Christmas is well and truly over and while it might not be spring for another couple of months, it is never too early to start spring cleaning; in fact, with January traditionally being a quiet month after the excitement of the festive period, it is a great time to take stock and get on with those household chores you have been neglecting, such as cleaning your wood burning stove. Your stove is likely to be in heavy use at this time of year, so choose a milder day when you can live without it for a few hours and make sure it has completely cooled down from the last use before you start cleaning it.
You should remove excess ash whenever there is a substantial build-up, so it is a good idea to check your stove after periods of prolonged or near-constant use. Remove all the excess ash by using a vacuum with a suitable attachment. A hand-held model can be useful for this; alternatively, a regular vacuum with a narrow attachment works well and is likely to pack a more powerful punch. When you have cleared out the ash, use a soft brush to clean the fire bricks. While you are doing this, be sure to check for cracks or other sign of damage. You can buy specialist cement to repair minor cracks; however, any bricks showing major damage will need replacing.
Cleaning the glass
You can clean your glass with scrunched-up newspaper, which is a great way to get the worst of the soot and dirt off the surface. Once you have done this, use a soft cloth with a suitable wood burning stove glass cleaner. You will find these available at many fireplace retailers, DIY stores, and even some larger supermarkets. Don't make the mistake of using an all-purpose cleaner unless it explicitly states you can use it in your wood burner. When you have cleaned the glass, check carefully for any cracks or other signs of damage. Cracked glass will need replacing before it gets any worse. Some stoves allow you to easily remove the glass for thorough cleaning, so check your user manual if you are not sure how to do this.
Checking the seal
The final thing to do is check the stove's door seal for signs of wear and tear. If it is coming loose or showing signs of damage, it will need replacing; if not, your stove is good to go again!