Under 2 hours
When days and nights get chilly, a firepit is a great way to extend the use of your outdoor space. You can gather with friends and family to enjoy good conversation and maybe even a few campfire songs.
But as you use your firepit, over time, debris can build up. To keep it working safely, you should clean it periodically. This guide will show you how to clean a fire pit.
Clean Out Debris
Firepits may be wood-burning or gas-fueled. They may be made from a variety of materials, such as stone, brick or metal. The right method for cleaning your firepit will depend on what kind of fire pit you have. Different styles require different cleaning solutions.
If you have a gas fire pit, put on a pair of work gloves, grab a trash bag and remove any leaves, twigs or large pieces of debris from the stones or glass.
For all other kinds of fire pits, start clearing out the inside and use a shovel or trowel to help clear the bottom of the pit. Keep gathering debris until the inside is clear.
Tip: If you have a shop vac, you can use it after cleaning your fire pit by hand. The shop vac can suck up any remaining ash you weren’t able to get to.
How to Clean a Stone or Brick Fire Pit
Many stationary fire pits are built into outdoor patios. These are usually made of bricks or a type of stone.
A solution made with muriatic acid can help brighten stone and brick. Muriatic acid is a caustic cleaning agent that is sold as concentrate. Make sure to dilute the muriatic acid before using it.
- Wear protective gloves, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and safety goggles when working with muriatic acid. You can get burned badly if you get muriatic acid on your skin. It can also cause blindness.
- Mix a solution of 10 parts water and one part muriatic acid in a glass container or an acid-resistant plastic one.
- Add the water to the container and then pour the muriatic acid in. Be very careful to mix the solution by pouring the water in the container first. Putting the muriatic acid into the container and then adding the water can result in a dangerous chemical reaction.
- Use a durable brush to scrub the inside and outside of the fire pit with the muriatic solution.
- After scrubbing, use a garden hose to spray down the fire pit and let it dry completely. Give the firepit at least two or three days to get totally dry before using it again.
- A few days after cleaning a stone or brick fire pit, consider adding a layer of masonry sealant to help make future maintenance easier.
How to Clean a Steel or Copper Fire Pit
Metal is incredibly durable and holds up to heat, but it requires a different method of cleaning than stone or brick. Metal fire pits may be crafted of steel, copper or cast iron. If you have a steel or copper fire pit, follow these cleaning instructions:
- Use hot, soapy water and a soft cloth to scrub the interior of the fire pit.
- Rinse the soap and water thoroughly.
- Use a dry cloth to wipe the fire pit dry.
- Sitting water can cause a metal fire pit to rust, so make sure not to leave water sitting after cleaning. To prevent rust, you’ll also want to dry off your fire pit after it rains.
How to Clean a Cast Iron Fire Pit
Cast iron is a heavy-duty and durable material, but it requires a little extra effort to clean.
- Take a bucket of hot water and a piece of steel wool to scrub down the surface of the cast iron.
- Cast iron rusts easily, so make sure to dry the surface immediately after cleaning.
- This kind of fire pits shouldn’t be used in a place where it can collect excess rainwater.
How to Clean a Gas Fire Pit
- Gas fire pits are integrated units, so you can’t hose down the interior.
- Use a cloth and a little soapy water to wipe down the interior, making sure not to loosen any gas lines in the process.
- Next, wipe down the exterior of the gas fire pit.
- After wiping down the inside and the outside of the fire pit, go over the whole thing with a dry cloth.
Fire Pit Maintenance Tips
- Once you’ve gone through the work of cleaning out the fire pit, keep it protected from the elements by investing in a fire pit cover. This will help prevent leaves, rainwater and debris from accumulating between uses.
- Use a seasoned wood for wood-burning fire pits, as it provides a much cleaner burn and creates less buildup.
- When it comes to fire pit maintenance, avoid dousing a fire with water to put it out. The water can cause the hot fire pit to drop in temperature too quickly, which results in cracks. Instead, let the fire burn out slowly, so the fire pit can return to a normal temperature naturally.
Depending on how often you use your fire pit and if it’s kept covered between uses, you’ll want to do a deep cleaning every six months or so. The way you clean your fire pit will depend on what it’s made of and whether the fire is fueled with wood or gas. Stone and brick fire pits require different cleaning methods from steel, copper or cast-iron ones.
Ready to get the supplies you need for cleaning a fire pit? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.