How Well Do Creosote Logs Work? (Expert Opinion)

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Do creosote logs work? This is a question we hear a lot. The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple as we would like it to be.

Creosote is a natural substance produced when wood burns. It consists of various chemicals, including some known to be carcinogenic. When creosote logs burn in a fireplace, it releases these chemicals into the air. These chemicals can be harmful, especially to young children and the elderly.

But do creosote logs work? The answer is yes and no. They will undoubtedly help reduce the amount of creosote build-up in your chimney but not all of it. Unfortunately, they will also release carcinogenic chemicals into the air.

Because no one wants that happening, we’ve created this quick guide on using creosote logs safely. Read on to learn more.

What Are Creosote Logs?

Creosote logs, also known as “wannabe” chimney sweeps, are among the various ways to clean your chimney. They consist of various materials, including stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and even brass.

The most common type of creosote log is the stainless steel variety. These logs are inserted into the chimney and left there for a while. The length of time will vary depending on the manufacturer, but most recommend leaving them in for at least 24 hours.

Creosote is a flammable substance that can build up in your chimney over time.  It exists in 3 stages, that is the first, second, and third degrees, which we will look at later on in the article. A creosote log can help remove this build-up and other debris in your chimney.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using a creosote log.

  • First, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Second, wear gloves and a mask when handling the log, as the chemicals can be harmful if inhaled or ingested.
  • Finally, place the log in a safe location away from flammable materials.

After using a creosote log, have your chimney inspected by a professional. This will help to ensure that your chimney is clean and free of any potential hazards.

How Creosote Sweeping Logs Work

Creosote sweeping logs are made of natural materials that help break down the creosote in your chimney. The logs are inserted into the chimney and left to burn for about 90 minutes. During this time, the logs will release their chemicals, which will help to break down the creosote.

After the allotted time has passed, you will need to remove the log from the chimney. You can do this by using a brush or a vacuum. Once you remove the log, inspect your chimney to ensure that all of the creosote has been removed.

You may need to repeat this process before your chimney is entirely free of creosote.

Why Use a Creosote Log?

Creosote logs are often used in wood-burning stoves and fireplaces to help prevent creosote build-up. When burned, they create a gas that can help break down the tar and soot that can accumulate on your stove or fireplace.

In addition to helping to keep your stove or fireplace clean, creosote logs can also help keep the air in your home clean. The gas produced when they burn can help to remove smoke and other airborne particles from the air, making it healthier for you and your family to breathe.

If you are looking for a way to improve the efficiency of your wood-burning stove or fireplace, or if you are looking for a way to keep your home cleaner and healthier, creosote logs may be the answer.

And here are a few reasons to show you why.

  • First, if you have a lot of creosote build-up in your chimney, a creosote log can help remove it.
  • Second, if you are having problems with your chimney draft, a creosote log can help to improve it.
  • Finally, if you want to ensure that your chimney is as clean as possible, a creosote log can help you achieve this.

What is Creosote Buildup?

Creosote build-up is a common problem in chimneys. Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood and can be a fire hazard if not properly removed. Most people wonder how creosote builds up in their chimneys.

The answer is simple: when you burn wood in your fireplace, the smoke produced contains a substance called creosote. This substance sticks to the walls of your chimney and can eventually build up to the point where it becomes a fire hazard.

Creosote is classified into three degrees of severity: first, second, and third degrees.

  1. First-degree creosote features a light coating that you can easily remove with a brush. 
  2. Second-degree creosote is a thicker coating that may require some scraping to remove.
  3. Third-degree creosote is a black, tar-like substance that is difficult to remove and considered a serious fire hazard.

If you have creosote build-up in your chimney, it’s essential to have it removed by a professional. Attempting to remove it yourself can be dangerous and may damage your chimney.

How Often Should I Use Chimney Sweep Logs?

