How to Keep Your Fire Pit in Top Shape: Cleaning and Maintenance Tips (2023)

Fire pits are an increasingly popular feature for patios and outdoor spaces, providing a cozy and inviting atmosphere for socializing and entertaining. Despite their popularity, fire pits are often neglected when it comes to maintenance and care. Proper care is essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of fire pits, as neglect can significantly reduce their lifespan. With the right attention, however, fire pits can last twice as long and continue to provide warmth and ambiance for years to come.

How to Clean and Maintain a Gas Fire Pit

Caring for your gas fire pit is not only effortless but also saves you time compared to a traditional fire pit. Unlike the latter, you don't have to spend hours cleaning the ashes and dust. However, it is important to note that you cannot neglect it completely, as the changing weather and accumulation of dirt can cause rust and affect its longevity. Although it may seem like an inconvenience, taking the time to maintain your fire pit will ensure that it remains in good condition and serves you for years to come.

To ensure that your fire pit remains in pristine condition for as long as possible, we have compiled a list of helpful tips for proper maintenance. It is crucial to first allow the fire pit to completely cool before beginning any maintenance tasks.

1. Do Not Pour Hot Water Into the Fire

It is not advisable to use water to extinguish a fire, as the sudden temperature change can lead to damage and corrosion of the metal. The sudden introduction of water to a hot fire pit can cause the metal to crack or break, resulting in a weakened structure. Additionally, the sudden cooling of the metal can cause it to deteriorate over time, potentially leading to further problems in the future.

2. Shut Off Your Gas Outlet

To safely turn off your fire pit, close the gas valve or shut off the gas line. If you are using a propane tank, be sure to remove it from the fire pit and store it in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. However, before doing so, it is important to check with your city hall to ensure that it is permitted to store the propane tank inside or outside of your home. This is crucial for safety reasons, as you want to ensure that the propane tank is stored in a place where oxygen won't be displaced in confined areas.

(Video) Fire Pit Maintenance Tips

3. Use Soap and Water

To ensure the proper maintenance of your fire pit table, it is important to wipe down the top and burner using a damp cloth with soap. This will help remove any dirt or grime that has accumulated over time. Additionally, it is recommended to cover the table with a vinyl or canvas cover to protect it from the elements when not in use. Before lighting the fire, it is crucial to check all the gas connections for any signs of leakage, as this could pose a serious safety hazard.

4. Remove Rocks, Leaves, Etc.

To properly maintain your fire pit, it is important to clean the burner pan and media of any debris, rocks, or leaves. Ensure that the drains and vents are not blocked by clogged material and that there are no insects present. For thorough cleaning, you can remove the fire glass to inspect for any other dirt or residue that may have accumulated. Note that the fire glass does not require cleaning.

5. Get a Cover for Your Fire Pit

Having a cover for your fire pit is an excellent idea to ensure its protection against various weather conditions such as rain, snow, and wind. While the use of a cover is optional, it is a great way to keep your fire pit in top condition. There are various options available, including weather-resistant covers made of vinyl, canvas, and stainless steel. It is recommended to cover your fire pit when it is not in use. However, it is important to ensure that the fire pit has cooled completely before placing the cover over it. This will prevent any potential accidents or damages.

6. Store Your Accessories

Before you pack up your gear for the night, it is important to take a moment to remove and properly store any accessories that you do not want to leave outside. This may include items such as wind guards, valve keys, or any other accessories that are important to your setup. Proper storage will ensure that your accessories are protected from the elements and ready for use the next time you need them. By taking this simple step, you can save yourself time and hassle in the future and maintain the longevity of your gear.

How to Clean and Maintain a Steel Fire Pit?

Steel fire pits are a popular addition to many outdoor living spaces. Not only do they provide warmth and light during cool evenings, but they also offer a great way to gather with friends and family. However, over time, the buildup of soot, ash, and debris can detract from the appearance and functionality of your fire pit. So, it's essential to keep your steel fire pit clean and well-maintained. Here are the steps you need to follow to ensure your fire pit stays in top condition.

(Video) How to stop a fire pit from rusting

1. Allow the Fire Pit to Cool

Before starting the cleaning process, it's crucial to allow the fire pit to cool completely. This process could take several hours, but it's crucial for your safety as well as the longevity of your fire pit. The steel will be hot to the touch and could cause serious burns, so it's essential to be patient and wait for it to cool.

