It is almost sure that you landed on this article because your mood was killed the last time you sat to enjoy the warmth of your fireplace and could not even see the flames inside as clearly as you would like to see.
Your traditional fireplace can have white haze (combustion by-product) or soot built up on the glass. The popping sparks of fire also make little pieces jump and strike against the inner surface of the glass, leading to scratches. And, not to forget the usual ash that makes the glass cloudy.
Let’s see how you can clean all that mess from the fireplace glass.
How to Clean Fireplace Glass? (2 Methods)
Most fireplaces have tempered glass or ceramic glass.
Whether you have a gas fireplace, wood-burning fireplace, ethanol fireplace, stone fireplace, or an electric fireplace, it can be cleaned easily.
Before you start cleaning it, Make sure that the fireplace is turned off and allowed to cool down. A hot fireplace poses a risk of burns. Also, the gas should be turned off as well.
Method 1: Vinegar & Dishwashing Detergent
1- Thick towel/ cloth
2- Distilled Vinegar
3- Dishwashing Liquid
4- Paper towels
5- Spray bottle
6- Cooktop glass cleaner (Optional)
STEP 1- Take out the fireplace glass. This is easy to do in a gas fireplace. The user manual will be helpful here.
Usually, there are panels (grates) on the top and bottom of the glass. You’ll need to take these off and you’ll find some screws or clips underneath which you can loosen to take off the glass panel.
Lay the glass on some cushiony surface (like a thick cloth or towel). If you want to avoid some mess on the floor, take the glass to your garage and do the cleaning.
If you are unable to take off the glass (as in the case of fireplaces that have door-like glass), simply protect your floor by covering it with a tarp or rags.
Caution: In some cases, the glass may come with a protective layer that should not be scratched. A razor blade or scraper may slightly damage tempered glass. It won't do a great deal of damage but enough to be noticeable when the light changes. Just use the scraper gently and not too roughly on the glass.
STEP 2- Now take a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and mix it with half a cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and spray this solution on the glass. Let the solution stay for a minute or so. Vinegar will break down soot and other stains.
The detergent will produce foam and further break down stains (due to the surfactant action).
You can alternatively use a glass cooktop cleaner (Ammonia free and scratch free) by squirting it on a scratch-free pad and wiping the glass surface with it. Just keep wiping and wiping until all that white haze comes off.
Note 1: Some sites suggest using ash in the fireplace to clean the ash. But this will leave ash on the glass anyways that you’ll need to remove. So we straightaway use our DIY cleaning solution.
Note 2: Vinegar should never be mixed with Ammonia or Ammonia containing products as this will produce Chlorine gas (which is toxic).
STEP 4- Use a paper towel to scrub gently in circular motions. This will remove the white haze right away but you’ll need a little more elbow grease where there are creosote stains.
Then rinse the surface. Don’t’ use any abrasive pads (such as scotch brite or steel wool) to scrub. They will streak the glass.
STEP 5- Use a squeegee to wipe the glass and let it dry.
STEP 6- After the glass has dried, check for any cracks or damage (hopefully there isn’t any). Any small crack can lead to smoke leaking out into your home, which will make the fireplace less effective.
Method 2: Using Fireplace Ashes
The simplest and most cost-effective cleaning method for your fireplace glass is the use of this uncommon cleaning item- Fireplace ashes, and another easy-to-get item- Newspapers.
The method is effective in removing creosote and soot buildup from all kinds of fireplaces.
1- Protective gear (rubber gloves and nose mask)
2- Paper towels
3- Fireplace ash
STEP 1- Take a paper towel and dampen it with first water and then dab out dry ashes from your fireplace. Use circular motions to wipe the glass to loosen the hazy film on the glass.
STEP 2- Spray water on the glass and use dry paper towels to wipe down the glass. This will remove the ash and leave it clear and shiny.
A Few Tips!
Here are a few tips to maintain your fireplace:
1- Do not use the fireplace to burn papers, garbage, or coal. These things can give out harmful flames and gases that affect your health. (Source)
2- Poor quality, wet, or unseasoned wood leave a build-up that is harder to clean. So choose a hardwood wisely. The wood should have a moisture of less than 20%.
3- Don’t let the burning wood touch the glass. Keep it at a distance. Using more wood than is needed is a mistake that can lead to the wood touching the glass.
How Often Should You Clean Your Fireplace Glass?
This depends on the type of fireplace you have and how frequently you use your fireplace.
The glass of wood-burning fireplaces requires cleaning as frequently as once every four weeks, those in gas fireplaces require half as much cleaning frequency, and the glass of electric and ethanol fireplaces requires little to no maintenance and can be cleaned on a discretionary basis (when you notice any buildup).
You should increase the cleaning frequency if you use the fireplace often, and this is especially important for the glass of a wood-burning fireplace.
Often people clean their whole house but leave out the poor little fireplace glass. In fact, if you clean your fireplace glass and are able to see clearly through it, you’ll notice a tremendous increase in the overall aesthetic appeal of your living room.