If your wood or gas fireplace door is blackened from smoke, soot and creosote, you don't have to go on wondering what's behind the glass. Use one of the 10 amazing fireplace door cleaner products and see your fire clearly once again.
There are few things more pleasant than relaxing with your favorite beverage and gazing into the flames flickering in your fireplace. Provided, of course, that you can see those flames. When the fireplace glass has become so soot-stained that you can’t even tell whether the embers are still going, it’s time to do something about it.
You could throw that old fireplace glass in the dumpster and either get a new one or go without. Fortunately, you don’t have to go that far. There’s a variety of glass cleaning products that can remove soot, stains and grime from that window. That wide selection is both a blessing and a curse: there’s plenty to select from, but how do you know which one to choose?
Below is a list of 10 of the most popular fireplace and stove glass cleaners, their pros and cons, and the success, or lack thereof, that people like you have had using them. It includes both products made for wood burners and some made for gas stoves and fireplaces.
Customer experience is a good way to evaluate these cleaners, as most of them are reluctant to reveal their ingredients. Suffice it to say that the majority are caustic to some degree and all need to be handled with a level of respect.
If you’re looking for a “green” fireplace cleaner, your choices are limited. Quick n Brite, which I’ll talk about more below, is an exception that claims to contain non-toxic ingredients and to be biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
One of the best ways to keep your fireplace glass free of soot is to prevent it from building up in the first place. Think about what kind of wood you’re using. Soft and resinous woods are more likely to produce “dirty” smoke and to lead to creosote build-up. It’s best to stick to properly seasoned hardwoods.
Also, low and smoldering fires are prone to promote soot. Many modern fireplaces allow fires to burn at relatively low temperatures for long periods, and a lot of people enjoy that kind of heat. That’s okay, but be aware that short, hot fires will reduce the amount of cleaning you’ll have to do.
There are a lot a people who tout cleaning with a newspaper, or using the ash right out of the fireplace to rub into the glass or concocting a homemade cleaner with ingredients such as vinegar, cornstarch and rubbing alcohol. There are those who have some degree of success with these variations, but generally you’ll find that a commercial cleaner is the best and surest way to get a result you’re happy with.
Most commercial cleaners are formulated specifically for wood fireplaces, but there are a few designed for gas fireplaces and stoves. Many will work on brick, ceramic and surfaces other than glass. Some are okay for metals but others will damage metals. Almost none are safe for plastic.
Before you settle down to work with rags, brushes and cleaners, you can set the stage and make the job easier by first burning a brief, hot fire. However, always let the glass cool completely before you begin. If it’s not too difficult, remove the doors and set them flat on some kind of protector such a several layers of newspapers.
Sometimes just applying the cleaner, letting it sit and wiping it off with a paper towel or rag is adequate. Other times a bit a scrubbing is required, with a towel or rag or with a bristle brush.
Customers have reported differing success with different techniques with various products. In some cases they wiped the cleaner off immediately, in others they let if stand briefly and still others left it on a long time.
I suspect the variations might be due more to the condition of the glass than the specific cleaner. With whatever cleaner you buy, if one technique doesn’t work try another before you give up on the product you have.
Finally, it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. As I mentioned, a lot of manufacturers are coy about what ingredients they use. There are reports from people who did the job barehanded and had no problems or suffered only minor irritation. But it’s always wiser to be respectful of the power of whatever you’re working with.
Ready to start enjoying a fireplace glass you can see through? Here are 10 products to consider as you tackle the sooty job.
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1. HAUS Naturals Glass Cleaner
Let’s kick off with our favorite cleaning brand, HAUS Naturals. HAUS offers a full suite of natural cleaners including a very effective all-natural streak-free glass cleaner that can handle the sooty mess that accumulates on glass fireplaces.
This eco-friendly, biodegradable, nice-smelling streak-free glass cleaner is a must-have cleaning item in your arsenal for all your glass-cleaning needs throughout your home. We’re big fans.
2. Rutland Stove Grill & Hearth Glass Cleaner
This is a top pick of many experts. According to the manufacturer it’s also good for ceramic stovetops and fiberglass shower doors. In addition it’s recommended for porcelain, tile, aluminum, chrome, stainless steel, and even shower doors. There are reports that this is an A-one product that does the job on the blackest of sooted fireplace doors, and that it’s the one to go to if other products have fallen short.
It’s a top choice for wood fireplaces, wood stoves and pellet stoves, but it’s not for gas stoves. It’s designed to leave an invisible coat of silicon that makes future clean-ups easier. Customers who had to scrub the first time they used it wiped soot off easily on a subsequent cleaning. And real-life experience testifies that it actually does take soap scum off shower doors.
3. Imperial Clear Flame 2 in 1 Glass & Masonry Cleaner
This product comes in a spray bottle with a child safety trigger and is thickened to make it more readily stick to vertical surfaces, but I would still prefer to remove the doors and lay them flat.
The manufacturer’s instructions are to wear rubber gloves and cover the glass with the cleaner, being careful to protect neighboring areas from drip or overspray. Then let it stand two or three minutes. Wipe first with a water-soaked cloth then right away wipe it dry with a clean cloth. This will prevent streaking.
As well as glass doors, it’s recommended for enamel and ceramic surfaces and for all kinds of fireplace brick and stone. You can use it for just about any surface subject to soot or creosote build-up. However, it can take finish of metal, hence the warning about protecting adjacent areas.