2. Empty the Fire Pit

Once your fire pit has cooled, the next step is to empty it of any remaining ash, soot, or debris. You can use a shovel or scoop to remove the ashes, and place them in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure you store the ash in a safe place, away from any flammable materials.

3. Clean the Interior of the Fire Pit

The interior of your fire pit should be cleaned regularly to remove soot buildup, which can clog the air vents and make it difficult to start a fire. To clean the interior, use a steel brush to scrub away any loose soot or ash. You can also use a soft cloth or brush to remove any remaining debris.

4. Clean the Exterior of the Fire Pit

The exterior of your fire pit can also become dirty over time due to exposure to the elements. To clean it, use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild detergent or soap to wipe away any dirt or grime. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the surface of your fire pit. Once you've finished cleaning the exterior, rinse it with clean water and dry it thoroughly to prevent rust and other types of corrosion.

5. Apply a Protective Coating

Finally, to protect your fire pit and keep it looking its best, apply a protective coating. You can use a high-heat resistant spray, such as a heat-resistant paint or a rust inhibitor. These products will help protect your fire pit from the elements and prevent rust and corrosion.

How to Keep Your Fire Pit in Top Shape: Cleaning and Maintenance Tips (3)

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How to Clean and Maintain a Natural Stone Fire Pit?

Natural stone fire pits can bring a touch of elegance to any outdoor living space, but they also require proper maintenance to keep them looking their best. Over time, soot, ash, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of the stone, leaving it looking dingy and discolored. Fortunately, with a little elbow grease and the right tools, you can restore your natural stone fire pit to its former glory. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a natural stone fire pit.

1. Clean Ash and Soot

The first step in cleaning your natural stone fire pit is to remove as much ash and soot as possible. This can be done with a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the ash and soot.

2. Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Next, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing water and a small amount of dish soap in a bucket. Or mix 1 part muriatic acid with 9 parts water. Be reminded that it is imperative to take necessary safety measures, such as wearing protective gloves, safety goggles, and long sleeves and pants, when using muriatic acid. Additionally, ensure that the cleaning is carried out in a well-ventilated area to avoid any health hazards. If you prefer not to use muriatic acid, you can also mix one-part grease-fighting dishwashing liquid with three parts warm or hot water and use it to scrub the fire pit. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the surface of the stone.

3. Scrub the Stone

Using a non-abrasive sponge, scrub the stone with the cleaning solution, paying extra attention to areas with built-up grime. Be sure to rinse the sponge frequently to avoid spreading dirt around the surface.

4. Tackle Stains

If there are still stubborn stains on your natural stone fire pit, you may opt to mix white vinegar and baking soda. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda into a paste and apply it to the stained area. Let the paste sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it with a non-abrasive sponge. Repeat the process as needed until the stain is removed.

5. Rinse the Stone

Once you’ve finished scrubbing the stone, rinse it thoroughly with water to remove any remaining soap and cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse the stone thoroughly to avoid leaving any residue that could cause future stains.

(Video) Will a fire pit damage concrete?

6. Dry the Stone

Finally, allow the stone to air dry completely. If there is any standing water, use a clean, soft cloth to blot it away. Avoid using a towel, as it may leave lint behind.

How to Keep Your Fire Pit in Top Shape: Cleaning and Maintenance Tips (4)

How to Clean and Maintain a Cast Iron Fire Pit

Cast-iron fire pits can become dirty and rusted over time, especially if not properly maintained. To keep your fire pit looking new and functioning properly, it is important to clean it regularly.

1. Empty the Fire Pit

Before cleaning your cast iron fire pit, it is important to make sure that it is completely emptied of any ashes or debris. Use a shovel or a broom to scoop out the ashes and any other debris that may be inside the fire pit. If there are any leftover embers, use water to put them out completely.

2. Cleaning the Exterior

The exterior of the fire pit can be cleaned using a damp cloth or a mild soap solution. Make sure to wipe down the entire exterior, including the legs and any other visible parts. Be gentle and avoid using any harsh chemicals, as these can cause damage to the cast iron. If there are any rust spots on the exterior, use a wire brush to gently scrub them off.

