How to Clean Your Fireplace Glass
(And Help it Look New Again)
Time to Complete: 25 minutes
Here are a few tools that I recommend and the reasons why I recommend them. You can still clean your fireplace glass without most of these tools but some of them make it a lot easier.
- Gas Fireplace Glass Cleaner – it takes off those white deposits (this is actually a calcium deposit), it leaves a protective coating to prevent future buildup, and it does not contain ammonia (like windex) which can actually harm the inside coating on the glass.
- Glowing Embers – this simulates glowing embers and will actually add more glow to make it look more realistic
- All-in-One Screwdriver – My favorite screwdriver. Only needed if screws need to be removed to take the glass off. (If you are not sure, we will cover this)
- Compact Vacuum with Brush Attachment -a nice and compact all purpose vacuum to clean off the logs. You can use your own household vacuum but I like to have a vacuum like this for those “extra dirty” jobs.
Regular maintenance and cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your fireplace as well as preventing service issues.
Almost every gas fireplace that I ended up repairing over the years had very dirty or hazy glass. And whats even more surprising is that most of my customers had no idea that the glass could be cleaned or that it was a very simple process.
How can you enjoy your gas fireplace if it looks like this:
Is there a flame in there?
It is not uncommon to see this on Direct Vent fireplaces that are over a few years old. So here’s how you clean it:
Removing the Glass assembly
The easiest way to find out how to remove your fireplace glass is to locate your owner’s manual. Most manuals have step by step instructions that are specific to your fireplace on how to remove and clean the glass. The bad news is that if you are like most fireplace owners, you do not have a manual. The good news is that most fireplaces were designed for easy glass cleaning with some sort of quick-release system. If not, a few screws can be removed to remove the glass frame. Most often, they are spring loaded clams that you can undo without any tools.
Here is a step by step example for a spring clamp type of system.
- Locate the release clamps for the glass:
First Try opening the lower louver section to your fireplace. Most of them will just flip down like this (I apologize in advance for the picture quality, better quality pictures will be added later):
Some may require lifting up and will remove fully. Others have spring loaded clips hidden under the louvers that must be pressed in order to rotate it down. And if your fireplace is old enough, you may have to remove screws that hold the louver on so you will need your All-in-One Screwdriver. If you have to remove screws just be sure you do not strip them as you will have to re-install them in the end.
Now we can see if there is a clamp type system that holds the glass in place:
On this fireplace it is a silver clamp that hooks around the bottom of the glass frame. We will have to undo these to remove the glass assembly:
There! Now the clamp is undone. There is usually at least two clamps (sometimes more) that hold the glass in place. We need to release all the clamps that we see.
Again, some fireplaces have screws that hold the glass in place, others may have spring loaded clamps like this:
The important thing is to locate anything that is holding the glass frame to the face of the fireplace.
Once we are sure that all the glass clamps are unlocked we need to look behind the top louver to see if there are any clamps on the top as well:
The upper louver on this fireplace can be removed by simply lifting up and pulling out. Again, some fireplaces may have screws holding the louver on. Some will just flip up. You may want to use your flashlight to see if this is the case.
Now that we removed the upper louver our fireplace should look something like this:
There are no fasteners on the top of the glass for this unit. It just hooks around the top. If there were, we would undo those as well.
Now we can pull out the bottom and lift up to remove it from the face:
Cleaning the Glass & Firebox
Thats it! The glass is off! Now we can use our Gas Fireplace Cleaner to remove any soot, dust, or deposits that may have formed on the glass. This product gets applied almost like a wax (just follow the instructions on the side of the bottle). As mentioned above, it will actually leave a protective coating behind to help prevent future buildup (which equals less cleaning). I also recommend this product not only because it works so well, but because it does not contain any ammonia(ex: Windex), which can damage the coating on the inside of the glass.
Since we have the glass off we can also vacuum off the logs (the brush attachment for your Vacuum along with some gentile brushing goes a long way)
IMPORTANT: DO NOT rearrange the logs. The logs are designed to go in a certain way and will cause A LOT of sooting if they are rearranged.
Below is a short video that goes over this same process:
Adding Glowing Embers
Now is the time where we can also add glowing embers. The embers are designed to go directly onto the burner (where you would normally see flame when the fireplace is running.
I would recommend putting them on the front burner of the fireplace, like you see here:
If you look at the very front of the burner, you can see the green pieces that are glowing. This is how it should look. The trick is to only use a thin layer, but spread them out as much as possible.
The bag will tell you to use “nickel and dime sized pieces” in a single layer on the burner. I like to grab the embers in my fist with a little hanging out the top and brush them on to the burner. This way it is almost like a dust, and will glow nearly twice as much. This is a little trick most fireplace shops use in their showrooms to make their displays look better. I will most likely post a video of this technique eventually.
Now that we have the fireplace looking like new we can put it back together. Simply assemble it the same way you disassembled it. Make sure if you removed any screws that you replace them all and that the glass is centered and latched firmly. Direct Vent fireplaces are only designed to run with the glass latched and will cause harmful fumes to enter your home if the glass is not secured.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to leave a comment.