After a couple of uses, fireplace insert glass often becomes covered with a black or grayish film. This film may seem as if it’s baked on to the glass and will be extremely difficult to remove. While your first reaction might be to use a wire brush and a harsh chemical cleaner, this method can damage the expensive glass and may even lead to a fire hazard. So, what’s the best way to clean the fireplace glass?
You can clean fireplace glass by dipping a crumpled newspaper into water and fireplace ash, and then rubbing the newspaper in a circular motion across the glass. You can also try burning one or two fires to get rid of the soot — or simply use a special fireplace glass cleaner.
Regularly cleaning your fireplace glass will allow you to keep a close eye on how exactly your fireplace is performing. Let’s look at how you can keep fireplace glass sparkling clean and which products can be used to help you out, so that you can go back to enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate in front of your fireplace in no time.
How Do You Get Your Fireplace Glass Clear Again?
Before you start cleaning your fireplace glass, it’s important to ensure that the fireplace insert doesn’t have any smoldering ash. Keep in mind that coals can burn for up to 48 hours, so it’s best to wait until they’re completely cold before begin the cleaning process.
Let’s take a look a some of the methods you can use:
Using ash to clean your fireplace glass may seem unintuitive, but it’s actually a very effective method of making the glass clear again.
- Non-colored newspaper
- Regular tap water
- A spray bottle filled with water
- Paper towels (on Amazon)
- Ash from the fireplace
- Crumple or fold the newspaper, dip it in water, and then dip it into the fireplace ash. Make sure you only slightly moisten the newspaper and stick just a little bit of ash onto it.
- Gently rub the dampened newspaper on the inside of the fireplace glass. It’s best to adopt a circular motion, as it loosens and gets rid of the soot more quickly.
- Once your newspaper becomes dark and dirty, discard it, and start with a new piece. Dip the clean newspaper in water and ash again, and repeat until you’ve removed all the soot.
- Use your spray bottle to spray some water onto the fireplace glass, and then wipe it off with paper towels. Repeat this step until the paper towels don’t pick up any black residue.
- Dry your fireplace glass with a clean paper towel.
Burn a Hot Fire
Lighting your fireplace actually helps get rid of a lot of the stains dirtying the glass door. So, before you get started with any cleaning, try burning a hot fire to remove some of the dirt and grime from the glass.
- Paper towels or a microfiber cloth
- Disposable or reusable gloves (on Amazon)
- Burn one or two fires to get rid of the soot.
- Let the fire properly cool down before continuing any further. This can take anywhere from six to eight hours, so it’s better to use a temperature gauge (on Amazon) to prevent any safety hazards.
- Put on a pair of gloves, soak a microfiber cloth or paper towel in water, and then use it to wipe your fireplace glass. If you don’t have either of these things, then a newspaper will also do the trick.
- Squeeze out the cloth or towel after every few wipes to get rid of the residue, re-soak it in water, and then wipe until the glass is completely clear again.
Use a Fireplace Glass Cleaner
While it may seem like any kind of glass cleaner should work with fireplace glass, some types aren’t actually that effective in this situation. It’s therefore best to opt for a cleaner that has been specially formulated for fireplace glass.
- Make sure the glass isn’t hot. It’s best to wait a couple of hours after using the fireplace before starting the cleaning process.
- If your fireplace glass door is locked in place and doesn’t swing open, open it by referring to an online guide or the owner’s manual.
- Pour some of the fireplace glass cleaner onto a dry microfiber cloth, and then rub the cloth on the glass. Make sure you follow the instructions provided by your specific cleaner and use only the amount recommended for your fireplace glass door size.
- Rub the cloth in a circular motion, so that the cleaner is evenly applied across the glass. Keep rubbing until the cloth glides across the fireplace glass easily.
- Let your fireplace glass dry. Your fireplace cleaner should have instructions on how long you should leave it to properly dry.
- Use the second microfiber cloth to buff the remaining cleaner off the glass after it has dried.
- If you’ve buffed away the cleaner, but there’s still some carbon buildup left on the glass, then repeat these steps until the glass is completely clear.
- Close your fireplace doors. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure you reattach it or firmly clip the door back into place.
Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Fireplace Glass?
You can use vinegar to clean fireplace glass, but only for wood-burning fireplaces. This is because the process requires some leftover ash, which gas fireplaces don’t leave behind.
- White vinegar (on Amazon)
- Spray bottle
- Paper towels or a dry, clean cloth
- Open your fireplace glass door.
- Make a cleaning solution by mixing equal parts warm water and white vinegar. The vinegar will help break down and remove all the sooty carbon residue.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle for easier application. You can also use this mixture to clean other household surfaces later on.
- Spray the cleaning solution onto a clean cloth or paper towel. There’s no need to completely soak the cloth or towel — just dampen it a bit with the solution.
- Look for fine ash in your fireplace and then dip the damp cloth into it until there’s a light layer of fireplace ash over the cloth. Make sure you only dip the cloth into fine ash and not into anything bigger, as anything more abrasive can scratch and damage the glass.
- Scrub the cloth over the sooty glass in circular motions until the glass becomes clear again. You’ll probably have to apply the cleaning solution and dip the cloth into ash a few more times to properly clean your fireplace glass.
- Once you’ve properly scrubbed the soot off of the glass, use another paper towel or cloth to wipe away any of the remaining solution or ash.
- Spray the vinegar and water solution on a microfiber cloth or paper towel again to bring the glass back to a sparkle.
Can You Use Windex on Fireplace Glass?
You shouldn’t use Windex, or any ammonia-based cleaner for that matter, on fireplace glass. This is because fireplace glass primarily becomes dirty due to carbon build-up, and ammonia-based cleaners, like Windex, aren’t formulated to clean and remove carbon deposits.
Instead, it’s better to opt for specialized fireplace glass cleaners. These cleaners are readily available at fireplace retailers, online, and even local home improvement stores.
Why Is the Glass on Your Gas Fireplace Cloudy?
The glass on your fireplace becomes cloudy when the moisture from the exhaust condenses on the cool glass. The cloudiness usually goes away when the glass warms up, so you’ll probably only see it for a short time and only when you first light the fireplace.
However, over time, the fogginess doesn’t go away. This is because the fog is no longer condensed moisture, but etched glass that looks a lot like condensation. Burning natural gas releases a high level of sulfuric acid, which etches the glass and makes the cloudy appearance permanent.
Luckily, you can polish the glass yourself and return it back to its original, clear appearance. However, if the glass on your gas fireplace is too badly etched, then you’ll need to replace it at a cost of around $200 to $400.