3. Cleaning the Interior

The interior of the fire pit can be cleaned by pouring a small amount of cooking oil into it and wiping it down with a cloth. This will help to remove any soot or residue that may have accumulated on the interior surface. If the interior of your fire pit is heavily soiled, you may need to use a mild soap solution and a brush to scrub it clean.

(Video) The Best Way To Clean and Season a Cast Iron Skillet | Epicurious

4. Seasoning the Cast Iron

After cleaning the cast iron fire pit, it is important to season it to prevent rusting. To season the cast iron, heat the fire pit until it is hot to the touch. Then, use a cloth to apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the interior of the fire pit. Allow the fire pit to cool completely, then repeat the process two or three times. This will help to create a protective layer that will keep your cast iron fire pit from rusting.

5. Storing the Fire Pit

When not in use, it is important to store your cast iron fire pit properly to prevent rusting. If possible, store it in a dry, covered area. If that is not possible, cover the fire pit with a waterproof cover to keep it dry.

Patio Pelican’s Takeaways

Keeping your fire pit in top shape is a crucial task to ensure it lasts for years to come. Regular cleaning and maintenance will not only enhance its performance but also guarantee safety and longevity. Whether you're using it for cooking, heating, or simply to enjoy a night by the fire, the tips shared in this blog will help you keep your fire pit in the best condition. Remember, it's better to take the necessary steps to prevent rust, corrosion, and other damage, rather than wait until it's too late. So, don't wait, put these tips into practice, and enjoy a warm, cozy, and safe fire pit experience for years to come.


How do I clean the top of my fire pit? ›

Remove any ash or debris. Use steel wool to scrub clean. Use distilled white vinegar and a soft cloth to remove a build up of dirt or rust. Dry thoroughly.

How do you maintain a fire pit? ›

We suggest cleaning a metal firepit with soap or washing soda (1/4 cup) and hot water. Use a dry scrub to remove dust and debris from Inside and around the firepit. Cleaning around the firepit is just as important as any loose twigs or leaves could catch fire under the heat.

What do you put on top of a fire pit? ›

You'll want to start with a layer of sand at the bottom of the pit, and then top the sand with gravel, lava rocks, fire pit glass, paving stones or even bricks for your fire pit. Alternatively, you can simply use dirt.

Are you supposed to keep the top on a fire pit? ›

Although rekindling flames and stray embers are unlikely with gas firepits, a protective cover is still ideal to protect it from rain and other outdoor elements.

Should you clean fire pit after each use? ›

Part of your fire pit maintenance should include regular cleaning after each fire. Wait until the ashes in the pit are completely cool — and be extra careful, because they can stay hot for hours. Wait at least overnight — or a couple days if possible — to remove the ashes from the pit.

Can you stop a fire pit from rusting? ›

Coat your fire pit after use

The most common coating is regular kitchen spray oil, the type used in cooking. It's quick, and cheap to buy too! A quick spray onto all of the surfaces and a rub with an old rag will thoroughly coat each part and form a barrier that prevents rust forming.

What should you not put in a fire pit? ›

Fire Pit: 10 Materials to Avoid Burning
  • Plastic. ...
  • Magazines and Newspapers. ...
  • Wooden Pallets. ...
  • Cheap Furniture Made From MDF or Particleboard. ...
  • Painted or Treated Wood. ...
  • Cardboard Boxes. ...
  • Garden Weeds like Ivy, or Sumac. ...
  • Softwood.
Nov 5, 2021

How do you stop a fire pit from smoldering? ›

Cover with sand or dirt

With a shovel, scoop dry sand or dirt into your pit to extinguish the fire. Next, you'll want to stir it into the ash to make sure any embers are completely gone. Remember to check the fire and your surroundings before you leave the pit.

Why do you put sand in the bottom of a fire pit? ›

Placing an even amount of sand towards the bottom of your fire pit will create an entire layer of additional heat protection. Sand can act as a buffer between the wood or fuel you use in your fire and the bottom of your firepit, preventing it from burning or charring over time.

Should I put lava rocks in my fire pit? ›

Never burn anything without a protective layer of lava rock on the fire pit bottom. If burning wood, place a layer of lava rock at least 4-5 inches deep. Then place your firewood on the lava rock. For gas fires, fill the fire pit with enough lava rock to at least cover the fire ring.

Is it OK to put fire pit on grass? ›

If you want to use portable fire pits on grass, you can. You must follow some easy workarounds to protect your grass and to keep it healthy.. A big concern when using your backyard fire pit is heat stress.

