Ancient people mainly invented fire pits to keep themselves warm, cook food, and roast bushmeat. Since then, the use of fire pits has been adopted globally by different cultures. However, owning a fire pit, no matter what type it is brings in a responsibility to be cleaned consistently and properly to make it last longer and keep it in a good working condition.
So, how to clean a fire pit?
How to Clean a Fire Pit
Fire pits come in various designs like masonry hardscapes, metal pits, propane, or natural gas-fueled units. There are different types of fire pits depending on the materials used to make them and their fuel. Being made from different materials means that even the cleaning process is also different.
Necessary Tools for Fire Pit Cleaning
- Ash Scoop: To aid in the removal of ash from almost every corner of the fire pit.
- Poke Stick: It is used to confirm if the ash still has a fire under it.
- Ash Bucket: Use it for emptying and carrying removed ash for safe disposal.
- Broom: It is needed for sweeping and cleaning easier.
- Protective Gloves: Provides safety measures and helps you protect your hands and nails from detergents, ash, debris, etc.
Examples of fire pits are:
- Stone/brick/masonry fire pit.
- Steel/metal fire pit.
- Gas fire pit.
Basics for Cleaning All Types of Fire Pits
Since we have different types of fire pits, and all are important and need cleaning, we are going to categorize these pits individually and see different methods by which each specific pit is maintained.
But before that, there are a few general rules that apply to all pits cleaning techniques. The steps are as follows:
- Before the process of cleaning a fire pit, one should ensure that all debris and unburnt materials are swept out of the fire pit.
- You must be careful when removing the ash because sometimes ash may be hot inside, even if it looks cold outside. To avoid this, it is always a good idea to give the ash enough time to cool down to prevent burns.
- Ash should be scooped out and placed in an ash bucket. This bucket/holder should be made of metal or material that cannot be easily burned, especially if the ash still has heat.
- All the ash should be disposed of carefully and the ash bucket cleaned.
Now, let’s jump into each specific type of fire pit and its cleaning procedure.
Cleaning a Stone/Brick/ Masonry Fire Pit
Stone or brick fire pits are primarily permanent and can withstand all weather, even rainfall, making them convenient in many homes. In addition, they are simple and require minimal maintenance and cleaning.
The following are steps to clean a stone fire pit.
- Dorn in your protective gloves. Gloves will protect you from touching the ash that can make you touch yourself and tarnish your clothes. For women with long nails, using gloves, it’s a good idea. You can still clean without.
- Take the scooper and scoop all the ash out of the fire pit gently. Put the ash into your ash bowl (mostly metallic material).
- Mix a solution of 1-part muriatic acid with 9-parts of water lather gently.
- Then take the scrubbing brush and scrub gently, especially the pit’s interior, until all parts have been scrubbed well.
- Start pouring clean water slowly on the fire pit surface until all the places have been well rinsed. You can use either hot or cold water, and it doesn’t matter on this type of fire pit.
- Let the fire pit dry by giving it 2-3 days.
- After it is well dried, you can apply stone sealant on the bricks to prevent soot from sticking to the surface when you use it again.
How to Clean a Copper Fire Pit
Copper fire pits will always have a bowl and a stand to ensure effective burning of the wood.
However, copper fire pits tend to accumulate tons of soot quickly and clean such a pit, and the following steps are involved.
- Dorn in your gloves after ensuring that the ash is cold enough.
- Remove the large debris, followed by small debris, and then ash.
- Ensure that all ash is emptied into the ash bowl and adequately disposed of.
- Mix cleaning detergent with water and use a water hose to spray the fire pit starting from the inside part. Traditional cleaning solutions such as a mixture of salt and vinegar can also be used to work effectively. You can also use a mix of lemon, salt, and water to remove the soot.
- Take a piece of clothing or a soft cleaning brush and scrub the surface of the pit. Avoid using hard scrubbing tools such as steel wool, as this will scratch the copper surface.
- Sprinkle clean soap less water into your pit and rinse thoroughly until there is no more soap. Make sure that you have wiped the water well from the surface of the copper pit. Leaving it wet can make a blue coating develop on the surface of copper material.
- Leave the copper fire pit to dry.
How to Clean Steel/Metal Fire Pit
Steel and metal fire pits are the most popular fire pits we have in the world. However, they require a specific procedure of cleaning to maintain the effectiveness and functioning of these pits. The steps used are:
- Dorn in your gloves or just use your hand to ensure that all debris and ash are collected and put in the ash bowl.
- Use a dry stiff brush to remove the debris or ash stuck on the interior and exterior surfaces of the metal pit.
- Mix warm water with soap. Warm water will help you remove stains, soot, and stuck food remnants easily.
- Gently pour water on the pit surface and scrub thoroughly using a stiff brush or a pair of clothing. If you do not have the cleaning detergent, you can mix a spoon of baking soda with one liter of water. Baking soda will dissolve the hard crusty residue and make it easy for you to clean.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water, ensuring that all soap is gone. Then, turn the bowl upside down. Why this? Turning will make the drying process faster, and also, no water will remain at the bottom of the pit, making it last longer. Some metals rust when exposed to water, so you don’t want to do this to your pit.
Cleaning of the Gas Fire Pit
Gas fire pits are more expensive than wood fire pits and are run by using either propane or natural gas. They require a continuous supply of gas to operate and keep the fire burning.
Cleaning is usually aimed at maintaining burners and gas pipes. However, just like any other fire pit, it has several steps of cleaning. Which steps are those?
- Before cleaning, it’s always a precautionary measure to ensure that the gas valve is closed and is not leaking. Severe burns may occur if the gas valve is not well closed, and someone lights up a fire.
- Collect the debris, particles, or any leaves that may be present on the surface of your pit.
- If the pit is dusty because these pits are usually stored outside, take a smooth brush and sweep out the dust.
- Mix warm water with soap and gently clean the surface of the pit using a piece of clothing.
- Do not pour water directly on the gas pit because it can damage the burner, but instead, use a wet piece of clothing to wipe the surface.
- Remove the vent, check for debris, and unclog the pipe to ensure a smooth gas flow.
- Leave it for two hours, and it will be completely dry. It dries fast after cleaning a gas fire pit because cleaning does not involve direct contact with water but rather a damp cloth that leaves almost no wetness on the surface.
Precautionary Measures to Keep a Clean a Fire Pit
These preventative measures will help your fire pit to appear more wonderful and prevent dirt or any loss. These are:
- Avoid throwing any kind of trash in the fire pit.
- It is advisable to keep all kinds of plastic materials away from the fire and its hot exteriors. When burned, plastic produces toxic fumes and creates a sticky mess that proves to be very hard to remove!
- Use a cover on the fire pit. It helps protect the fire pit from extreme weather and corrosion and reduces the amount of cleaning necessary.
- Try to store the fire pit in a dry, shaded location as it will stay protected from harsh winter conditions.
Here is a short video tutorial on maintaining fire pits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Wood Is Best for Use in a Wood-Burning Fire Pit?
It is recommendable to use a well-seasoned wood for a wood-burning fire pit, as it delivers a much lesser cleaner burn and produces less build-up.
Is It Necessary to Use Pit Covers?
It’s necessary to use pit covers as it will help avoid leaves, rainwater, and debris from getting accumulated between uses.
It doesn’t matter the type of fire pit you’re using; the most important point is knowing how to clean these fire pits. Knowing what necessities are used to clean and learning about cleaning will help your fire pit last longer and still serve its function to the fullest.
In addition, you will enjoy using a pit that is clean and well maintained to cook, grill, or even sometimes use it to generate warmth for you and your family.