How to Fix Old Wood Stoves

Although there are cheap gas stoves to buy online, old wood stoves can have many years of use when properly restored and fixed up. Because most wood stoves are made of cast iron, the process involves rust removal and restoring the stove surface. These stoves are stout and rarely have broken parts. More often, the moving parts seize from rust or lack of use. Once the stove is fixed up and brought back to lustre, it is ready to provide a heat source for years to come.


  1. Scoop out all ash or debris from the inside of the wood stove if you can open the door. If not, do it after you remove the rust keeping the door from opening. Remove any fire bricks in the stove and inspect them for cracking or erosion. Replace them if too eroded or broken down. Open the stove flue and check for creosote buildup. Push a chimney sweep down the stove pipe to clean it out.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm water and a little dish soap. Soak some steel wool in the solution and begin scrubbing the rusted surfaces of the wood stove. Use a circular motion on the stove with the steel wool. As the rust lifts from the surface, wipe it off with a sponge. Scrub all sides of the stove until the rust is removed.
  3. Let the stove dry. Spray solvent, such as a WD-40, onto all moving parts of the wood stove. Use a narrow straw to direct the solvent into the door hinges, the door air vents and the circular knobs that regulate air flow to the stove. Use a generous amount of the solvent and let it soak in as the stove dries.
  4. Open all mechanisms to check that the solvent penetrated and restored the ability to let the moving parts function. Use a wrench to unscrew the old and seized fittings. Spray more solvent onto the mechanisms once opened to allow them to loosen further.
  5. Scrub any wood stove glass with white vinegar and a new piece of steel wool. Wipe the glass off, then use a standard household glass cleaner to restore the wood stove glass. Apply the glass cleaner directly to the glass. Use a spray-on type of cleaner. Scrub in a circular motion and wipe away the grime as it loosens off the glass. Use rags or chamois cloth to remove the debris.
  6. Rinse off the solvent with the soapy water.