Best Way To Clean Fireplace Glass Quickly and Effectively

RusticWise, best way to clean fireplace glass, illustration

After a long winter of cozying up beside the hearth, your fireplace glass could use some cleaning. Before you reach for the nearest bottle of glass cleaner, you should know that many commercial cleaning products are NOT safe for fireplace glass panels.

Here are a few quick and easy ways to clean the glass on your fireplace doors to help you save precious time as well as get that lovely shine you’ve been looking for.

The best way to clean fireplace glass quickly and effectively is by using hardwood ashes and water. Dry ashes are surprisingly great at polishing glass and metal surfaces. I’ll also go over other ways to clean glass using vinegar, baking soda, or a commercial fireplace glass cleaner.

Whether you have a wood fireplace, a wood-burning stove, or a gas hearth, it’s important to keep your fireplace in tip-top condition by cleaning the glass panel regularly. Let’s take a closer look at doing this, step by step.

The importance of keeping your fireplace glass clean

Cleaning the glass on a gas or wood fireplace is important to maintain the appearance of the fireplace and ensure optimal performance. Over time, debris and residue (such as soot or a white film) can build up on the glass, reducing visibility and obstructing the warmth of the flames.

Regular cleaning also prevents potential damage that may be caused by prolonged exposure to buildup.

Besides, neglecting to clean the glass once in a while will make your job tougher. A regular quick wipe keeps any soot buildup to a minimum!

How is fireplace glass different from regular glass?

A regular pane of glass can’t withstand the heat or pressure of a burning fire—it would simply shatter. Depending on your fireplace, you likely have either tempered glass or ceramic glass.

Tempered glass has been treated to reinforce its strength. To create tempered glass, the panes are exposed to extreme heat, then rapid cooling. Tempered glass can tolerate temperatures between 230 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit (110–260 degrees Celsius).¹

If your fireplace has a pane of tempered glass, you would have to keep the doors open when there’s a fire as the glass would shatter.

Ceramic glass is made of translucent ceramic and can withstand even greater temperatures than tempered glass, between 1000 and 1400 degrees Fahrenheit (538–760 degrees Celsius). This option is more costly than tempered ones, and is a must-have for wood stove glass.¹

With ceramic glass, you have the option of keeping the door closed when enjoying a fire.

Fireplace cleaning products and tools to avoid

When it comes to fireplace cleaning, it’s important to avoid using products and tools that can damage your fireplace or create safety hazards.

  • Ammonia: Many window cleaners such as Windex contain ammonia (although there are ammonia-free versions, too). Over time, ammonia residue can etch the glass when it’s combined with the heat of a fire, and cause permanent damage.
  • Abrasive scrubbing tools: Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive products that can scratch or corrode your fireplace’s surface. Don’t use wire brushes or metal scrapers on the inside of your chimney, as they can damage the liner and make it easier for creosote to build up. Instead, opt for specialty cleaning products and soft brushes specifically designed for use on fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Razor blades: Many people use razor blades to scrape off black residue or film. Using a razor to clean fireplace glass is NOT recommended because it can cause scratches or even cracks on the surface of the glass, creating potential safety hazards. It’s best to use a gentler cleaning method specifically designed for fireplace glass to maintain its longevity and ensure safe operation.

Tip: Hire a professional chimney sweep at least once a year to ensure your fireplace is clean and safe to use.

best way to clean fireplace glass, pile of ashes
Put those fireplace ashes to good use.
Credit: Vector State

Best way to clean fireplace glass with ash and newspaper

In my opinion, the best way to clean fireplace glass is by using wood ash and newspaper. Why? Because it’s free, effective, and won’t scratch the glass.

Your fireplace or firepit is already full of wood ashes. Instead of tossing them in the garbage, put them to good use!

Ashes from the fireplace are surprisingly effective at removing creosote buildup on fireplace glass. The ashes act as a gentle exfoliator, and don’t require much elbow grease.

How do ashes clean glass?

Ashes can be used to clean glass because they are mildly abrasive, which allows them to scrub away dirt and grime without scratching the surface. Additionally, the carbon content in ash makes it an effective cleaner for removing oily residue on glass surfaces.