Do you burn a firepit with the lid on? ›

A snuffer is a fast, reliable, and safe way to extinguish a flame. It is vital to be aware of fire hazards and take the proper safety precautions to avoid unintentional burns and accidental fires by snuffing out the flame quickly and keep the fire pit covered until it cools down.

Is it OK to pour water on a fire pit? ›

Water is a quick and easy way to put out a fire in your fire pit, but having a bucket of water on stand-by isn't quite the best option for this. A garden hose with a multi-pattern nozzle will be needed if you want to use water to douse out the flames.

How often should I clean my fire pit? ›

How to Clean a Gas Fire Pit
  1. Remove Debris. Before and after each use, carefully remove any debris like twigs and dead leaves.
  2. Remove Exterior Dirt. A solution of warm soapy water and a sponge can be used to wipe down the exterior of the fire pit if it becomes discolored from soot or is dusty. ...
  3. Yearly Maintenance.
Jul 8, 2021

What is better for a fire pit cast iron or steel? ›

Cast iron is sometimes seen as the superior choice for fire pits due to its heat retaining properties and durability, allowing you to create a lot more heat by burning either wood or coal. As cast iron is a thicker and denser metal, it takes longer to heat up than steel but holds the heat for longer.

How do you winterize a fire pit? ›

How to winterize outdoor fire pits
  1. Remove debris from your fire pit so it doesn't rust or clog up over winter.
  2. Cover your fire pit with a fitted weather-resistant cover. This keeps moisture and leaves out of your fire pit during winter. ...
  3. Turn off gas to the feature and the power.

How much value does a fire pit add? ›

Fire Pit. An easy win in terms of home resale value is adding a fire pit. Most estimates see homeowners recouping 78% of the costs associated with building a fire pit, especially one with natural gas running to it.

Do fire pits attract mosquitoes? ›

Fire pits. Like most insects, mosquitoes don't care much for smoke. Having a fire pit burning in your backyard will discourage mosquitoes from hanging around.

What temp is best for fire pit? ›

“When you have a little heat, you can stay outside longer and enjoy the weather,” he says. Haughenberry says the ideal temperatures for a fire pit range from 45 to 50 degrees.

Do fire pits attract bugs? ›

Unfortunately, there is a downside to having a fire pit on your property. You may be attracting unwanted pest problems. That's right, fire pits (and the wood that fuels them) could be why pests such as ants, mosquitoes, rodents and wood-destroying insects are showing up both indoors and out.

What do you line the inside of a fire pit with? ›

Line the inside of the fire pit walls with clay fire bricks. To align the bricks with the top of the fire pit, add more paver base, gravel or more fire bricks to the bottom of the pit.

Why do people put rocks in fire pits? ›

Functionally, fire pit lava rock provides a semipermeable barrier that protects fire pit burner components from the elements, facilitates the even distribution of flame and the resulting heat, and shields the gas burner from direct exposure to the surface flame.

Is gravel or sand better for a fire pit? ›

Gravel provides drainage, particularly for permanent fire pits dug into the ground. It tends to compact better than sand, allowing for stability over time.

What stone is best for a fire pit? ›

Granite, marble, and slate are good stones for building your firepit since they are dense and least likely to absorb water. Consult a professional if you plan to install a fire pit on an existing patio or deck.

Is glass or rock better for fire pit? ›

The glass pieces are non-toxic and will not leave behind any ash or soot, which is great for keeping the outdoor area clean. Lava rocks, on the other hand, are known for being very porous and light. Due to the porous texture, they contain no moisture – and do not hold any heat in.

Where should you not put a fire pit? ›

Before striking the match, never place a pit closer than 10 feet from anything flammable, including your house and overhead tree branches. Unless the owner's manual says it's okay, don't put the pit on a grassy surface, wood deck, or enclosed porch.

Are fire pit rocks supposed to turn black? ›

As per the fire pit's CSA requirements, we must recommend the appliance be used on a non-combustible surface as a safety precaution. Is it normal for some of the rocks to turn black? A little bit of soot production is normal and may become visible on the rocks right after operation.

Should I put pea gravel in my fire pit? ›

Yes, you can use pea gravel for a fire pit area.

One option is to build a gravel patio fire pit with a crushed limestone base, then add a layer of pea gravel over the top for aesthetics.

