Creosote is a major issue for any household or commercial wood burning fireplace. Creosote seeps into mortar joints and small cracks in the flue system as it turns from a gas to a liquid to a solid and corrodes away the inside of your flue. During very humid times of the year, creosote in the chimney can start to stink up a home as well. This being said, it is recommended to have the chimney swept when there is 1/8″ of creosote buildup. To prevent corrosion of your flue system and odor problems from occurring, you will want your chimney sweep to be able to remove as much creosote as possible and as completely as possible. By utilizing creosote removal products a month or so prior to calling out your chimney sweep you will increase the effectiveness of the sweep.

With so many creosote removal products on the market, it may be difficult to pick just one. With similar pricing and technical specifications, one way to decide what type of creosote removal product to purchase would be to research application methods and choose one that you feel comfortable with. There are powdered creosote modifiers and liquids, removers that you apply up in the flue system itself and removers that you apply directly to logs in the fireplace. You need to make sure that the type of creosote removal product you purchase is intended for use in the type of fireplace that you have, whether it be a wood burning fireplace or a fireplace using gas logs, and that you are comfortable applying the product.

If you have a wood burning fireplace, you have many creosote removal products to choose from. A few that I would recommend would be Cre-Away or Anti-Creo-Sote (ACS) by

Cre-Away is a powder creosote removal product. Creosote is corrosive when left untreated in the flue system.
Cre-Away is a powder creosote removal product. Creosote is corrosive when left untreated in the flue system.

ChimneySaver. ChimneySaver has an entire line of products formulated specifically for use on chimneys from heavy duty water repellents intended for use above the roofline where the elements hit the hardest to flexible crown repair products to repair small cracks that often appear over time at the top of the chimney. Cre-Away Creosote Modifier is one of their products that is actually a powder. It is effective on all types of creosote (glazed or loose) and actively reduces the odor that creosote in the chimney produces by neutralizing. This neutralizing aspect reduces the corrosiveness of the creosote while its still resting in the flue and allows your chimney sweep to remove creosote more completely and more easily. You apply this product directly p into the flue system by squeezing and aiming up the chimney. The application of the product directly into the chimney allows for it to modify glazed on creosote, which is normally very difficult to impossible to remove, and chemically alters is to a more sweepable form. Cre-Away Creosote Modifier is sold in 1 lb. bottles and it is recommended to use 1/3 of a bottle on each fire that you burn prior to having your sweep come.

12 or so squirts in the firebox, on the logs, and up in the flue is just enough for a moderate amount of creosote. Use up to 60 for severe cases.
12 or so squirts in the firebox, on the logs, and up in the flue is just enough for a moderate amount of creosote. Use up to 60 for severe cases.
A light mist with the creosote removal product will remove all the build-up from your gas logs
A light mist with the creosote removal product will remove all the build-up from your gas logs

A different product by ChimneySaver is Anti-Creo-Soot, or ACS. This spray bottle is effective on creosote because it is a liquid manganese catalyst, catalyzing the breakdown of creosote. You can use the product on almost anything: boilers, fireplaces, pellet stoves, furnaces, wood or even coal burning stoves. Due to its chemical makeup, it actually insulates appliances, improving heat transfer. The product is safe for use on catalytic combustors so long as it is put into bypass mode before treatment and for an hour afterwards. You can purchase this product in 32 oz. spray bottles or 1 gallon refill containers and should use about twelve sprays on the inside of the firebox, on the wood, and up in the flue in order for it to be effective. For severe creosote build up, up to 60 squirts can be used daily for the first seven days of use. ACS also comes in a powder and is applied directly to the flue instead of the fire. By using ACS Powder after every cleaning you will reduce the acidity and odor of creosote. Similar to Cre-Away Creosote Modifier, use about 1/3 of the bottle with each use.

If you have gas logs in your fireplace I would recommend using the ACS Gas Log Carbon and Soot Remover. It disperses carbon and soot deposits that have accumulated on the gas logs with only a light mist. This product does not damage the logs. You mist the logs when they are burning hot. I wouldn’t recommend using this product on light colored logs due to the fact that the manganese catalyst may cause yellowing to occur.

