Fire pits are a wonderful addition to a patio. They offer that touch of warmth that’s so welcome on cool evenings, create the perfect gathering place for laughing and sharing memories, and even provide a great place to toast marshmallows for those perennially popular s’mores.
No one notices soot, grime, or rust in the warmth of the evening fire. However, you’ll want to follow these suggestions to keep your fire pit looking presentable in the light of day. Besides keeping your fire pit looking its best, they will also help it last through many pleasant evenings to come.
Check all fasteners and other hardware before using your fire pit each season and at least once a month afterwards; tighten as needed. Also check any propane connections.
For your protection, always wear eye protection, a dust mask, and rubber gloves while cleaning a fire pit!
Use a dry scrub brush to remove any loose debris from both the interior and exterior metal surfaces.
Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub all metal surfaces with a solution of 1/4 cup washing soda dissolved in 1 gallon of hot water. Don’t forget the grates and screens! Then rinse the fire pit thoroughly with fresh water.
Stone and masonry surfaces
Dissolve 1/2 cup of grease-fighting dishwashing liquid in 2 gallons of hot water and use that solution and a scrub brush to clean all of the stone or masonry surfaces. A hose fit with a jet stream nozzle is handy for giving the fire pit a thorough rinse.
If you have a wood-burning fire pit, it requires some extra care:
- Never use accelerants – the extremely hot fire they create can actually damage your fire pit.
- It’s important to regularly remove any build-up of creosote. This is a byproduct of burning wood and is highly flammable. Scrub it off with a stiff-bristled brush dipped in the same washing soda solution used for cleaning metal surfaces. (see above)
- Never use water to extinguish a fire in your fire pit! The drastic change in temperature could crack or warp it.
Ash can continue to smolder for days, or even weeks, after the flames die down. Using leather gloves and a trowel, scoop the ash and cinders into a metal can with a lid as soon as they’ve cooled enough to handle. An added benefit is that your fire pit will be all ready for your next evening of cozy comfort around the fire!
Never throw trash of any kind in the fire pit. Also, keep all plastics well away from the fire and any hot surfaces. Not only does melting plastic produce toxic fumes, but it creates a gooey mess that is extremely hard to remove!
Using a cover not only protects your fire pit from inclement weather and rust, but it also reduces the amount of cleaning necessary.
Storing your fire pit in a dry, sheltered location will protect it from harsh winter conditions.