How often should you replace lava rocks? ›

With traditional use, lava rocks should last for about two years before replacements are required because of the build-up of grease, which can affect flavor, as well as the natural deterioration of the lava rocks from frequent heating and cooling after use.

What do you put in the bottom of a fire pit on grass? ›

Place some sand in the bottom of the fire pit. Sand will act as an insulator and help to disperse the heat more evenly. The grass underneath and surrounding your fire pit can still get quite warm from the heat of the fire, so giving it a water a few times throughout the night or in advance will help to cool it down.

Can you burn weeds in a fire pit? ›

You might be tempted to dispose of yard weeds in your backyard fire pit. Don't! Burning the irritant oil in the plants, called urushiol, releases fumes into the air. This can cause lung irritation and severe allergic respiratory problems.

Will fire pit damage concrete? ›

—the air breaks through the concrete to escape. This can cause surface damage leading to pitting and spalling, as well as deep structural damage causing cracks.

How far does a fire pit need to be from a house? ›

Place your fire pit at a safe distance (10-25 feet) from any flammable structures or surfaces. This includes your house, trees, shed, vehicle, neighbors' property, and wood deck, among other things. Keep your fire pit away from overhanging branches. A 21-foot clearance is standard for most municipalities.

Can I pour water on my fire pit? ›

Douse the remaining fire with water

Heat from the fire will turn the water to scalding hot steam that can burn you or anyone else nearby. As you pour water on the flames, you may hear sputtering or sizzling sounds. You'll want to keep adding water until these sounds have stopped entirely.

How do you remove black marks from a fire? ›

Steam cleaning may be one of the most effective means of removing even the oiliest soot left behind by a fire. If you can get the job done without excess shampoo, you'll enjoy better results. The best way to remove soot from any surface is with a strong vacuum and HEPA filter.

How do you dry a fire pit fast? ›

Seasoned Damp to Quick Dry

Dehumidifier - Bring a small stack of seasoned, damp wood into a room with a dehumidifier. Stack them loosely with plenty of airflow around. Low Oven (no flame)- Set the temperature as low as possible and turn the fan on for best results.

Why put sand in fire pit? ›

What Does Sand Do For a Firepit? Placing an even amount of sand towards the bottom of your fire pit will create an entire layer of additional heat protection. Sand can act as a buffer between the wood or fuel you use in your fire and the bottom of your firepit, preventing it from burning or charring over time.

When should you not use a fire pit? ›

Never use your firepit near trees with overhanging branches, long grass and shrubs. In dry weather trees, shrubs and grasses can easily catch fire. Never use your firepit near wooden sheds and other structures that may be set alight by fire embers.

Can you leave a campfire overnight? ›

Never leave a campfire unattended. Always keep water nearby when you have a campfire. You might have a sudden need to put it out or the weather might change dramatically (such as the wind might grow really breezy and threaten to push your fire out of your fire ring).

Can you leave a fire pit outside in winter? ›

It's okay to leave your fire pit out on the patio during winter, especially if you plan on using your outdoor living space.

How do I keep my ground fire pit dry? ›

Cover it with a Tarp

You can protect your fire pit from rain by covering it with a tarp. You can use a special tarp designed for fire pits, or you can use one designed for grills. Either way, a heavy-duty tarp made of a strong synthetic material should protect your fire pit from the elements.

Can you leave a fire pit in the rain? ›

If you're not using your fire pit, be sure to cover it with a protective cover. This will help keep rain and snow out of the pit and protect the surface from damage. There are a variety of covers available on the market, so be sure to choose one that fits your pit size and style.

Does Magic eraser work on soot? ›

If you want to clean the soot off the walls without repainting, the magic eraser works very well. Make sure that you have a dry towel to wipe the run downs with because it cleans extremely well.

Can you use magic eraser on soot? ›

🤩A Magic Eraser (or its generic equivalent) is a. great way to remove soot stains from hard surfaces. like cabinets, ceilings, and walls.

Does vinegar remove burn marks? ›

Easiest Option: Baking Soda & vinegar

Simply rub baking soda into the burnt parts of the pan and then add a mixture of 1 cup water and . 5 cups vinegar (go for white vinegar or apple cider vinegar). Boil the solution in the pan for 10 minutes and the burn marks will usually come right off.


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