Maintaining Your Cast Iron Stove

You’ve settled back into your living room after all the builders have left, and a few weeks have passed. You are wanting to season it before its first use, or it’s time to take care of and clean your new cast iron stove, and it’s important to you that you do it just right.

Maintaining your new fireplace doesn’t have to be difficult, and you can use common household products to keep it in good working order. The initial seasoning of your cast iron stove is integral to its lifespan and longevity. As stove installation experts, we have provided the best advice in this blog post.

How do you season a cast iron wood stove?

Much like a cast iron skillet, cast iron fireplaces work their best when properly seasoned and broken in. The material used is durable and can last a long time, cast iron expands and contracts as it gets warmed and cooled which requires a specific breaking-in process to make sure this doesn’t happen too quickly.

You will want to undertake 2 separate break-in fires, and before beginning, you should consult your user manual on the best way to build a fire in your specific model.

  1. The initial fire – You will want to first raise the surface temperature of the stove to around 93°C (200°F) and burn for approximately 1 hour. This is the ideal temperature, but it can be challenging to maintain it if your stove isn’t airtight. Do your best, and you must let the fire cool completely between each stage.
  2. The second fire should raise the surface temperature of the stove to around 150°C (300°F). Again, burn for approximately an hour and let cool completely.
  3. Your final break-in fire should raise the surface temperature to around 200°C (400°F). Burn for an hour, and then cool to room temperature to finish the breaking-in of your stove.

During this process, the exterior of the stove may smoke. It’s important to remember this is normal and will gradually reduce after the first few fires. You can easily manage the smoke by opening a door or window near the stove.

Cleaning and maintaining your cast iron stove

Like everything, when taking care of your cast iron stove it is important to let it completely cool down to room temperature before cleaning to prevent burns. In the best scenario, your fireplace will be completely stone cold before you begin anything else.

Cleaning your cast iron stove can be a fairly simple process, and you can use household products such as vinegar, water, baking soda and mild dish soap.

Use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to clean drips and spills from the stovetop with a sponge, or for tougher stains mix ½ cup of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of washing up liquid in a small bowl, adding white vinegar to the mixture until it becomes creamy.

You can then apply this mixture to the stains and scour with a soft brush, or a stiffer brush for tougher and more burnt-on stains. Wipe down with a wet cloth or kitchen roll, and then dry the stove.

The glass on the stove door, as well as around the exterior of the stove, can be cleaned using the same 50/50 white vinegar and water solution. It’s gentle and effective, and safe to use around the house.

Removing the ashes can be a little tougher. You will want to lay an old towel around the stove and wear a face mask to prevent inhalation. Work slowly, as ash is light and can diffuse quickly. Scoop up your old ashes with a small shovel and a small broom and place them into an ash can with a metal top, leaving for at least two days before disposal to make sure they have completely cooled.

You can then use a hoover attachment around the inside of the firebox (or chamber) to remove any remaining ash to ensure it’s completely clean.

Address any rust you find

Cast iron is a durable and long-lasting material, but it can rust. Tools to keep handy to fix any rusty patches you find include a stiff wire bristle brush or medium-grade steel wool. These, as well as a bit of elbow grease, works wonders to remove smaller patches of rust.

If the patches leave noticeable marks, you may find cast iron polish, wood stove paint or cast iron blackening paste to be helpful in blending these blemishes away.

Incendium Stoves and Fireplaces are also on hand to provide a full cast iron stove service, aftercare and chimney sweep. For more information, or to book a full service, get in touch with us today.

Published On: 12/05/2022Categories: Blog

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