How To Clean A Fire Pit

One of the most iconic parts of camping is dying out due to wildfires: the campfire. Thankfully, this cozy tradition can often be enjoyed in our backyards, thanks to fire pits. But with fire comes great responsibility, including cleaning the pit. Unfortunately, you can’t stick it in the dishwasher.

Here’s how to clean a fire pit in six easy steps:

  1. Gather Equipment And Cleaning Products
  2. Ensure Ash Is Cold And Remove It
  3. Prepare Your Cleaning Products
  4. Wash The Fire Pit
  5. Rinse The Fire Pit
  6. Allow Fire Pit To Dry for 48-72 Hours

1. Gather Equipment And Cleaning Products For Masonry Fire Pit

To clean a masonry fire pit, you will require:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Metal bucket
  • Plastic bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Shovel and trowel
  • Water

2. Ensure Ash In The Fire Pit is Cold And Remove It

If you are certain the ash is cold, scoop it out into a metal bucket with a shovel or trowel.

3. Prepare The Cleaning Products For The Fire Pit

Cleaning solution for a masonry fire pit includes:

  • 1 part muriatic acid
  • 9 parts water

Ensure you are wearing rubber gloves and have eye protection before mixing.

4. Wash The Fire Pit

Keep your hand and eye protection on and give the fire pit a wash, inside and out, using a scrub brush. For small, tight areas, use a hard toothbrush.

5. Rinse The Fire Pit

Rinse your fire pit with plain water. This is easiest with a hose.

6. Allow Fire Pit To Dry for 48-72 Hours

Masonry fire pits can absorb water during a deep clean. Thus, give it at least 48-72 hours to dry before using it.

How To Clean A Metal Fire Pit

Cleaning a metal fire pit uses the same steps as above. However, there are differences in the details.

1. Gather Equipment And Products For Metal Fire Pit

Cleaning a metal fire pit will require:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Dishwashing liquid (if not cast iron)
  • Metal bucket
  • Plastic bucket
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Steel wool (only if cast iron)
  • Shovel and trowel
  • Water
  • Old towels

2. Remove Cold Ash From Metal Fire Pit

Remove cold ash into a metal bucket.

3. Prepare Cleaning Products For Metal Fire Pit

If cleaning cast iron, fill a bucket with water as hot as your gloved hand can stand it.

If cleaning a regular metal fire pit mix:

  • 1 tablespoon dish soap (grease fighting kind)
  • 1 bucket of warm water

4. Wash The Metal Fire Pit

Use steel wool and hot water to scrub the cast iron pit

Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean a regular metal fire pit.

5. Rinse The Metal Fire Pit

Use hot water to rinse a cast iron fire pit.

You can use warm water or water from the hose to rinse off a metal fire pit.

6. Dry Metal Fire Pit With Old Towels

Dry your fire pit with old towels. There must be no standing water remaining. Try to dry the pit as much as possible, as dampness causes rust. Once finished, allow it to stand for a few hours before use.

How To Clean A Rusty Fire Pit

If your metal fire pit has rust, it will require a bit more work.

1. Get A Drill Power Brush To Remove Rust From Fire Pit

You will save yourself time and your joints a lot of aches if you obtain a drill brush attachment rather than scrubbing it analog style.

2. Get Navy Jelly Or Vinegar To Remove Rust From Fire Pit

Navy jelly is an excellent, fast cleaning product to remove rust.

For those that prefer more natural products, you can use:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice

3. Scrub The Rust From Fire Pit

Now you scrub your little heart out. Again, this is much easier with a drill attachment.

4. Dry Fire Pit With Old Towels

Once you are finished, rinse and then dry it with old towels. Do not leave any standing water, or the rust will return.

How To Clean A Fire Pit With Lava Rocks

Cleaning a fire pit with lava rocks is the same as the above methods with just a few extra steps.

1. Remove Any Debris From Fire Pit

Clear away any debris from the fire pit, such as sticks and leaves.

2. Remove Cool Lava Rocks From Fire Pit

Remove the cold lava rocks into a large tub or colander with holes smaller than the rocks. (The latter will make the job the easiest. As you do this, keep an eye out for any missed debris.

3. Rinse Lava Rocks From Fire Pit

Give the lava rocks a rinse with clear water. Again, check for debris.

If you don’t have a sieve, spread rocks over a towel or sheet and hold them over a tub while rinsing.

4. Allow Lava Rocks To Dry In The Sun For At Least 4 Hours

Allow the lave rocks to dry in the sun. It is best to spread them out thinly in a dry tub.

5. Clean Your Fire Pit As Per Above

While the lava rocks dry, clean the main fire pit according. Use the instructions above for masonry (the first set of instructions) or metal.

6. Ensure Fire Pit And Rocks Are Dry Before Adding

You can add the lava rocks back into the fire pit when the rocks and the pit are fully dry.

How To Clean A Fire Pit Burner

Cleaning a fire pit burner is a gentle process with an essential safety step.

1. Disconnect Fire Pit’s Fuel Source

Disconnect your fire pit’s fuel source before doing any maintenance or cleaning so you will be safe.

2. Remove Any Debris In The Fire Pit

Remove any debris from the pit, such as sticks and leaves.

3. Prepare Cleaning Solution For Fire Pit

Prepare cleaning solution for the fire pit and burner:

  • 1 tablespoon grease-fighting dish soap
  • 1 bucket of warm water

4. Give The Fire Pit And Burner A Wipe Down

Give the burner and pit a wiped down with a soft rag or cloth. Ensure you’ve rung it out first so it isn’t soaking wet.

5. Gently Towel Dry The Burner And Fire Pit

Gently wipe down the burner, and fire pit with soft towels, then allow to air dry. Once dry, reconnect the pit and cover it.

5 Tips For Maintaining Your Fire Pit

Extend the lifespan of your fire pit by following our five essential maintenance tips.

1. Deep Clean Your Fire Pit Every 6 to 12 Months

Fire pits should be given a full deep clean every spring to prepare for peak usage. However, fire pits used throughout the year require it every six months. In addition, light cleaning and maintenance should be done fairly regularly. 

2. Remove Ash From The Fire Pit After It Is An Inch Thick

Ash must be removed from the fire pit once it is an inch thick. It must also be removed entirely, including residue, before it is stored for the season. But ideally, it is best to clear out the ash after every use. Ash is corrosive as it is naturally acidic.

3. Cover Your Fire Pit To Keep It Dry

A fire pit should have a tight-fitting cover placed over it when it is completely cool and not in use. The cover will keep it dry and protect it from morning dew. Keeping the fire pit dry will enable regular use and extend its lifespan.

4. Put Out Fire Pit Without Dramatic Temperature Changes

It is essential to know the best ways to put your fire pit. However, these must not cause dramatic temperature changes. Thus, if you prefer dousing with water, ensure it isn’t cold, as it could cause the pit to crack. Also, consider keeping the water bucket close to the pit so the water is warm when used.

5. Schedule Regular Inspections For Gas Fire Pits

Gas fire pits need a qualified service person to inspect the fire pit once a year. They will check on the burner, valves, and pipes and ensure everything is safe, and can advise if any components require replacing.

Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website

James has been escaping to the outdoors for as long as he can remember. This first started in family camping trips but soon turned into adventure camps and hiking through the Scottish Hebrides. Now he has turned towards trying to make camping more comfortable and accessible.