Chimney sweep logs are a great way to keep your chimney clean and free of soot and debris. But how often should you use them? The answer depends on a few factors, including the type of fireplace you have, the amount of use it gets, and the condition of your chimney.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you should use a chimney sweep log at least once a month. If you have a gas fireplace, you can probably get away with using one every few months.

Additionally, chimneys in poor conditions or a regularly used fireplace often need a chimney sweep log.

In general, it’s a good idea to use a chimney sweep log any time you notice soot or debris in your fireplace. This will help keep your chimney clean and prevent potential fires.

Are Sweeping Logs Safe?

Yes, sweeping logs are safe. It’s often recommended as a way to clear your chimney of debris and prevent dangerous clogs. When done correctly, sweeping logs can help improve the efficiency of your fireplace and reduce the risk of a chimney fire.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using a sweeping log:

  • Make sure the log is the right size for your fireplace. Sweeping logs come in different sizes, so it’s essential to choose one that will fit snugly in your fireplace.
  • Follow the directions on the packaging. Each sweeping log is a little different, so it’s essential to read the instructions carefully before using it.
  • Place the log on a non-flammable surface. This will help prevent any accidental fires.

Sweeping logs are a great way to keep your fireplace clean and safe. Just be sure to follow the directions and use caution when handling them.

How to Use Creosote Sweeps Logs – A Step-by-Step Guide

Using creosote sweeps logs is a great way to clean your chimney and prevent fires. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use one.

What you need:

  • Creosote sweeps logs
  • A fireplace or woodstove
  • A ladder (if your chimney is tall)
  • A dust mask
  • Some gloves

Steps to follow:

  1. First, make sure that your chimney or wood stove is completely cooled off before beginning. You don’t want to risk getting burned.
  2. Next, put on your dust mask and gloves to protect yourself from the creosote.
  3. Take your creosote sweeps log and light it at one end with a match.
  4. Hold the burning end of the log up to the opening of your chimney or woodstove.
  5. Allow the log to burn for about 30-90 minutes, or until it is completely burned.
  6. Finally, use a brush to sweep away any remaining creosote from your chimney or woodstove walls.

Following these steps will help you use the creosote effectively, sweeps the log, and prevent fires in your home. Be sure to practice safety when using any fire-related product.

Creosote Logs Buying Guide: What You Need to Consider

When it comes to creosote logs, there are a few things you need to take into account before making your purchase. Here is a quick guide to help you choose the suitable logs for your needs:

4 Pack CSL Creosote Sweeping Log For Fireplace & Chimney SafetyThis 4-piece creosote sweeping log set will assist you in cleaning your fireplace and chimney, making them safer to use. Simply light the logs and place them on the fire for instant use.
They’ll burn for up to two hours, during which time they’ll generate a fire that will aid in the removal of any creosote
CSL SL824-12 Creosote Log, 1-pack, BrownThese creosote logs are easy to use and work great at removing the build-up of creosote in your chimney. They come in a one-pack and are brown.
Additionally, the CSL SL824-12 creosote logs are compatible with fireplaces, including wood-burning, gas, and electric.
Creosote Sweeping Log For Fireplaces (Pack of 2)With a pack of 2, this product promises to quickly and easily remove the creosote built up in your fireplace.
The logs are easy to use. Simply light them and let them burn for 30-45 minutes. They are also safe to use, with no harmful chemicals or fumes.
Creosote Sweeping Fireplace LogThis is a fireplace log soaked in creosote and then burned. The idea is that the burning of the log will help clean out your chimney.
You should only use these logs occasionally, and you should always have your chimney swept before using one.

How Many Chimney Cleaning Logs Are Needed per Day to Clean the Chimney?

Chimney cleaning logs are available in different sizes. The size of the log will determine how long it will burn and how much soot and debris it will remove from the chimney. Most importantly, it will also dictate how often the log needs to be used.

1. Daily

The average homeowner should use one chimney cleaning log daily. This will help to ensure that the chimney is clear of soot and debris and will also help to prevent any build-up from occurring.

