How to Clean a Catalytic Converter on a Wood Stove

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum with attachment

  • Soft bristle brush

  • Pipe cleaner

  • Bucket

  • Vinegar

  • Water

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A wood stove is an alternative heating method for your home. It is similar to a fireplace in that you burn wood in it to heat the house. The catalytic converter on a wood stove works similarly to a catalytic converter on a car. It converts harmful pollutants from the wood stove into less harmful emissions before releasing them into the atmosphere. You must clean the catalytic converter on your wood stove periodically to keep it working properly.


Step 1

Remove the catalytic converter from the wood stove per the manufacturer's directions that came with your stove.

Step 2

Vacuum both sides of the catalytic converter with a vacuum hose attachment.

Step 3

Clean both sides of the catalytic converter with a soft bristle brush. You're using soft bristles to avoid damaging or bending the converter, so brush each side gently.

Step 4

Clean ash off the catalytic converter with a pipe cleaner. Clean between each individual space where the ash is clinging to the sides of the squares in the converter. You'll need more than one pipe cleaner. As one pipe cleaner gets contaminated with ash, change it out for a new one. When the pipe cleaner remains relatively clean, you've cleaned most of the ash from the catalytic converter.


Step 5

Remove the catalytic converter from the wood stove every two years. Prepare a 50:50 mixture of white vinegar and water in a bucket. Soak the catalytic converter in the mixture for 30 minutes. Follow by rinsing it in boiling water for 15 minutes. Rinse it a second time for 15 minutes if necessary.


To extend the life of your catalytic converter, do not burn wet or unseasoned wood in the stove.

According to, you should not burn fuels (kerosene, lighter fluid or coal) in your stove, nor should you burn treated wood, trash, plywood or particle board.