How to Clean a Gas Fireplace

Simple and Quick Instructions for Cleaning Your Fireplace

Cleaning your gas fireplace will keep it operating in peak condition and help avoid other problems associated with not maintaining your fireplace. Gas fireplace cleaning should be done at least annually but preferably at the beginning of winter and again at the end of winter to keep the fireplace in good condition for use next season. Cleaning a gas fireplace is not very difficult; however, you need to read the owner’s manual for your particular model to make sure that you take the proper precautions prior to cleaning. If any damage is found during cleaning, a qualified technician should inspect the gas fireplace before you use it again.

As cooler weather approaches it’s important to remember to do maintenance on your gas fireplace. Many people assume since gas fireplaces don’t have the ash build up from burning wood logs that there isn’t any need for cleaning your fireplace. This is not correct at all, while gas fireplaces are much easier to maintain then a wood burning fireplace there is still annual maintenance that needs to be done in order to keep your gas fireplace working not only properly but safely as well.

How Often to Clean a Gas Fireplace
Keeping your gas fireplace cleaned properly helps maintain low energy costs while ensuring it’s safe for you to use. While you should only have to clean your gas fireplace a couple of times a year it’s a good idea to have a professional take a look at it every now and then especially if you use your fireplace often.

Before cleaning a gas fireplace, make sure that the fireplace is turned off or disconnected from an electricity source. Leaving the fireplace connected to an electricity source while it is being cleaned could break the fireplace or cause a safety issue for the person cleaning it.

To clean the outer body of the gas fireplace, use a cloth which is moistened with water. Do not take the chance with harsh chemical cleaners because using those cleaners can damage the outside of the gas fireplace. Only take the chance with cleaners which are made for cleaning gas fireplaces or a cleaner which you know is compatible with the surface of the gas fireplace and will not damage it.

To clean the inside of the gas fireplace, the logs and log holder should be removed from the inside of the fireplace. The fireplace box can then be cleaned with a vacuum using the brush attachment. The logs from the fireplace should be cleaned once they are taken out of the inside of the fireplace so there is no reaching inside of the small fire box to clean them. The logs in the fireplace can be cleaned with a paintbrush, or another type of brush, but be careful not to use a heavy hand. There are some cleaners which are made specifically for cleaning soot and carbon off of logs in gas fireplaces and can be used safely on them. However, make sure the logs in your fireplace can be cleaned with these removers safely.

To clean the soot and residue off of the glass doors surrounding the fireplace, windex or a glass cleaner can be used with a soft cloth to wipe away the build up. Do not use any other harsh chemicals on the glass as your glass covers may not be compatible with all types of cleaners.

Make sure to also make sure that the vents are clean. Dry leaves from trees can fall into the vents while the fireplace is not in use, and if the build-up becomes thick, it can cause a clog in the vent. When the fireplace is turned on the vent needs to be clear of debris to ensure proper airflow. A flashlight can be used to shine down into the vent and check for leaves or if birds have built nests in the vent. Be sure to remove this debris before the fireplace is used.

Below are some general instructions for how to clean a gas fireplace that will help you understand the process.

  • You must turn off the gas to the fireplace before you begin doing any cleaning or maintenance. This includes turning off the gas valve, the pilot light, and the electrical igniter.
  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper way to remove the glass panels from the front of the fireplace. Depending on the type and model of the gas fireplace, you may have brackets, clips, a handle, or other means of securing the glass to the fireplace. Lay the glass panel(s) to the side.
  • Next, remove the logs from inside the gas fireplace being very careful not to damage the logs and lay them to the side.
  • Remove the burner before very careful not to damage the connections and lay the burner to the side.
  • With a vacuum cleaner, use the hose to vacuum the fireplace completely making sure that you get all debris, dust, and dirt from the inside of the fireplace.
  • Check and inspect all lines, valves, and other equipment for cracks or other damage that needs to be repaired or inspected by a technician.
  • Use a soft towel to wipe clean the burner and logs before replacing them in the fireplace. If the logs are very dirty, you may need to consider using a commercial gas log cleaner.
  • Using a glass cleaner and a soft towel, clean the glass panels (back and front) and then replace them by securing them back to the front of the gas fireplace.
  • Turn on the gas and ignite the pilot light. Allow the gas logs to burn for several minutes and make sure that you do not smell any gas.

