Narrowboat Glass Fire Door Cleaning

One of the real joys of a solid fuel stove is relaxing and watching the flames flicker through the glass window. Unfortunately the glass is often too dirty to see through so needs constant cleaning. Here’s a solution to your glass cleaning problems{{{0}}}

Written by Allan Cazaly nb.Pengalanty

I have a diesel “Corner Bubble Stove”

stove glass cleaning

stove glass cleaning

My stove door glass, (After over 5 years of use), has become yellowish, the glass seems to have
changed its surface texture and has what is a crazed surface that can be seen in certain light

It didn’t matter what I did, I could not clean the glass to look like “New” again

The glass seemed to attract the oily soot from the fire and soon went blackish again

NO! I don’t have incomplete combustion!

My “Blue” flame burns properly after lighting, due to my special anti-downdraught flue (German
Manufacture) and a good installation

Recently, I gave this some thought to my problem and wondered if there was anything I could do to
improve the situation without going to the expense and trouble of replacing the glazing in the door

I lifted the door off the stove and washed it with warm soapy water (Fairy liquid) together with some
Lever Brother’s “Cif” cream. I used green abrasive pads and have used Brillo pads in the past

As usual, I ended up with the same crazed finish with the “yellowish” tinge to the glass. My thoughts
turned to the Fast Cutting Paste that I used on my cabin sides paintwork to “rejuvenate” the finish
and decided to try this 3M product as last resort

The result, after two applications and plenty of elbow grease, seemed to give the glass a “sheen”
that it had previously lacked after my normal washing. It still had a slight yellowish tinge and I could
still see the crazing reflections in certain light conditions, so I was somewhat disappointed, after
spending over an hour trying to “Smooth” the glass surface. I polished both sides of the glass

I was disappointed; I thought that all the time spent was wasted.

How Wrong Can You Be?

I replaced the door on the Bubble stove, after I had finished the “polishing” exercise, and when it
was refitted to my stove, it did look somewhat cleaner, so all was not lost.

The weather turned again and became colder, (Just like British weather does), so I lit my Bubble
stove – What a transformation!

– The result was amazing!

– Gone was the yellowish look

– The glass door looked just like new again

-The Blue flame was clear to see

– No sooting up of the glass, even after a week of lighting twice a day for a couple of hours

– The glass seems to have a “non-stick” surface and I it has stayed clean for over a week!

I am delighted with the result; so delighted in fact, that I have written to the 3M Company, telling
them of my findings

If anyone has experienced the same discolouration problems that I have been putting up with for so
long, I would recommend you to try the above method to improve the situation for yourself

I cannot guarantee that you will be successful but my experience should give you the enthusiasm
to “Give it a Go”

The additional plus, (By using 3M cutting paste), is that it seems to have non-stick properties in a
hot environment. My fire is usually at about 180o Celsius when alight and there is no suspicion of
any soot deposits (Flue gas temperature varies between 100o and 180o dependent on valve control

The product used:

3M Fast Cut Plus No: 50417

It is expensive at about ?21.00 in a litre plastic bottle. The chances are you may have this product if
you have ever tried to extend your paint job on your boat. It is an excellent product

Useful Information
Paul Smith

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia wandered Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 35' Dutch motor cruiser. However, the pull of England's muddy ditches proved too much for them. Now they're back where they belong, constantly stuck in mud in a beautiful traditional narrowboat.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
Essgeebee - Friday,25 May, 2012

Hi. Interesting post. I don’t live aboard (yet) but have a multifuel stove at home. I use smokeless coal nuts and occasionally wood. I noticed it has the same ‘crazed’ pattern on the glass door which can only be seen at certain angles in certain light conditions. Interestingly any stove user manual I have read warns against using abrasives on the door glass – I understand they can weaken it and potentially make it liable to shatter. For that reason I’ve always cleaned mine with standard household surface cleaner which works fine. Unlike your approach my glass doesn’t stay completely clean but on the other hand rarely gets really dirty.


retirees - Monday,28 May, 2012

Hello There We are not net living on a boat but like the previous person have had and still have a Woodburner and find that vinegar and newspaper gets the glass really clean. You have to open the door and let the glass cool down a bit before doing this. Love this site and can’t wait till we can join you all on the canals. We also have two oldish dogs so will be interested in how people find their fun loving fur children onboard their boats.


DaveAndBarbs - Monday,28 May, 2012

We use this”old fashioned” method at home and on the boat to clean sooty stove glass: scrunch up some newspaper, dampen it slightly, and dip it into cold wood ash before using it to rub the glass . This leaves a smeary mess on the glass, but then simply use a scrunched up piece of dry newspaper to buff the stove glass to a bright,clear finish. Not a long term solution, but a “quick-fire” simple daily cleaning task.


    LindaHolmes - Monday,28 May, 2012

    Yep, I use the woodash method at home and on the boat – I use kitchen paper with a squirt of fairy liquid on it then dip it in the ash and polish away – you might need to do it a couple of times if the soot is well ingrained but it is cheap – well I am a Yorkshire lass and anything that saves”brass” is always welcome.


soulpaul0 - Monday,28 May, 2012

this worked because you had scratched the glass with the use of billo pads so soot/ tar can get a hold the fast cut has polished the glass.



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