Gransnet forums


Wood burner cleaning.

(44 Posts)
Georgesgran Wed 29-Nov-23 10:10:25

This used to be DH’s job - hence why it was rarely used, but I lit it over the weekend.
Yesterday, I cleaned it out - took an hour I’ll never get back, so had a look online for suitable vacuums. They all seem to have Hepa filters, but the complaint is this clogs up continuously, rendering the machine useless, until the filter’s cleaned.

Does anyone have a simple vacuum recommendation that just sucks up what’s left in the grate?

J52 Wed 29-Nov-23 10:17:57

I have ours annually cleaned and other than that use a dust land and brush to clear stray ash. The glass is cleaned daily with scrunched up newspaper dipped in some of the ash.
Dry wood should burn cleanly.

J52 Wed 29-Nov-23 10:18:39

Pan! Not sure where Land came from!

MaizieD Wed 29-Nov-23 10:46:13

You don't need to remove all the ash from a wood burner. In fact, it's best to keep a bit of a bed of ash because it will heat up again when a new fire is lit on it and reduce the need to keep the heat up by refuelling.

Unlike coal, wood doesn't need air coming from beneath it in order to burn, it needs air from above. If it's coming from below the wood burns too fast, which is wasteful.

So I wouldn't bother about removing all trace of ash after it's been used.

I just use a stiff handbrush and metal shovel to clear ash from the hearth and my Vax if I want to be a bit more thorough...

Dampened scrunched up newspaper (or similar) dipped in ash, as J52 said , is the best (and cheapest) way to clean the glass.

Georgesgran Wed 29-Nov-23 10:56:21

Thanks J52. Mine just seems to get ash all over - the pan’s easy to empty, but it’s all the debris left in the grate that I can’t get out with a brush/dustpan, plus clouds of dust everywhere, so I actually lie the vacuum hose on the hearth to try and catch some of the dust. Then there’s the hearth etc to wash, but that’s another story. All on hands and knees which I find difficult, as the stove is set back in an inglenook.
What I have in mind is a sort of ‘Henry’ to make things easier.

Georgesgran Wed 29-Nov-23 10:57:17

It’s actually a multi-fuel thingy, so I use smokeless ovals as well.

OldFrill Wed 29-Nov-23 11:22:37

If the burner us efficient you shouldn't need to clean it out and shouldn't be that much dust however that's not always the case. We used an ash vacuum cleaner (there are lots on Amazon or search Google). OH already had one that he used for sawdust etc in his workshop. Was a blessing really as saved using the normal one for s dirty job.

25Avalon Wed 29-Nov-23 11:31:56

I had a special ash vacuum cleaner from Coopers of Stortford but I wasn’t very impressed with it and gave it away. I empty the bottom tray with the fine ash into a tub in the greenhouse as potash. Then I have a little hand trowel and a small trug I use to clean out the grate. Then I use my ordinary Dyson for the particles that remain. Damp newspaper and ash for the glass like other GNetters. I don’t do it every time though.

Jaxjacky Wed 29-Nov-23 11:45:55

Never vacuumed ours in France, dustpan and brush, same as everyone else, cleaned the glass the same too, it took about 20 minutes.

MaizieD Wed 29-Nov-23 11:59:29

^ the pan’s easy to empty, but it’s all the debris left in the grate that I can’t get out with a brush/dustpan,^

Can't you just leave that as the base for the next fire?

