How to Clean Rust on a Wood Stove 

Has your wood stove started to show signs of rust? When exposed to moisture or kept in storage, wooden stoves are susceptible to rusting. While newer stoves tend to be rust resistant, they can still start to develop it in the right conditions. 

So, how do you tackle rust on a wood stove? Discover the best cleaning tips you can follow below.

What will I need?

To effectively remove rust from a wood stove, you’re going to need the following:

  • An old sheet
  • Wire wool (fine or steel)
  • Drill mounted wire brush (for stubborn rust)
  • Damp cloth 
  • Stove paint (optional) 

You don’t need a lot, but you do need to make sure you have the right equipment. For instance, there are different types of wire wool and the one you need will depend upon the severity of the rust. For surface rust, you should use a fine-grade steel wool, whereas for scaled rust you’ll want to use steel wool, and potentially a drill mounted wire brush.

The process is fast and easy, but it can get messy which is why you’ll want to use an old sheet to cover the floor around the stove. This will prevent any bits of rust being trodden across the floor.

How to clean rust on a wood stove

Now that you have the right tools for the job, let’s get to work removing rust from your wood stove…

Step 1: Make sure the stove is completely cool before you begin. 

Step 2: Take your wire wool and use small, gentle, circular motions to begin removing the rust. 

Step 3: When all the rust has been scrubbed off, wipe the stove with a damp cloth to remove any residue. 

Step 4: Leave the stove to dry.

Step 5: Give it a fresh coat or two of stove paint to help restore it back to its original glory. 

It’s important to ensure you are using specialist stove paint, rather than any old matt paint. This is because only stove paint is designed to withstand such a high temperature.

How to prevent rust build-up

If you want to avoid scrubbing off the rust of your stove each year, there are some preventative tips you can follow. 

Rust primarily builds up when the wood stove isn’t used for a long period of time. It could be you have been away travelling, or you aren’t using it as much in summer. Whatever the reason, if you want to protect your stove, there are things you can do to prevent rust from forming such as:

Stove polish

Stove polish is an excellent tool for keeping rust at bay. It is readily available and helps to protect the stove from moisture. After cleaning your stove, apply a little of the polish with a damp cloth. You’ll then want to leave it for around three days for it to fully cure. 

When you come to turn the stove back on again, it will likely produce a foul smell and smoke a little. Don’t worry, this is normal, and it should reside quickly. You can keep the windows open to ensure the smoke and odor has somewhere to escape. 


Another great solution for keeping moisture at bay is to use a dehumidifier near the stove. Regularly running the dehumidifier when the stove isn’t in use will ensure rust doesn’t have the chance to form. 

If you will be using the dehumidifier in an area you frequently use, make sure you invest in a quiet unit. 

Turning the stove on frequently 

While the last thing you want to do in summer is turn the stove on, regularly lighting it is the bets way to prevent rust. You can turn it on first thing in the morning, or last thing in the evening when it is coldest. 

Even just turning it on once every couple of days can help to ensure rust doesn’t have the opportunity to develop. 

Leave the door of the stove slightly ajar 

You’d be surprised how much a little ventilation can help protect your wood stove from rust. When it isn’t in use, leave the door slightly ajar. This will stop rust from forming in the compartment of the stove. 

While rust is a common problem for those with a wood stove, it can be simple to fix. The tips and techniques above are some of the best you can try when it comes to how to clean rust on a wood stove.


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