How to Polish Cast Iron Stoves

Cast iron wood-burning stoves have provided warmth for centuries, becoming particularly popular in the 19th century.
They are still used today especially in homes where an aged asthetic would be appreciated such as in a log home. Although cast iron stoves can be purchased new, used antique or vintage stoves can sometimes be found at antique stores. Often, though, these used stoves may have a rusty, dull finish. Fortunately, a cast iron stove can be restored to its original shine with the right materials. .

Step 1

Be sure the stove is cool. Remove the firebox and take out any removable pieces from the stovetop.

Step 2

Dampen a cloth with warm water and wipe down all surfaces of the stove. Use a soft brush to clean the corners. If any rust is present on the stove, gently rub a wire brush against the rust until it flakes off. Wipe away the flakes with the damp cloth. Allow the stove to dry.

Step 3

Dip a clean rag into the stove polish and apply directly to the stove. Begin at the top left and work your way to the right and down in a logical pattern. Rub the polish in a circular pattern, reapplying to the cloth frequently and turning the cloth to a clean section when it becomes soiled. Cover the entire stove with polish. Allow to set for four hours.

Step 4

Buff the stove with a clean, dry cloth until it shines. Use large, circular patterns around broad surfaces. Be sure to work the cloth into the crevices as well.

Step 5

Clean the removable pieces with a damp cloth. Repeat the same polish procedure as you used on the stove itself. Replace the pieces.

Things You Will Need

  • Wire brush
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Old cloths
  • Stove polish


  • If you have a modern cast iron stove, check with the manufacturer before cleaning your stove to determine any special precautions.


  • Those with sensitive skin should wear gloves while working with the stove polish.

About the Author

Gail Logan is a magazine editor and freelance writer based in Atlanta, AL. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Patrick Henry College. For the past four years, she has written home design, travel and food features for national magazines, including "Coastal Living," "Texas Home and Living," "Log Home Design," and "Country's Best Log Homes." When not writing, she mentors inner-city children.