When scrolling through TikTok, I came across a tip for cleaning a fireplace door that uses only three things to easily remove stubborn stains. The surprising ingredient? Leftover ash from the fire itself!  I simply had to give it a try on my living room fireplace. Here is how I got on.  

How to clean fireplace glass  

I admit that using what I would consider dirt to clean dirt didn’t seem very logical, but it turns out the naturally abrasive quality of ash helps to scrub away the soot build-up without being harsh enough to scratch the glass door or weaken the protective coating.  What’s more, ash and water mixed together forms lye, a strong caustic alkaline used in making soaps, making it an effective cleaner.  You will need just three ingredients to remove burn marks:

1. Dampen the cloth and dip in ash

Before doing this, I made sure my stove had cooled completely. While ash is non-toxic, lye can be corrosive and irritating when it comes into contact with bare skin, so the gloves were a must.  It is also advisable to wear a facemask, especially if you have asthma or another respiratory condition. You should always take precautions to prevent breathing in or otherwise ingesting any cleaning product or solution. Then, I dampened the cloth under a tap of very lukewarm water, and after wringing out any excess, dipped it into the ash in the bottom of the fireplace grate that I left when clearing it out.

2. Apply the lye

I proceeded to rub the glass in small, circular motions using strong pressure to work the lye into the glass and lift the stains away. Unlike cleaning windows or cleaning a glass oven door, a little more force is required to help buff away the marks.  I found I needed to replenish the cloth with water and ash a few times too, so it may be worth keeping a bowl of water nearby to prevent making a few trips to the kitchen.  Many people in the comments of the original video also pointed out that you can use old newspaper that hasn’t got a shiny patina, or even dampened kitchen towel for this too if you don’t want to stain one of your household cleaning cloths, although I wasn’t too precious about keeping mine pristine. I found that this method took a little longer than expected to do with some elbow grease, but the glass front was completely clean in around half an hour – it may take you a little longer if you have a larger fireplaces or haven’t cleaned the glass in a while. It was simple to do while I watched TV in the background too, making the process a little more fun.  The result astounded me. I went from skeptical that it would work to having a brand-new-looking stove in less than an hour. 

Why does my fire glass go black? 

Fire glass can turn black for a few reasons, but the most common is a build-up of soot formed when burning natural fuels such as wood or coal bricks when there is a lack of proper ventilation. An uneven fuel-to-air ratio in the burner caused by a lack of airflow, or an abundance of fuel burning pressed up against the glass, will ‘burn’ or scorch the glass leading to hard-to-remove black marks. Your fireplace may turn blacker quicker if you are burning unseasoned wood too.  

Does vinegar clean fireplace glass?  

Cleaning with vinegar – particularly distilled white vinegar – can be the perfect solution for removing dark marks from fireplace glass.  Combine distilled white vinegar with a little baking soda until it forms a thick paste before scrubbing it onto the glass with a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) to loosen and remove tough marks without scratching or weakening the glass.