There’s nothing better than enjoying an evening outside with friends and family while gathered around your fire pit, watching the flames dance as you take in the warmth of fire and the conversation. It’s pure magic. That is, until you notice your unit is more rust than romance and you’re actually staring at swirling ash, thanks to a debris buildup, and without proper ventilation smoke is starting to make you and your guests tear up. In that case, there’s nothing worse.
This is why fire pit maintenance is so essential, both for your outdoor experience but also as a means of protecting your precious patio investment. Our outdoor living experts are here to help with a guide on proper care and cleaning, so let your fire pit cool off for a few hours, grab your owner’s manual, and let’s get started.
Cleaning Your Natural Gas or Propane Fire Pit
While mostly mess-free, gas fire pits do still require regular care and cleaning to ensure units remain in good condition. It’s worth mentioning again, before you begin any fire pit maintenance make sure it has completely cooled off and then follow these steps.
- Ensure gas supply is off, the fire pit is cool, and then disconnect the gas line by following the manufacturer’s instruction.
- Remove any debris that has collected around the burner such as leaves or other flammable materials.
- Inspect and clean burner air intake holes. Remove lint or particles with vacuum or brush to prevent soot and poor combustion.
- Examine and clean all burner ports by brushing crushed glass away from burner and spraying air from a can down the ports.
- Check the burner at least twice monthly when spiders are active and remove any nests or webs.
- Avoid using any harsh chemicals that could damage the finish.
- Use a solution of mild soap and water to scrub the interior and exterior surfaces of the fire pit with a soft brush or sponge.
- Check all pipes and hoses for any leaks or damage. If any are found, contact the manufacturer or a licensed professional.
- Allow it to dry fully before operating.
As a best practice, perform inspections of your gas fire pit regularly, noting any signs of wear, rust, or corrosion, and addressing promptly. If the firepit has been unused for an extended period of time, be sure to inspect the burner and firepit before lighting. Also be sure to use an appropriate fitting fire pit cover when not in use to provide extra protection.
Cleaning Your Wood Burning Fire Pit
The added charm of a roaring wood burning fire pit means a slightly more intensive care and cleaning process, but it may be worth it if you’re looking for the real thing in your backyard. Our experts recommend following the cleaning process below about once a month for a unit that is used regularly.
- Allow the fire pit to cool completely and remove ash with a tool (like a scoop or shovel) and then dispose.
- For units with copper or stainless steel components, mix a solution of mild dish soap and warm water and use a soft cloth or sponge to clean. Then rinse thoroughly and dry.
- To remove any rust or spots on iron use steel wool or a stiff brush to gently scrub away the impacted areas. After removing rust, wipe the surface with a damp cloth.
- If necessary, touch up the fire pit’s surface with a high-temperature paint or sealant designed for outdoor use. Follow the paint manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.
As wood burning fire pits require you to tend to the fire, we recommend using the proper fire pit tools such as pokers and grabbers, in addition to any tools required to remove ash. Similar to the gas fire pits, when you’re not using your wood burning unit, it is best to use an appropriately sized fire pit cover and store it in a cool, dry place.
Cleaning Your Fire Pit Enclosure
For those of you that decided to skip the conventional fire pits and, instead, opted for a DIY fire pit, the cleaning process for your pit’s enclosure will be a little different but very straightforward.
- Use a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water with a stiff brush to remove any buildup on masonry.
- Ensure the stone of your fire pit enclosure is fully dried out before igniting the fire pit.
- If your DIY fire pit was purchased as a kit, be sure to reference the manufacturer’s instructions in regard to cleaning the burner and fire pit enclosure. Our outdoor experts recommend cleaning your enclosure every 2-3 months depending on frequency of use.
There you have it—how to expertly clean and care for your outdoor fire pit. If you’re in the market for a replacement fire pit or maybe just looking to upgrade, we invite you to check out our comprehensive Fire Pit Buying Guide, which outlines a variety of styles and materials. Plus, our Fire Pit Safety article will give you all the tips you need to operate your unit safely and with peace of mind. If you have any questions about fire pits, you can call our outdoor living experts at 1-877-743-2269.
View on BBQGuys.com