Removing Rust Stains from Wood-burning Stoves

by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 1, 2014)

I lived in Appalachia in the late 80s and most of the 90s, where the houses were built in the 30s and 40s when electricity in the mountains and hollows was not yet available. Homeowners heated their homes and cooked with wood-burning stoves, and later added wood-and-coal-burning stoves. When I first lived in Kentucky, the home we occupied had three stoves—a heating stove in both the living room and kitchen and an electric stove with burners in the kitchen. We made the distinction between the wood stoves and electric cook range by calling the wood stove a heating stove and the electric range a cook stove. Before the electric range was installed into the house at the advent of electricity in the valley, the heating stove in the kitchen had been used as a cook stove.

Unlike a fireplace, a wood-burning stove has a closed firebox, stands away from the wall, uses stove pipes to vent the smoke to the chimney, and is made of cast iron. If you've ever cooked with a cast iron skillet, you have experienced the rust associated with the accumulation of moisture and long periods of non-use. During non-use, wood-burning stoves can rust badly. Left unchecked, rust can deteriorate the iron and render the stove unsafe for use. Follow these tips for removing rust from your wood-burning stove at the end of each season:

  • For surface rust that is simply powdery, use a fine-grade steel wool (such as #00 or #000) to scour the stains away.
  • If you've severe, scaled rust, scour the stain with steel wool first. Then, use a wire brush to brush away the scale and a finer grade of steel wool to reveal the base metal.
  • For stubborn rust, use a drill-mounted wire brush to remove the rust and reveal bare metal.

Once you've removed all of the rust stains and scale, and can see bare metal, go over the entire stove with steel wool, and then rub down with a soft cloth to remove residue. Next, you need to apply a stove polish to protect, cure, and seal the surface of the iron. Fire the stove, allowing the heat to cure it. Never try to remove rust from stovepipes for reuse, as the metal is thin and will become thinner during use, creating a fire hazard. Always replace rusty stovepipes at the beginning of each season.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Getting Rid of Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches are caused by swelling within the sinus cavities, and not by allergies. Discuss with your doctor the possible ...

Discover More

Patching Bad Spots in Your Lawn

Whether you have bald or brown spots in your lawn because of extreme heat, dog urine, or grass disease, you can easily remedy ...

Discover More

Removing Female Facial Hair

There are several methods for removing unwanted facial hair, but remember that your skin is underneath that hair, and you ...

Discover More

Remove Stubborn Stains Quickly Get everything looking clean again: Walls, floors, baseboards, counters, blinds, appliances, and more. Micro-scrubbers easily reach into surface grooves, lifting dirt away. This low-cost 8-pack is great for stubborn stains and touble areas. Check out Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 8-Pack today!

MORE CLEANING TIPS

Cleaning Anodized Aluminum

Anodized aluminum can be found just about everywhere in the home, on everything from cookware to MP3 players. Considering how ...

Discover More

Cleaning Silver-Plated Coffee Pots

If you are looking to add a little bit of elegance to your kitchen, then you can't really go wrong with some silver-plated ...

Discover More

Cleaning Gold

Gold has long been seen as a symbol of wealth and success. If your gold isn't cleaned properly though, then you will present ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share