The Good: Eliminates creosote and other build ups, Works! No residual odor. Seasons effectively.
The Bad: Does not work on warm surfaces, May leave mild streaks.
The Basics: A cleaner designed to keep ceramic glass on such things as wood stoves clean and clear of soot and creosote truly delivers!
Back when I had my home, I mortgaged several months of future profit to purchase a Brentwood EPA Wood-Burning fireplace (reviewed here!) because my house is poorly designed from a heat engineering standpoint. Half the house is heated while the other half is cold. The new wood stove heats the majority of the house, so I've moved everything of import into that half and will spend the winter months above ground.
It did not take long before the ceramic glass on the door to the wood stove began to get covered in thick brown and black stains. Of course, the place I purchased the stove from had a simple solution: Speedy White Hearth And Stove Cleaner and my life has been much better since I purchased it.
A quick history: I had a house fire six years ago which burned down a wall of my home. The contractor who fixed the house up replaced a wonderful, full-stone fireplace with a cheap piece of crap insert (reviewed here!) that was pretty much destroyed by using it rather constantly for a lone winter. Unfortunately, despite my telling the contractor I wanted something that would not leave my house smelling like smoke, he installed something that used cheap tempered glass instead of ceramic glass. One day, early last year, the glass from one of the four panels on the door exploded outward (fortunately, my cats were just a little quicker!) and I was left with quite a bit of a mess on my hands. As well, the manufacturer would not replace the glass because it was more than a month since it was installed! The glass on that panel had had only a faint amount of creosote and soot build-up on it. As cold fell this year, I decided I wasn't going to freeze to death, nor was I going to end up smelling like Smoky the Bear for the next four months and have my house smell like a volcano for the next nine months. So, I bought the wood stove.
At the first sign of darkness on the ceramic glass, I became agitated; I had just spent thousands of dollars, I'd be damned if within hours I was risking something far more expensive exploding on me! The manual for the wood stove was quite clear; do NOT use window cleaners or all-purpose cleaners, which kept me from trying to see if the Lysol All Purpose Cleaner would do the job. That was when I called the shop I purchased the wood stove at and they recommended Speedy White Hearth And Stove Cleaner.
Speedy White Hearth And Stove Cleaner comes in a 22 oz. bottle which does not have a spray top. That is sold separately. Instead, the bottle is capped with a flat cap and a seal, which is nice because it keeps the contents safe and any children from getting into it without being noticed. The top may be replaced with a standard spray bottle top. The bottle has a nice grip on the neck to make it easy to hold and keeps the bottle steady if one is using a spray top. Otherwise, the top may be unscrewed and its contents applied to a rag.
The Hearth And Stove Cleaner is a clear liquid with a mild ammonia smell to it. This is ironic because when I purchased it, the salesperson specifically cited ammonia as a chemical that degrades ceramic glass, causing it to crack. It is probably not ammonia in it (she mentioned it was silicon based), but that is what the scent is reminiscent of. It is a very subtle smell and it dissipates after use. This does contain sodium hydroxide, which is a rather caustic chemical so heeding the many warnings on the package about not consuming this, nor letting it remain on the skin is a good idea. This will irritate skin and if you have cracks on your skin, it is highly recommended that you use gloves while handling this product.
The directions for use are simple, though they are important. When the surface is cool, spray the cleaner onto it or apply using a rag. If the latter, one will need to have a great deal of cleaner on it. The important thing here is that the surface must be room temperature or generally cool. After you've sprayed it on, let it sit there for a few minutes (the bottle does not specify more than that), then wipe clean with a damp cloth or rinse with water. That's it!
And it works.
Provided one follows the directions, the Speedy White Hearth And Stove Cleaner works beautifully! It clear the ceramic glass of any debris and creosote, leaving a beautiful window into your wood stove or oven! The nice thing is, after a few uses, the product bonds to the ceramic glass, seasoning it. After a week and a half of using this, I no longer have to use it as much because the creosote burns right off the ceramic glass! I have flakes of soot and creosote, but no mess on my wood stove's ceramic glass door!
As long as one takes care and actually rinses away the cleaner, this product leaves no residue, but in the first few days of use, it may leave mild streaking. What I find much more problematic is that the surface has to be cool. Why is this a problem? The only time the surface of my wood stove's door is cool now is the very first thing in the morning. My priority is usually to stir up the embers and get a fire going again and get the house warm. The Speedy White Hearth And Stove Cleaner forces me to reprioritize. I need to clean up the glass first, before getting warm. I can think of fewer more annoying things than having cold hands first thing in the morning from washing them off (it's very important to clean this product off the skin!) and then exposing them to the cold air of the house!
However, I am also prepared to make the case for the necessity of that; I tried to apply the cleaner when the surface was warm. All right, it was a little too hot to touch. The cleaner vaporized before it could even be wiped off! This cleaner will not combust at the temperatures ceramic glass operates up to, but it sure will become ineffective!
This is irksome, but not enough to not recommend the product. Since getting this, I have started to use it on other products I have around that contain ceramic glass. Interestingly, the Speedy White Hearth And Stove Cleaner worked just great on the top of my flattop stove (reviewed here!) but it was completely ineffectual on the glass in my toaster oven! Apparently, burnt on creosote or salt are no match for Hearth And Stove Cleaner, but baked on pizza grease is! Go figure.
Of course, this product should not be consumed in any way shape or form. I am currently eating a piece of toast made in my toaster oven after cleaning up with this product and so far it seems that while it was ineffective in this setting, it also did not contaminate it.
On the balance, this product does what it says it will do at a minimum cost. It brings peace of mind and keeps the ceramic glass surface clean, both of which add value to it. It may not be indispensable to anyone who owns a wood stove, but it certainly is valuable to anyone who owns a wood stove and values their time. This is much easier and safer to use than a razor, with much more effective and lasting results.
After all, having to only wipe the glass early in the cold morning is better than having to try to scrub it or shave gunk off the surface any other time!
For other fireplace-related reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Cheetah II Ash Vac
Kidde Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector
Kidde 2 3/4lb. fire extinguisher
For other home and garden related reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.