireplace glass:
1. Hot Fires Remove Black Stains
Black soot stains on fireplace glass can be very difficult to remove by hand, so we suggest using heat from the fire to loosen the stains prior to cleaning. Consider burning one or two hot fires to loosen up the buildup of soot and dirt on the glass. You could also burn a creosote removal product or ‘Red Devil Lye’ as alternatives to soften the residue.
2. Let the Glass Cool
Much like an oven, you should not try to clean a fireplace or its glass when it’s hot. The risk of burning yourself or causing the glass to crack from pressure is too great, so we suggest allowing your fireplace to cool for at least 6 to 8 hours before attempting to clean it, and always check the temperature before touching the glass.
3. Wipe It Away
The murky, cloudy appearance of your glass, also known as ‘haze’, can be wiped away with some newspaper. To wipe away the next layer, follow these instructions:
- Put on a pair of gloves before cleaning the fireplace. These can be disposable or reusable, but they must be clean of other chemicals before use.
- Spray the glass with water.
- Scrunch up a few pages of newspaper (not glossy) and rub the paper on the glass in circular motions to free any excess haze.
- Soak a microfiber cloth or paper towel in water.
- Rub the cloth on the glass in circular motions to free the remaining buildup.
4. Remove Dirt and Soot Buildup With Ashes
Don’t be afraid to use what is right in front of you! The white or grey ash which forms in fireplaces has a high pH balance and contains calcium carbonate, which is a great way to remove soot from glass. You just need to:
- Combine a handful of fine ashes from the fireplace with a few drops of water in a bowl.
- Stir the mixture into a paste and only add a few extra drops of water if necessary.
- Dip your microfiber cloth, or a piece of newspaper, into the ash paste and scrub the glass.
- When all the soot is removed, rinse the cloth with water and wipe the glass clean of any excess ash paste.
5. Remove Brown Stains
The most persistent and stubborn stains, are brown and caused by a buildup of carbon residue from the fire. To remove these types of stains from your fireplace glass:
- Spray glass cleaner on the glass and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Wipe the glass with a damp microfiber cloth to remove any excess cleaner or stains.
It is important to avoid ammonia-based cleaners as they can leave streaks on the glass. We recommend mixing one part vinegar with three parts water in a spray bottle, and use the solution with a microfiber cloth to leave your glass dry, clear and spotless!
The easiest way to maintain the glass in your fireplace is with regular cleaning, rather than inconstant, deep cleaning which takes more time and energy. We hope this article has given you the tools and information you need to know how to clean fireplace glass and has equipped you with the confidence to prepare your fireplace for winter!