I seem to recall that in my far distant childhood, when we had coal fires, we only riddled the ash from the grate and emptied the ash pan each day. The cinders stayed on the grate and the new fire was lit on top of them.

karmalady Wed 29-Nov-23 12:23:39

A wood stove is easy to clean, leave a little bed of ash before lighting. Doing this, I only empty the ashpan every three days. The glass will get black unless burning in the efficient zone. I have a thermometer stuck via a magnet to the flue. The glass on mine is quite black today but it will burn off later, when I use the airwash control. Only cleans if the stove is in that zone

If burning ovals, I have a multi fuel stove, I clean out the grate thoroughly, just riddling and I make sure it is absolutely stone cold before using my henry vac, which is lurking behind my sofa. The bag inside is a very good filter

The ash from ovals is very different to wood ash and I use my ash caddy to keep that ash safe, they need to be binned, not sprinkled on the garden. I have bought a small galvanised bin with a lid, kept in a shelter, to collect that ash before bagging outside

If there are too many annoying cinders, then you have not had a complete burn. Use the poker, poke through what you can, then use the bigger cinders for your next fire. Maybe try and use full throttle on both air inlets, just before the fire goes out

M0nica Wed 29-Nov-23 13:59:51

I just brush the ash into the dust tray below with a soft hand brushand empty the tray into a bin in the garden for later use. Clean glass with scrunched up newspaper and glass cleaning fluid, then relay it ready for relighting.

Our stove only burns wood.

MaizieD Wed 29-Nov-23 14:09:03

Clean glass with scrunched up newspaper and glass cleaning fluid,

Ash is much cheaper (free, in fact) and highly effective grin

giulia Wed 29-Nov-23 14:26:42

Throw the ashes over your roses and any patches on the lawn where moss is growing - to neutralise the acidity of the soil.

Leave in the larger chunks to burn with your next fire and certainly do not remove all the ashes.

M0nica Wed 29-Nov-23 15:40:51

Well, a bottle lasts a season and is not that expensive, and less messy.

OldFrill Wed 29-Nov-23 15:45:45


Well, a bottle lasts a season and is not that expensive, and less messy.

I found cleaner far better, maybe it depends on what's being burnt. It proved very hard to get decent wood.

Namsnanny Wed 29-Nov-23 15:48:30

Is there any use for coal ash, does any one know?

M0nica Wed 29-Nov-23 17:56:02

When I was a child, all our garden paths were cinder paths, and cinders either went in the dusst bin or were used for path laying and keeping fresh.

Wood ash, of course, can go on the garden.

Namsnanny Wed 29-Nov-23 19:26:18

Thank you M0nica. Actually we do have one path left to lay. So we could use the cinders or clinker under the flag stones, mixed in with the shingles.

Sago Wed 29-Nov-23 19:46:46

I used to have to run two wood burners in a creaky old house we had, it would take me 10 minutes or so for each one and I would do the glass weekly.
I would just sweep out the ashes into a metal bucket then sweep around the hearth.
A full clean would be dorm in late spring.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 29-Nov-23 19:50:34

If the air flow is correct for the wood you are burning, the glass should not need cleaning.

But certainly cold wood ask on damp newpaper is the best cleaner.

M0nica Wed 29-Nov-23 22:35:31

*grandetanteJE65. This is why a bottle of glass cleaner lasts a season. I just give the glass a quick wipe to get rid of the very faint haze that follows any fire.

Greyisnotmycolour Wed 29-Nov-23 22:41:09

I use an old Vax and clean the glass with Oven Mate. It is indeed a wonder product, paint it on, wipe off with cold water, it makes ovens look like new & is brilliant on the wood burner glass as well.

Grantanow Sun 03-Dec-23 11:28:11

I never remove ash from the stove. Simply build the next fire on the ash. Once in a blue moon I empty the ash can but never riddle the grate. I wipe the glass every day with damp newspaper (the Guardian is very good for this) and every couple of months use the alkaline cleaner from Amazon. The little ash that escapes onto the hearth is readily vacuumed up once a week or so.

cc Sun 03-Dec-23 12:17:58

I certainly wouldn't use a Dyson, we had one once and the filter seemed to need replacing very often even if we only used it for floors, heaven knows what would happen with ash!
I suppose that a cleaner with a washable filter would be OK, but otherwise it would get very expensive if you were using a HEPA filter which would clog up with the fine ash.
We kept a metal pan under the grate so we could just pull in out and cover it before taking it out to the bin. Then a quick brush with a fireproof dustpan and brush when necesssary, but I don't think we did this very often.