How to Clean Fireplace Glass


How the Glass Has Been Discolored

One of the biggest problems with the upkeep of gas fireplaces is how to clean gas fireplace glass. The glass is usually in the form of a viewing window or doors or a combination of both. To begin to work the problem you will need to figure out how the glass has been discolored.

For a common dark discoloration which originates from the flames, you should start with a mixture of vinegar and water or other type of many household non-abrasive glass cleaners on the market. Sometimes the manufacturer of your gas fireplace will recommend a necessary cleaner, made specifically for the fireplace unit you are cleaning. This is a common issue and should be easier to clean than the next type of marking.

Sometimes you will experience a whitish discoloration which usually comes from water deposits, dirty fuel, or some other type of foreign chemical in your unit. The mark comes from condensation, or mineral residue, burned onto the inside surface of the window or door and is very similar to the “foggy” windows you most likely see on your household windows in the morning. For this blemish you will need to resort to a abrasive cleaner more along the lines of a Brasso type. If you would like, you could even buy a gas appliance window cleaner which has finer abrasives to avoid scratching the window surface better than metal polish.

Whichever type of discoloration you a dealing with, you should always be sure to thoroughly rinse and clean all of the excess cleaner from the glass before reinstalling and relighting the unit. Another tip is to avoid possible damage from using ammonia based cleaners on etched or stained glass. It’s also a good idea to regularly clean the gas control area, also known as the valve cavity, clear of dust to keep the electrical connections functional and safe.

Methods and Tips

There are two methods that you can use when you clean gas fireplace glass. You can either clean gas fireplace glass by leaving the glass in the door, or you can remove the glass from the door frame before cleaning it. Cleaning methods are based on your own personal preference. You should not have to remove the glass when you clean gas fireplace glass. The glass is usually quite simple to clean, so it can be done with the glass still in the doors. However, if you would like to remove the glass from the doors for routine maintenance, or for a very thorough cleaning, you can do this by following some suggestions from your manufacturer’s manual. For the sake of simplicity, I will discuss the steps for when you clean gas fireplace glass with the glass still in the door.

It is important to note that when you clean gas fireplace glass, do not use common household glass cleaners. Household glass cleaners are not appropriate for cleaning black carbon deposits and other dirt that can accumulate on your gas fireplace glass.

  • Remove the glass door carefully from the frame. You can refer to your manufacturer’s manual to see how to do this, should you need assistance.
  • Place your glass gently on a soft surface so you do not damage the glass.
  • Next, apply a moderate amount of fireplace glass cleaner onto a clean paper tower or dust-free cloth. Firmly, rub the paste fireplace cleaner into the glass with a circular motion. Make sure that you cover every inch of the glass because you don’t want to repeat this process again after you have put the door back on.
  • Remember that when you clean gas fireplace glass, the paste should dry for a few seconds before you begin rubbing it off. After drying, start rubbing off the paste, dirt, and black carbon with your paper towels or clean cloth. Again, make sure if you are using cloth instead of paper towels to ensure that it doesn’t have lint or dust on it because it will adhere to your glass.
  • After rubbing off all the paste, check to see if you missed any spots. Black carbon buildup can be difficult to remove and sometimes you need to repeat the cleaning process before you get all the carbon out. If this is the case, you can repeat the fireplace cleaning of the glass.
  • After you are satisfied with your job of fireplace cleaning, you can then replace the doors. Again, if you get stuck, refer to your fireplace manufacturer’s manual for removing and reinstalling the glass doors.

By following these suggestions, you can clean gas fireplace glass quickly and easily.

One very important point to remember when you clean gas fireplace glass, is always checked with your manufacturer’s manual regarding cleaning products that can be used when fireplace cleaning, especially if your fireplace is still under warranty. If you should use a fireplace cleaner that is not recommended and something should go wrong, chances are you may not get reimbursed for any repairs.


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