Keeping Carpet Around Wood Stove Clean

We have a woodstove in our basement: we just use it maybe once or twice a week. My husband works a lot and if the weather isn't below the 40s, he doesn't want to fool with it.


Anyway, the basement has this really thin carpet in it and when he builds a fire, it leaves a lot of debris here and there. I can sort of sweep the debris or use the little wet vac we have to clean it up, but I worried that it will eventually shorten the life of the $20 wet vac.

I was trying to think of what would be the best thing to put on the carpet so it wouldn't be such a hassle to clean, like maybe a vinyl runner or something? It would need to be something that wouldn't be coming up off the floor constantly, that would irritate my husband. I didn't know if I should buy some scrap vinyl flooring and lay that down.

The woodstove is about six feet from the door, he keeps the wood outside the door. It's not a big deal, but I feel like a slacker when people come over and there's all this wood debris in the basement. I wish it had vinyl or wood flooring.


By Janice from Asheboro, NC

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

The only smart way to deal with that is to move the stove to the outside wall, where the wood is, install a good size doggie door, clad the door and the wall with cheap galvanized or copper plated sheet metal, and turn the stove, so that it's door faces the doggie door.

That way all the bits of wood and bark and especially the bugs stay outside. At the same time a 4" pipe should be installed from the outside and angling up into the ash drawer. It should have a butterfly valve in it to regulate the air flow. Yes, I know, most people are not smart enough to realize that, but any air that YOU don't supply, is pulled in through drafty cracks somewhere. It is not supplied by Santa. And then you burn air, that you already paid to warm up! Kinda dumb when you think about it, isn't it?


The draft eliminator pipe should exit on the outside above a metal ash bucket, and have an easily removable bug-screen cap. When it is time to empty the ashes, they can be pushed into that pipe and allowed to slide down the pipe into the ash bucket.

By using freely supplied fresh air for combustion, instead of grudgingly supplied via drafts, the wood will burn much more efficiently and hotter. You can take advantage of that by putting bricks or garden path concrete pads onto the stove. They store the heat from efficient combustion, and then gently release it when the room cools. You can add bricks on the side too, and even tile them, and eventually wind up with a super efficient tile stove, like they have used in the Alps for centuries.

Have FUN!

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

I would certainly look into "DearWebby's" advice as she seems to know what she is talking about. (I got lost as we don't have an indoor wood burning stove, but good for "DearWebby"!) Her post makes a lot of safety sense.


My take from your post, however, was that you are concerned more about the debris from hauling wood in and across the carpet. If this is the case, I recommend you do three things. 1) Make a large canvas tote to carry the wood inside. 2) Make an indoor, firesafe, storage area next to the stove to store the extra wood. 3) Pay attention to the safety concerns "DearWebby" mentioned.

All that said, you'll have the best of all worlds. Less wood chips and bark on the carpet and a very safe indoor wood stove for your home. Good luck Janice. :-)

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January 8, 20110 found this helpful

When I had a small coal stove in my living room a small piece of a hot ember burnt a small area in my rug. I went to my local guy who sold wood and coal stoves and bought a fireproof rug that measured about 2 by 4 feet and placed in front of my stove. When I wasn't using the stove I would roll up the rug and place it behind the stove so it was out of the way.


Any hot embers that popped out would land on the rug and no damage was done. I see from the pic you have the stove on the outside wall and have bricks on the floor as well as on the wall which is usually required by town fire codes. So everything looks to be in code compliance.

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for all these suggestions, I will definitely share your ideas with my husband.

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

Cut the carpet back and lay 12 x12 tile.

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

Could you go to the Goodwill and get an inexpensive vacuum cleaner to be used just for the stove area? Be sure and get one that has bags that are easy to find and not too expensive. It would save the shop vac.

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

Why don't you just use a regular vacuum once a week, sweep up the brick area after each use and have hubby be more careful? I notice the dust bucket to the right of the stove hasn't been emptied in quite awhile so that's probably adding to the messiness so have hubby keep it emptied ;-) I've lived in a home that relied on this type of stove and never had a problem unless I didn't clean it up on a regular basis.


KansasCindy, just to let you know that Dear Webby is a 'He' bachelor that lives in Black Diamond, Alberta ;-)

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for all these suggestions! My husband told me that he actually splits the wood beside the stove, I guess that explains a lot of the debris! He is not big on keeping the house clean/neat which has its merits, but it also means he will get aggravated if I make this issue. The wet/dry vac I have was just a cheapo that I got on sale, I will just continue to use it and maybe get a nicer wet/dry vac for other chores when I see one on sale. I was just wondering if anyone had had this situation and bought some scraps of vinyl and put those down - on the carpet, not the brick - the brick is easy to clean. It is so much easier to sweep than to vacuum this sort of debris. Seem like I saw on this site where some people put down plastic tablecloths on their carpet but that didn't seem very stable to me. Thanks!

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