2. Weekly or Bi-Weekly

One log will last approximately 2-3 weeks if you use your fireplace weekly or bi-weekly. You’ll need to clean your chimney more often if you have a lot of creosote build-up or if you burn wet wood.

3. Monthly

If you only use your fireplace or stove on occasion, it is recommended that you use one chimney cleaning log per month. This will help to keep the chimney clean and free of any potential blockages.

4. As needed

Finally, some people like to use chimney cleaning logs as required. If you have a lot of creosote build-up, you may need to use one log every few weeks. If your chimney is relatively clean, you may only need to use a log once every few months.

It is important to note that the frequency with which you need to use a chimney cleaning log will depend on several factors. These include the type of wood you burn, the frequency of using your fireplace or stove, and the amount of creosote build-up in your chimney.

If you are unsure about how often you should be using a chimney cleaning log, it is best to consult with a professional. They will be able to inspect your chimney and give you an accurate estimate of how often you should be using a log.

Professional Chimney Sweep vs. Creosote Log: The Pros and Cons

chimney sweep

Professional Chimney Sweep

A professional chimney sweep is trained and experienced in sweeping chimneys. They will have the necessary tools and equipment to do the job correctly. Some of their pros and cons include the following.


  • They will do the job correctly
  • They will identify potential issues
  • You will receive advice on how to fix any potential problems


  • The cost of hiring a professional chimney sweep can be expensive
  • You may have to wait for an appointment

Creosote Log

Like professional chimney sweeps services, using a creosote log also has its pros and cons.


  • The cost of a creosote log is much cheaper than hiring a professional chimney sweep
  • You do not have to wait for an appointment
  • The log will help to break down the creosote in your chimney


  • You will need to remember to use the log regularly
  • The log may not be as effective as a professional chimney sweep
  • You will still need to have your chimney swept periodically by a professional chimney sweep

So, which is better? A professional chimney sweep or a creosote log? It depends on your individual needs and preferences. A creosote log may be better if you are concerned about the cost.

However, if you want the job done correctly and ensure that any potential problems with your chimney are identified, you should hire a professional chimney sweep.

Do I Still Need a Professional Chimney Sweeping Service?

While using a CSL to clean your chimney might be a cost-effective way to clean your chimney, it is not a professional service.

A CSL can only do so much and will likely miss essential aspects of the chimney that need to be cleaned by a professional. Moreover, it can lead to potential dangers, as listed below.

1. Poor Airflow

A CSL can cause poor airflow in your chimney. This can result from the CSL not being able to reach up the chimney or because the brushes are not the correct size. As a result, your fireplace will not draw as well, and smoke could enter your home.

2. Damaged Chimney

A CSL can damage your chimney. The bristles on the brushes can scratch the liner and cause chips and cracks. In addition, the weight of the machine can also damage the mortar and bricks.

3. Risk of Fire

Using a CSL to clean your chimney also carries a fire risk. The spinning brushes can create sparks that could ignite any flammable materials in the chimney, such as creosote.

4. Incomplete Cleaning

A CSL will not clean your chimney as thoroughly as a professional chimney sweep. The brushes might not reach up the chimney, and they will not be able to remove all the soot and debris. As a result, your chimney could still be a fire hazard.

5. Cost

While a CSL might seem cost-effective to clean your chimney, it is essential to remember that it is not a professional service. Incomplete cleaning, damaged chimneys, and fire risk could cost you more in the long run.

6. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Another danger of using a CSL to clean your chimney is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If the CSL is not appropriately used, it can release carbon monoxide into your home. This gas is odorless and colorless, and it can be deadly.

How to Minimize Creosote Build Up?

There are a few things you can do to minimize the amount of creosote that builds up in your chimney:

1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly

One of the best ways to prevent creosote build-up is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned periodically. This will help remove any existing creosote so that it doesn’t have a chance to build up further.