Here’s how to clean a wood fireplace or stove with ashes.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • You can use newspapers, an old soft cloth, or a brown paper bag
  • A bucket filled with warm water
  • A clean microfiber cloth for cleaning and polishing
  1. Wait until the fireplace and ashes have cooled and are safe to touch.
  2. Scrunch up a sheet of newspaper and dip a corner into warm water, then into the ashes. Alternatively, you can mix some ashes with water to form a paste.
  3. Rub the ashes against the glass in a circular motion.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the entire panel is clean.
  5. Use a clean cloth or newspaper dampened with just water to rinse and remove any residue.
  6. Polish using a clean microfiber cloth.

Enjoy your crystal-clear glass!

How to clean fireplace glass with a vinegar solution

White distilled vinegar is a non-toxic cleaner with roughly 5 percent acetic acid. This natural, acidic cleaner helps to cut through grease, remove sticky residue, and lift dirt and debris.

While this method isn’t quite as effective as ashes and water, it works as a quick “mini clean” between more thorough cleaning sessions.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean rag
  1. First, wait until the glass has completely cooled down.
  2. Mix together a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the mixture onto the glass and let it sit for a few minutes before using a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the glass and remove any residue.
  4. Repeat as necessary until the glass is completely clean.
best way to clean fireplace glass, hand washing glass with sponge
Credit: Deposit Photos

Using baking soda to clean your glass door

Baking soda is a natural, mild alkaline powder with gentle scrubbing power. It’s an effective alternative to harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners that can damage the glass surface.

Again, while baking soda is a great cleaner, this method doesn’t quite beat the ashes and water method.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Sponge or cleaning cloth
  • A clean microfiber cloth for cleaning and polishing

Here’s how to use baking soda to clean your fireplace glass door:

  1. Create a paste by mixing baking soda and warm water until it forms a thick consistency.
  2. Use a cloth or sponge to apply the paste directly onto the glass door. Scrub the glass gently in circular motions until the stubborn stains are removed.
  3. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any residue.
  4. Dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.

How to clean gas fireplace glass with commercial glass cleaner

And, if you prefer to stick with special cleaners specifically for fireplace or stove doors, there are many options to choose from.

These cleaners are great at removing soot and the white film on glass doors caused by mineral deposits. It’s important to clean this white film as it can permanently etch or scratch the glass.²

Choose a liquid polish cleaner labelled as “gas fireplace glass cleaner,” or “gas stove cleaner,” or one that’s safe for a hearth, grill, and stove. A popular option is Rutland products (💖 check out our recommended products 🛍️).

Tip: Before you begin cleaning, ensure your fireplace has been turned off, and has cooled down. The instructions below are general instructions for commercial fireplace cleaners that are “spray on and wipe off”—refer to the instructions on your specific cleaner.

  1. Remove the glass panel from the fireplace. Please refer to your instruction manual for specific details.
  2. Place glass on a flat surface. You may choose to place a towel beneath the glass to protect it.
  3. Apply glass cleaner on a soft cloth ensuring to cover the entire glass surface. Let it dry completely. You’ll know it’s dry when it forms a white film. Roughly 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Wipe off with a separate clean soft cloth.
  5. Reinstall the glass panel and the safety panel.

Tips on keeping your fireplace glass clean

Keep your glass door clean for longer with a few simple tips and best practices.

  • Use seasoned wood: Stick with using only seasoned wood as it burns cleaner. Hardwood is preferable to softwood as it makes cleaning up easier. Avoid burning wet or low quality wood.
  • Clean regularly: A few quick wipes helps to keep soot, creosote, and any white film from developing into a hardened mess.

How often should you clean your fireplace glass?

It really depends on how often you use your fireplace or wood stove, and whether you have a wood burning hearth, or a gas fireplace. A wood burning fireplace or stove is more prone to soot development than a gas counterpart, and would need more cleaning.

In general, it’s a good idea to clean wood fireplace glass doors at least once a week during the winter season to maintain its appearance and prevent damage from buildup.

👉If you like this post, see other Timeless Cleaning Tips You Need To Know.

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  1. Fireplace Doors Online, The Difference Between Tempered and Ceramic Glass, Accessed March 2023.
  2. Vanderwall Help Videos, How To Clean Fireplace Glass, Accessed March 2023.

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