Creosote removal products such as these aren’t going to make the creosote in your chimney vanish, but it will enable the chimney sweep who comes out to remove the creosote to remove it more completely.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

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Clay Lamb

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15 thoughts on “Creosote Removal Products Guide

  1. I have tried several of the creosote remover products like yours and none are keeping my problems fixed. I had my stove completely free of the creosote and put in new pipes. After only 1 or 2 fires my pipes and stove are already running with the hard tar like stuff. When the stove is hot it is sticky and stingy. Will you guarantee your product to fix my problems.

  2. have a wood boiler it has creosote builup on the inside how can i clean this out during the summer months when its not in use please help me email a answer ty

  3. Richard,

    I would recommend you contact the manufacturer and review your installation instructions. Buildup of this sort can be from improper installation. The screen at the top may also be clogged up. To help with the buildup, you may also consider a chemical additive to wood (like ACS or Cre-Away) that you can purchase online to spray or sprinkle on to wood when you are burning to help break it down into a sweepable element.

    Burn safe and warm,

    Clay

  4. Creosote sprayed and splattered outside the fireplace onto our personal belongings – wood, books, etc. How do we remove it? My friend reached for Fantastic and bleach…yikes.

  5. Lisa, I’m not sure of any product to use in your situation. Honestly I think you have a much bigger problem than you realize with this “Creosote sprayed and splattered outside the fireplace” as you mentioned. May I suggest contacting a Chimney Sweep to evaluate this very serious situation fireplace issue before it gets any further out of control. It sounds as you possibly may have experienced a chimney fire.
    Check out the Sweeps Finder by zip code at http://www.NCSG.org
    Regards
    Burn Safe and warm!
    Clay

  6. I have a Superior pre fab fireplace installed by Hovnanian builders. It is 27 years old. I had a chimney sweep guy come in and say that I must get the creosote out of my chimney. The odd thing is that I have not used it more than 10 or 12 times in all these years. It has glass doors. He ran a camera up the flue and showed me the build up> Another company said you cannot remove creosote from a prefab fireplace. Which should I believe ?

  7. Personally, I like Cre-away products – made by Saversystems out in Richmond, Indiana – and if you’d like to you can use our link: https://amzn.to/2JdchND Another thing is if you have as serious problem you can a find a chimney sweep at NCSG.org and use a product called PCR, poultice creosote removal, but its gotta be done by professional. Here are videos of ours with additional information: https://youtu.be/JerlS0nlnZ4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaPkK3YDYsg

  8. Between the liquid Anti-Creo-Soot and the powderd Cre-Away is one preferred over the other or more effective? We had our chimney swept recently and the sweep said we had stage 2 and at some point stage 3 creosote in the flue. The pictures shown on the various web sites are similar to what I have in the chimney and I am curious if these products will work to decrease or remove the build up.

  9. First off, it doesn’t remove the creosote it only changes the consistency of it, it makes it much more sweepable in my opinion. Let’s address a couple of best practices: Be sure to only burn dry seasoned wood with a moisture content between 15 to 25% that can be verified by purchasing a moisture meter online. Be sure that the damper is opened all of the way and not baffling down or stifveling the draft. I recommended heating up the fire, this push the vapors up out of the chimney. I have used the liquid and powder sprays, acs and have had very good results, but the truth I believe both have the same formula they have different carriers. Burn safe and warm! Here’s a link to both of them: https://www.amazon.com/ACS-Anti-Creo-Soot-Liquid-32-oz/dp/B002JLCX4O/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=askthe0b-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=59ec6dc39eae4db8075a3a3732aef03b&creativeASIN=B002JLCX4O Here’s a video with more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQoTFsqqezQ&t=1s https://youtu.be/iaPkK3YDYsg https://amzn.to/2F5TyFn

  10. I have recommended a number of different kinds out there. To me personally, the principle is that it changes the consistency of creosote to make it much more sweepable. It is my professional opinion that it does not remove the creosote and you still need to have a professional chimney contractor service your fireplace and while that individual is there make their run a camera on that interior. and if you’re wise you’ll be looking over his shoulder asking what he’s doing. 😉

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