2. Use dry, seasoned wood

Burning dry, seasoned wood is one of the best ways to minimize creosote build-up. Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and allowed to dry for at least six months before being used as fuel.

3. Don’t overload your fireplace

When you overload your fireplace, it can cause incomplete combustion. Additionally, more smoke and unburned particles will be released into your chimney, increasing creosote build-up.

4. Limit the use of your fireplace

If you only use your fireplace occasionally, creosote will be less opportunity to build up over time. Try to limit your fireplace usage to a few times per week.

5. Avoid using softwoods like pine or cedar

Softwoods tend to produce more soot and creosote than hardwoods. So, if you’re looking to minimize creosote build-up, it’s best to avoid using these types of wood altogether.

6. Use a chimney liner

If your chimney doesn’t have a liner, this can increase creosote build-up. A liner helps create a smooth surface for the smoke to travel up, which minimizes the number of unburned particles left behind.

7. Use a fireplace insert

A fireplace insert can help minimize creosote build-up by providing a more efficient burn. This means that there will be less smoke and unburned particles released into your chimney, which will help to keep the creosote build-up to a minimum.

8. Don’t build big fires

Bigger fires create more smoke, which means more creosote. Try to make smaller, hotter fires that burn cleaner and produce less smoke.

9. Don’t let the fire burn for a long time

Allowing your fire to burn for an extended period can increase creosote build-up. Try to keep your fires burning for no more than two hours.

10. Don’t overload the fireplace

Finally, don’t overload your fireplace with too much wood. Doing this can cause the fire to smolder, producing more smoke and increasing the amount of creosote that builds up in your chimney.

By following these tips, you can minimize the creosote that builds up in your chimney and help keep your home safe.


Chimney sweeping is a necessary part of fireplace and wood stove ownership. It is essential to have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure that it is free of debris and safe to use.

While it offers some benefits, there are many dangers associated with using a CSL to clean your chimney. Therefore, it is best to hire a professional chimney sweeper to do the job.


Are creosote logs toxic?

Yes, creosote logs are considered toxic because they contain chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled or ingested. If you have a fire with a creosote log, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep the area well-ventilated to prevent the fumes from becoming harmful.

Do creosote logs smell bad?

Yes, creosote logs can produce a strong, unpleasant smell when burned. If you find the smell bothersome, try using different firewood or burning the log in a well-ventilated area.

Can you burn wood with a creosote log?

Yes. You can burn wood with a creosote log, but it is not recommended. Creosote is a highly flammable substance and can cause a fire to spread quickly. If you must burn wood with a creosote log, keep a fire extinguisher close by and follow the manufacturer’s guide.

Will a hot fire remove creosote?

The answer is yes. A hot fire will remove creosote from your chimney. However, you must be sure to maintain a hot enough fire throughout the entire burning process to remove the creosote thoroughly. If you do not keep the fire hot enough, the creosote will build up again, and you will have to start the process over.

Does burning salt clean a chimney?

Yes, burning salt is an effective way to clean a chimney. The high heat of the salt will help to loosen any soot or debris that may be stuck to the sides of the chimney. Salt also has natural cleansing properties that can help to remove any lingering smells from the chimney.

Will vinegar remove creosote?

Yes, vinegar can remove light deposits of creosote. To use vinegar, you will need to mix it with water in a 1:3 ratio, with 3 being water.

Then, apply the mixture to the areas of your chimney where there is creosote build-up. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing it away with a brush. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove all of the creosote.

Which burning wood creates the most creosote?

Softwoods, such as pine, fir, and spruce, tend to create more creosote than hardwoods, such as oak and maple. This is because softwoods have a higher resin content than hardwoods, and when burned, the resin creates creosote.

What chemicals are in creosote sweeping logs?

There are a variety of chemicals found in creosote sweeping logs, including phenols, quinones, cresols, xylenols, and methanol. While the exact composition of creosote can vary depending on the source material and manufacturing process, these are generally the most common chemicals found in this type of product.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.