How to Clean Your Wood Burning Stove
REGULAR CLEANING of your wood burning stove
by Damien Andrews
If you want to protect your floor, place the drop cloth in front of the wood burning stove’s firebox opening. You can also use old newspapers to protect the floor. Now, close the dampener and completely open up the door to the firebox of your wood burning stove. If you have a chimney dampener, close it also. The firebox should be cool inside, and since there are so many fine ashes, a dust mask is recommended. Opening the door to your firebox slowly is also a good way to prevent fine ash from flying out the firebox opening. Make sure that the inside of the firebox is cool.
Start by using the shovel to clean out the majority of the ash from inside the firebox of your wood burning stove. Move slowly and deliberately to avoid raising the ultra-fine dust.
Place the metal ash can very close to the opening into your wood burning stove firebox and open it slowly – to prevent any accumulated ash from floating out of it onto the floor. Now, while wearing gloves and a dust mask, carefully, slowly shovel up the ashes and move each shovel load slowly to the metal ash can. Put the shovel as far into the ash can as possible and allow the ashes to slide off of the shovel. If you dump the ashes into the metal ash can, fine ash dust will fly all over the place and make another mess to clean up. Continue shoveling out ashes until the floor of the firebox is relatively clean. You will not be able to get all of the ashes out, but you’ll be able to get the vast majority of them. The shovel simply will not reach all of the places, such as lips in the front of the firebox, or ridges on the floor of the firebox.
Make sure that the ash shovel is inside of the ash can before 'sliding' the ashes off. Again, this will minimize the dust and ash that escape into the air and the room. I get the shovel as full as possible since transporting it to the can and dumping it take the most time. Note that I am wearing the gauntlet style welder's gloves mentioned in the article. Actually, these gloves are too heavy for cleaning, but I wanted you to see a pair so you'd know what to look for. If you have a wood burning stove, I would consider them indispensable!
When you are satisfied with your shoveling work, put the shovel down, close the ash can and get the wide scraper. Use the scraper to gently move mounds of ash into locations where the shovel will be able to reach them. Each wood burning stove is different, and you’ll have to learn where in your particular wood burning stove ashes hide. Once you’ve scraped the ashes into lines and mounds, slowly open the ash can and get the shovel – and again carefully shovel the ashes into the ash can. If your wood burning stove has a large enough door and firebox, you can use the scraper and the shovel simultaneously – like using a broom and dust pan – to get smaller amounts of ash picked up. The floor of your firebox should now be pretty clean, and free of ashes.
First use the wide scraper to get the ashes from the edges of your wood burning stove's firebox into a place where you can get the shovel. Then use the scraper to usher the ashes into the shovel – just like using a broom and dust pan. Get as much ash as you can.
Now it’s time to use the small brush. But you want to be very careful when using this tool inside of your wood burning stove. Brushes, even very fine brushes, will ‘toss’ ashes and ash dust into the air if not used very sparingly and carefully. Only use the brush to get ash off of door seals and other small areas where ash collects – depending on your particular model and design of wood burning stove. Use the scraper to catch the ash and ash dust that you brush off. Use short, light, gentle strokes with the brush, and when the scraper has ash on it, carefully transport it to the ash can and slide the ashes off and into the ash can.
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