Home » Blog » How to Clean an Outdoor Fire Pit to Keep It Shining Brightly

How to Clean an Outdoor Fire Pit to Keep It Shining Brightly

In the heart of your backyard, where laughter dances with crackling flames and the stars above provide the perfect backdrop, your outdoor fire pit is a beacon of warmth and togetherness. It’s the epicenter of countless memories, from cozy fall evenings to lively summer gatherings.

But to keep this beloved feature burning brightly, you need to become its caretaker, and that starts with knowing how to clean an outdoor fire pit.

When the flames flicker and the embers glow, they leave behind a tale of delightful chaos-ash, soot, and a hint of nostalgia. Fear not, because this guide is your ticket to preserving the charm of your outdoor sanctuary. Whether your fire pit is made of stone, metal, or even adorned with intricate designs, we’ll reveal the secrets to restoring its natural splendor.

With my expert tips and easy, step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn not only how to maintain its functionality, but also how to transform your fire pit into a masterpiece worthy of admiration.

Contents at a Glance

Before we start, let us answer the question together.

Why Should I Clean My Fire Pit?

When you haven’t cleaned your fire pit table for a while, it starts looking like it’s auditioning for a role in a rustic horror movie!

If you’re perusing this article, you likely understand the importance of this task. Nevertheless, allow me to reiterate why it is imperative.

Cleaning your fire pit holds significant importance for various compelling reasons. Below, I outline the key motivations behind the necessity of regular cleaning:

  1. Prevent long-term damage: Ash and debris can accumulate in your fire pit, which can cause long-term damage to the fire pit. It is important to remove all ash and debris from the bowl to prevent this damage.
  2. Safety: Ash tends to smolder for hours after the fire goes out, which can be a fire hazard. Cleaning your fire pit can help prevent this hazard.
  3. Aesthetics: A clean fire pit looks better and can enhance the overall look of your outdoor space.
  4. Durability: Regular cleaning can help prolong the lifespan of your fire pit.

We all know the saying – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This definitely applies to fire pit care. Taking a few minutes to remove ash and debris after each use prevents major damage down the road.

In this article, I’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on how to clean wood-burning and propane/gas/gel fire pits.

So our path is set, let’s begin.

How to Clean a Wood-Burning Fire Pit

A wood-burning fire pit can be a great addition to your outdoor space. However, without proper care and cleaning, it can accumulate dirt, ash, and stains over time.
What you need to clean a wood-burning fire pit
A proper firepit cleaning doesn’t require fancy tools or harsh chemicals. With just a few basic household items, you can keep your firepit looking like new.

What you will need to clean a wood-burning fire pit: safety glasses, dust mask, heat-resistant gloves, soft cloths, medium stiff brush, mild dish soap mixed with warm water, metal bucket or container, wire brush or scraper, and a small shovel.

Here are the steps for cleaning a wood-burning fire pit 🦸

Step 1. Let the embers fully extinguish. I recommend waiting at least 4 hours after the last flickering flame has died out before cleaning. This allows ample time for the entire pit, including the bottom grates, to completely cool. No one wants a painful surprise from a still-hot fire ring!

Step 2. Arm yourself with heavy-duty gloves and scoop out the ash using a small steel shovel. The ash may have compacted into clumps interspersed with broken charcoal bits. Take care not to gouge the inner surface as you vigorously scrape and sweep every speck into a metal ash can.

Step 3. Next, grab a stiff wire brush or scraper and attack any stubborn soot marks or charred food/grease stains baked onto the inner surface. Apply some forceful downward scrubs with the brush to lift that grimy residue.

Step 4. For a deep clean, create a bucket of sudsy water. Use a biodegradable degreasing soap. Take a rugged scrub brush and lather every square inch with soapy water. This will lift the most caked-on smoke stains that regular brushing alone can’t conquer.

Step 5. Finally, thoroughly rinse away any soapy film with clean water. Allow ample time for the entire pit to air dry before lighting your next cozy fire.

Maintaining a wood-burning fire pit is easy with basic tools and these steps: let it cool, scoop ash, scrub soot, use soapy water for stubborn stains, and rinse thoroughly.

How to Clean a Propane or Gas Fire Pit

Propane fire pits provide ambient heat and illumination with the convenience of gas. However, the valves, burner, and surrounding surfaces still require periodic cleaning.

What you need to clean a propane/gas/gel fire pits

If your current propane fire pit table is in very poor condition and you are thinking of buying a new one, I have compiled a list of the best propane fire pit tables to consider purchasing. Take a look — you won’t regret it!

However, if you’re still determined to try and save your existing table, let’s move on to cleaning it.

In the case of cleaning outdoor propane fire pit tables, the supplies will be slightly different: safety glasses, dust mask, heat-resistant gloves, soft cloths, medium stiff brush, mild dish soap mixed with warm water, and a sponge.