Customers have had success with this product in stoves that burned less than ideal wood, and also with wiping the cleaner off after less than two to three minutes. For some the gunk toweled right off, but others had to do some scrubbing.
4. Meeco’s Red Devil Wood Stove Glass Cleaner
This product’s name has the word “devil” in it, and by all accounts it works like the devil but is on the fiendish side in terms of its harshness. This is an industrial strength product and a little goes a long way.
If you want a cleaner that’s as good as any out there and don’t mind some handling precautions, this may be the one for you. You should find that the nastiest stains come off with little or no scrubbing. Just spray it, leave it and wipe it.
This contains lye and can be caustic, rough on your hands and nasty to breathe. Use gloves, work in a ventilated area and consider wearing a mask. Lay the door flat and beware of drips. This product can damage not only metal but also gaskets and seals.
5. Perkins Hearth Glass Creme
Like the Rutland grill and hearth glass cleaner, Perkins Glass Creme lays down an invisible silicon coating to protect the glass and make for easier future cleanings. According to the manufacturer, this cleaner won’t scratch and is safe to use on steel items such as sinks. In addition to wood and pellet burning fireplaces and stoves, it’s suitable for smooth ranges, ceramic cooking dishes, and ceramic tile.
Unlike some of the spray bottle products it has a flip top that dispenses the “creme.” One way to use it: put a little on a damp rag, rub it in with a circular motion and take it off with a damp cloth.
6. Spray Nine Fireplace Cleaner
This comes in a black spray bottle and is advertised to cut through tough carbon soils and get out the creosote, soot and smoke with little or no scrubbing. It’s not as powerful a product as some of its competitors; it has a mild pH and is ammonia-based. Ammonia is not the most effective agent available for going after carbon.
Spray Nine is recommended for brick, stone, porcelain, cast iron and even wood and hearthrugs. Not everyone has experienced success using it on brick, although some report it will do the job if you leave it on a few days. Letting the product sit is good for glass cleaning as well.
If you want a less caustic product this is a good one to try out. There aren’t many fireplace glass cleaners you would dare to use on wood and hearthrugs.
7. Quick n Brite Fireplace Glass Cleaner
While Spray Nine is a gentler and less caustic product, Quick n Brite is the only cleaner on this list that proactively describes itself as environmentally friendly. It’s biodegradable, it has no ammonia or caustics and it doesn’t release unpleasant fumes. It won’t scratch and you can use it on a variety of surfaces including ceramic tops, hearths, and stove cooktops. It’s okay for gas fireplaces as well as wood burners.
Best results have been realized by letting the product sit for 15 or 20 minutes. This is a cleaner that has produced mixed results. For some customers it’s been as good as anything out there, but for others it didn’t do the job, in some cases leaving a haze on the glass.
If eco-friendliness is important to you, this is a product you should check out. There’s a good chance it will give you acceptable results with increased safety and a gentler environmental footprint.
8. Rutland Glass Cleaner
Rutland makes a whole line of highly rated products for fireplace glass, and a lot of the names are similar. This spray bottle is labeled simply “Rutland Glass Cleaner.” It’s a formulation that’s non-acidic but doesn’t contain ammonia. It’s designed to remove grime, soot and creosote on fireplace doors as well as on hearths.
Still, this isn’t a weak or gentle product. It still requires rubber gloves and has some level of toxicity. People use this in a number of different ways, including spraying it on a towel and rubbing it in or letting it soak before wiping it off.
9. Rutland White Off Glass Cleaner for Gas Fireplaces
These last three products are specifically formulated for gas fireplaces. They’re safe for wood burners but less likely to be effective. In particular they go after the white mineral deposits that are characteristics of gas fireplaces and that can be so stubborn.
This Rutland product has “white off” in its name and that’s just what it’s designed to do. It’s manufactured not to scratch and is okay for cooking surfaces, ceramic, stainless steel and fiberglass as well a gas stove doors. You can go after both the outside and the inside of your gas oven window.
White mineral buildup is a tough nut to crack, and customers report some level of success with this product. Sometimes the removal is perfect and in others less so. Best results may come from laying down a thin layer, letting it dry up to 45 minutes and then wiping it clean. It can be used to remove white residue from porcelain stovetops as well as glass doors.
10. Imperial Gas Fireplace Glass Cleaner
This is another gas fireplace product that works to remove the white mineral deposits. This is designed not to scratch the glass but, like almost all of these cleaning products, is an irritant that needs to be handled cautiously. The manufacturer says it seals and protects to promote easier future cleanings.
As with the Rutland White Out product, customers did not experience universal perfection in getting rid of those white spots but were by and large satisfied with what it did, even if not 100% of the white haze was gone.
Best results may come from applying, waiting at least a few minutes, then wiping first with a damp cloth or sponge and second with a dry towel.
There was a specific complaint that this product didn’t get rid of a rainbow-colored stain, but I wonder if anything on this list would be effective against that.
11. Meeco’s Red Devil Gas Stove Glass Cleaner
This gas cleaner is a thick and creamy product which can make it easier to use. Its pastiness prevents it from running or dripping. As with the other gas fireplace and stove cleaners, it works to some degree but won’t always get rid of 100% of the white deposits.
The thickness has a downside as well as an upside. Some say it dries too fast and is hard to remove. Others use it every few months throughout the winter to keep those white deposits at bay.