Wood-burning stoves are a popular heating method in many Irish homes but they can be tricky to clean if the soot has built up, especially during winter months when they are used more frequently.
From blackened glass to a dusty surface, these are some of the most popular methods to clean your stove inside and out.
If the glass on your stove’s door is black and opaque, it’s definitely time to tackle it. Many people struggle to scrub away the burned-in marks but there are some clever solutions that don’t involve too much elbow grease. All you need is the all-wood ashes sitting at the bottom of the stove. Simply dip a damp cloth into the ashes and wipe at the glass. Alternatively, you can use a piece of newspaper to apply the ashes to the glass in a circular motion.
Other stove owners swear by a cup of tea to tackle the glass. No, I’m not suggesting you enjoy a brew. Dip a cloth into black tea and rub it on the glass of the door to remove the soot. Others suggest using a still-damp tea bag directly on the glass To avoid a dirty door in future, make sure you only burn dry logs in your stove as more soot is produced by firewood with a moisture content over 20%.
The exterior of the stove can tarnish over time too, whether from dust or exposure to moisture. To keep it in tip-top shape, rub some baby oil onto the outside of the stove to keep its glossy shine.
If you’re now left with a sparkly stove and a pile of ashes, don’t just tip those in the bin. Wood ash (not coal ash) can be added to your garden. It contains potash, which is amazing for plants. Just scatter the ash in the soil and over time rain will wash it deeper into the ground. You could also bury it into the soil, or add it to your compost.
Spread it lightly though in your garden as the ash contains salt, which won’t suit some plants. It is worth noticing that wood ash can change the Ph of soil by lowering the acid levels. Avoid using it around plants like azaleas, gardenias and blueberries which thrive in acidic soil.
Wood ash can also deter pests and keep your garden free of unwanted pests. It contains salt which kills snails and slugs. Sprinkle it around the base of any plants you know are targeted by soft-bodied pests. This works best if the ash is dry: if they get wet the salt will be washed away so you will need to sprinkle more ashes.