Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cleaning a Wood Stove's Glass Window, Natural Way to Clean your Wood Stove's Glass

 Cleaning a Wood Stove’s Glass

Well, a happy spring to everyone.  Here up on the hill we have been busy with the annual spring cleaning. We are still having a few days of cold weather and this last week we even had some morning frost on the rooftops and deck, but this hasn’t stop us from getting those windows cleaned, yards trimmed and garden tilled. But one of my most frustrating jobs is cleaning the wood stove.  I just can’t seem to get it cleaned to my liking.  Our wood stove is an older stove that came with the house when it was purchased. The stove puts out such great heat and we can cook on it as well. It is our main source of heat for the winter, so it is used every night and during the days when we are home. That is a lot of grime and ash that gets built up on the stove’s window.  The window is very grayed and dim. The brass is pitted from so much use by the prior owner and all the fires we have had hasn’t helped.
When it comes to cleaning it, I have tried everything that I could think of to remove that built up layer of ash and smoke. The glass looks like it has the same whitish deposits that calcium and soap builds up on your shower doors. YUK!  and just as hard to get off!!

When I visit my parents I am always amazed at how their woodstove glass looks. It is always crystal clear and the brass shiny. Theirs is only about 5 years newer than ours and they also use theirs for the main source of heat. One day I asked my mother what she uses to keep their stove’s window looking so pristine.  She laughed and said it was a simple step that she does every day or so before building the morning fire, and it didn’t include chemicals or abrasive scrubbing!

The secret to a shiny wood stove’s window glass!

  It is the wood ash that is produced from the burnt wood and water!

Wood ash has natural chemicals that when mixed with water will form a base Potassium Hydroxide ( lye). This has been used for centuries in making soap! It has also qualities that gardeners use in soil, calcium carbonate, potassium, and magnesium.
You can take the time and look up all the uses for wood ash and what wood ash has in it. It is a mixed bag of things, considering the type of wood that is burned. Interesting info on it if you are inclined to so a little research.  

In the morning or when the fire is cool, my mom takes a couple of soft cloths, or soft paper towels. She dampens two with a little bit of water and uses a dry one for wiping it after cleaning. On one of the damp towels, she dabs a bit of (only the top fluffy white) ash in the wood stove, carefully not letting any of the wood bits or hard ash onto the damped towel.
She then rubs this onto the glass in a circular motion. After she then wipes it off with the clean damp cloth and dries with the clean dry cloth. That’s it!!  So Simple!    She may do this twice if it is really dirty.  She said that if I did this every day or so, mine would look just as nice. (See Pics at end of post of how mine turned out)

        For the brass, she uses a paste that she makes from a couple shakes of
“Bar Keepers Friend” and water on a paper towel. Rubs it on and wipes with a damp towel and dries it.

 Click here for; My recipe for homemade household cleaner for Brass and Copper it is simple to make and whole lot less expensive, just a few cents to use and is environmentally more safe as well using natural ingredients.

** Always make sure that when you use cleaner on brass, that the brass is not finished. Using cleansers on finished brass will remove the finish.

            Well with this new information, I couldn’t wait to get home and try this on my ugly stove’s window. Because mine was so dirty and the window had some scratches, it took a couple cleanings to get through some of the grime. By the third day it was looking better. Unfortunately the weather has changed and we have stopped using the wood stove and there is no more ash. I should have set some aside to us to clean it through the spring and summer. You can see the difference it made in just a few cleanings. It isn't pristine like my mom’s, but I think it will get there with a little more cleanings.
                                  I will have to update my pics next fall-

Before Cleaning

After One Cleaning

After Third Cleaning


Homemade Copper and Brass Cleaner

Homemade Copper and Brass Cleaner 

I have been handed down several older lamps that have Brass bases. Over the years I have found hidden in my grandmother's closet and Uncles garage a multitude of brass cleaning products, from old yellow and red bottles of "Brasso",  a buffing cloth called "The Brass Butler"  and a silly looking packaged cloth with a crown on its name called the  "Rich Glo Dry Shine Cloth" just to name a few.
I did find that "Brasso" is still on the market. I found it on line and at the large hardware stores. 

But, I like to use my homemade cleaners.  Its so much better knowing what has gone into the making of the cleaner. Also, it is so much more economical.

When cleaning brass items, you need to make sure that the brass is not coated with lacquer or any other coating. Many of the cleaners can remove the finish and destroy the luster. On finished brass you can easily remove the tarnish and polish it up.

Fine Brass should not be cleaned with any abrasive, as salt or other coarse materials. 

I have a few home made recipes that I like to use on my household items, as with this brass dog leash clasp. When it gets dirty from all the fun hikes we take, I will use a small amount of cleaner on it. Find out more about this leash and others I have made. Here is a link to my shop for leashes and other items. Treesee  http://www.etsy.com/shop/Treesees?ref=s2-header-shopname

          Here is my recipes

 Kitchen and Household Copper and Brass Cleaner
(note that this is a medium abrasive cleaner for heavy tarnished items)

Mix together the following in a small bowl.
¼ cup of flour
¼ cup of salt - I use fine grained table salt, so it is less abrasive than Kosher salt
¼ cup of white vinegar
¼ hot water
1 tsp of lemon

       You need to make sure that you clean the entire cleaner off with a wet cloth and dry well. Lemon can corrode brass if left on for too long.

Simple cleaners

Ketchup - A couple squirts of ketchup rubbed on the item with a soft clean cloth. This one I have seen my uncle use on occasion 

Milk and Water - Warm up a mixture of 1/2 part milk and 1/2 part water in a stainless steel pan and pour into a glass bowl deep enough to allow the item to soak. Wash off and dry completely.