How To Clean an Outdoor Fire Pit

Clean your fire pit? It's a good idea, and you probably have most of the needed items on hand. Here's how to get yours shining in an hour or less.

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Next Project
Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$20

Introduction

When was the last time you cleaned your fire pit? For most people, that answer is probably never.

"Everyone should clean outdoor fire pits," says Tim Jankowski, president of Aladdin's Cleaning and Restoration and an expert in fire prevention. That's because dirty fire pits harbor flammable debris that can build up over time.

Fire pit manufacturers like Uniflame and Tiki Brand agree, and recommend cleaning fire pits regularly. Jankowski suggests cleaning yours in the spring and again in the fall before closing it up, or storing it if it's a portable model. Clean it out once during the summer, too, as debris and soot build up, says Jankowski.

Before you start, make sure the fire has been out for at least a day. I have a permanently-installed cast iron fire pit, but this soap-and-water technique will work for any metal fire pit, in-ground or portable. "The biggest hazard with these types of fire pits is ensuring they don't rust," says Jankowski.

What if you have a brick or stone fire pit? "Dishwashing liquid is actually one of the best solvents to clean a brick or stone pit or fireplace," Jankowski says. Use a good strong bristle brush, and follow up with a wet-dry vacuum to remove the debris and soapy water.

Tools Required

  • broom
  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • Steel wool
  • Stiff brush
  • Towels

Materials Required

  • Dish soap
  • Scouring cleanser (optional)

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Remove leaves and ashes

Remove Leaves Firepit 3 Ally Childress For Fhm JveditAlly Childress for Family Handyman

  • Use a shovel to scoop out ashes.
  • Compost or otherwise discard leaves and ashes.

Clean Out Firepit Ally Childress For Fhm JveditAlly Childress for Family Handyman

Step 2

Fill a bucket

  • Squirt some dish soap in your bucket.
  • Fill bucket with hot water.

Step 3

Scrub

  • Dunk your steel wool or stiff brush in soapy water.
  • Scrub the inside of the fire pit to remove rust, dirt and soot.

Scrub Firepit Ally Childress For Fhm JveditAlly Childress for Family Handyman

Scrub Grate Ally Childress For Fhm JveditAlly Childress for Family Handyman

Step 4

Rinse and dry

Rinse Fire Pit Ally Childress For Fhm JveditAlly Childress for Family Handyman

  • Wipe down fire pit thoroughly to prevent rust.

Fire Pit Ally Childress For Fhm JveditAlly Childress for Family Handyman