Let’s get started on cleaning an outdoor gas fire pit. 👇

Step 1. Start by turning off the propane tank and disconnecting it. Make sure the burner is completely cool before handling. Carefully lift out any decorative lava rocks or glass beads and set aside. Remove any debris or ash with a small shovel.

Step 2. Mix a mild detergent with warm water and use a soft cloth to gently wipe down the burner, frame, controls, and surfaces. Scrub gently to remove stubborn soot or smoke stains. Rinse thoroughly with a cloth dampened with fresh water.

Step 3. Use a vacuum crevice tool to extract any remaining dust or particles around the burner, valves, and controls. This helps maintain proper gas flow and ignition.

Step 4. Replace décor like lava rocks if desired. Allow the entire fire pit to fully dry before reconnecting the gas supply.

If you use a propane/gas or gel fire pit table, that means you also need to clean lava rocks or fire glass. I’ve also prepared a guide on how to clean those things.

fire glass and lava rocks

Let’s take a look at how to clean lava rocks in your fire pit. It won’t take too much of your time, just follow the steps below:

  1. Ensure the lava rocks have cooled down completely before cleaning them. Safety first!
  2. Take out the lava rocks from the fire pit table and set them aside. Clear the fire pit table of any debris or ash using a shovel.
  3. To deep clean the lava rocks, prepare a mixture of soap and water in a bucket. Soak the lava rocks in this mixture for a few hours. Afterward, scrub them vigorously with a brush to eliminate any remaining debris or soot.
  4. Rinse the lava rocks thoroughly with clean water and allow them to air dry completely before returning them to the fire pit table.

If your propane fire pit table features fire glass, and you’d like to keep it sparkling, follow these five simple steps:

  1. Wait until the fire glass has cooled down entirely before beginning the cleaning process.
  2. Remove the fire glass from the fire pit table and place it in a suitable container.
  3. In a bucket, mix equal parts water and vinegar to create a 50/50 solution. Add the dirty fire glass to the bucket and let it soak for several hours.
  4. Gently stir the solution in a circular motion to help dislodge any dirt or debris from the fire glass. After soaking, drain the mixture from the bucket.
  5. Wash the fire glass with simple dish soap or create your own cleaning solution using distilled water and vinegar. You can do this in your sink or use a hose outdoors. Use a scrub brush, such as a toilet brush, to gently scrub the fire glass. Rinse the fire glass thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely before returning it to the fire pit table.

For optimal results, consider repeating these maintenance procedures every six months, or at least once a year. Regular maintenance will ensure that your fire pit remains a stunning centerpiece in your outdoor oasis, ready to ignite memorable moments.

Now your fire pit is shining brightly! ✨

Fire pit shines now

It is imperative to explain that a fire pit that is made of metal without a protective anti-corrosion coating or made of unalloyed metal can succumb to oxidation.

As we know, this process not only affects its aesthetic appearance but also causes the metal to corrode. It is therefore advisable to keep an eye out for signs of rust and, if it appears, to take prompt action to halt its progress and restore the table to its original splendor.

Frequently Asked Questions

I understand that maintaining this captivating centerpiece can raise some burning questions. In this section, I’ve compiled answers to the most common questions that arise when it comes time to clean and maintain your fire pit.

1. Why is it important to clean and maintain a fire pit?

Cleaning and maintaining a fire pit is essential for several reasons. First, it prevents the buildup of ash, soot, and debris that can damage the fire pit over time. Second, it eliminates fire hazards by removing smoldering embers after use. Third, routine maintenance keeps the fire pit looking new and enhances the backyard space. Finally, it extends the life of the fire pit, giving you more enjoyment from your investment.

2. What tools do I need to clean and maintain a fire pit?

Basic fire pit cleaning tools include a metal shovel or scoop for removing ashes, work gloves for safety, a wire brush or scraper for stuck debris, a garden hose for rinsing, and a cover to protect the pit when not in use.

You may also need cleaning solutions, such as dish soap or degreaser, and scrub brushes.

3. How often should I clean my fire pit?

Cleaning frequency depends on usage, but in general, aim to clear ashes and debris after every use or at least weekly during fire pit season. More frequent light cleanings are better than letting buildup occur.

4. How do I store my fire pit during the off-season?

To store the fire pit in the off-season, allow it to fully dry and apply a protectant. Place a weather-resistant cover over the pit to protect it from moisture, UV rays, dirt, and other damage. Store in a dry, covered area like a shed or garage if possible.

In Lieu of a Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering the art of cleaning your outdoor fire pit is not just about maintenance, it’s about preserving the heart of your outdoor sanctuary.

By following these steps and using the right tools, you can ensure the longevity, safety, and aesthetics of your fire pit. Remember, a clean fire pit doesn’t just prevent potential damage; it ignites memorable moments and creates a warm, inviting atmosphere for friends and family.

So take the time to care for your fire pit – it is the key to keeping the flames of enjoyment alive in your outdoor haven.

Cindy Becker

Leave a Comment