How To Clean Your Fireplace And Fire Pit

  • 7 min read

Cleaning your fireplace & fire pit doesn't need to be a dirty job!  

Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are a quintessential part of any backyard. They invite friends and family to spend time together, making memories and relaxing.  But these backyard fire features are investments to cherish and keep in the best condition possible for a lifetime of enjoyment.

In the article below, we'll discuss several types of fireplaces and fire pits along with the best method for maintaining them.

Copper Fire Pits

Nothing is worse than buying a gorgeous copper fire pit only to have it start to rust.  This guide has been created to provide you with some useful tips to help you get the most out of your investment. 

The first thing to note: every outdoor fire pit material rusts differently and some are more fragile than others.

Let’s go over some basic care strategies before delving deeper into specific brands.

  1. Protect your fire pit from rain, especially if they are clay or cast iron. Cast Iron fire pits rust very easily and quickly if not kept dry. Do this by using a fire pit cover.
  2. Clean your fire pit regularly. The most important things to clean regularly include:
    1. Removing the ashes from the fire pit. Ashes are very acidic and destructive to both metal and masonry. This can be done easily by first sweeping them into a pile in the center of the fire pit; this makes it easier to scoop out. Place coals in a non-flammable container.  Note:  Coals from a fire can remain warm for days depending on how hot your fire was.
    2. Inspect your fire pits drain or ventilation openings to be sure that they have not clogged with anything.
    3. Clean the grill/grate after use to remove any grease and charred meat. Use warm soapy water and a wire brush for best results.
    4. Clean Burners regularly, especially on gas fireplaces. A toothbrush and any household detergent can be used to easily clean burners and valves.
    5. If you have a cast-iron grill dry it thoroughly after cleaning and lightly coat with cooking oil. This is to prevent unwanted rust.
    6. Remove the spark screen and clean it with a stiff whisk brush and warm, soapy water. If there is extreme build-up a wire brush may be required instead.
    7. If warm soapy water is not getting the debris off you might want to try hardwood ash combined with enough water to form a paste. This also makes an effective cleaner. 
  3. Always place fire pits on an open, safe and sturdy surface. Keeping your fire pit secure will prevent any unwanted wobbling which could lead to cracks and uneven aging of the product.
  4. Keep undergrowth around the fire pit short and moist. This will keep the fire in the fire pit where it belongs. Tall undergrowth is not only a hazard, but it can also deteriorate the outdoor fire pit itself.
  5. Deal with rust EARLY
    1. All fire pits will rust over time, it is unavoidable. But by dealing with it early on and continuously throughout its lifetime you will prolong the life of your fire pit substantially and will avoid any major problems that could happen later.
  6. Ways to deal with rust:
    1. Remove it with a stiff wire brush, wire wool or sandpaper.
    2. After cleaning off any dust reapply the protective coating. But read carefully before purchasing a primer and paint and ensure that both are specific for high temperatures and metal.
  7. A really important note if you want to ensure your fire pit lasts as long as possible; NEVER use water to put out a fire. The sudden drop in temperature can cause the metal or masonry to crack.
  8. If you’re not going to be using your fire pit for a while and at the end of the summer season store your fire pit inside if possible. This will protect it from the temperature changes and moisture of the winter months.
  9. Make sure you handle your fire pit with care. Never drop it.
  10. Make sure and check your city fire regulations to ensure you are following your city bylaws when it comes to fire pits.

In the Spring there are a few things that need to be done before using your fire pit that will help it be ready for the year ahead.

  1. Do a thorough cleaning before using it again.
  2. Check all parts for cracks, rust, or any loose parts.
  3. Depending on your fire pit, make sure all valves work freely and are not stiff from sitting.
  4. Remove all leftover debris that was missed in the fall cleaning.

Your fire pit can be one of the best places to make lifelong memories. Make sure to follow these tips so you can preserve the life of your fire pit.

 Propane Fireplaces & Fire Pits

  1. As with any indoor gas appliance, make sure the gas valve to the unit is turned off before performing any maintenance on the unit.
  2. Some things to check when bringing your natural gas or propane fire pit out at the start of the season are:
    1. The fan. Make sure that the fan is running properly so as to avoid any unwanted damage or fires.
    2. Inspect that the ventilation system is working properly.
  3. Clean the glass doors or glass surround on your unit.
    1. This should be done every 1-2 months to avoid any soot build-up.
    2. Special glass cleaners for gas fireplaces are available so look for those.
  4. Clean fake logs.
    1. To do this use a soft-bristled brush at least once a month.
    2. These brushes can be found at most hardware stores.
  5. Have gas fire pits and fireplaces inspected once a year by a professional. Doing this will ensure that everyone stays safe as professionals are trained to look for things that most people wouldn’t notice.
  6. Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of cleaning and which solutions to use for the individual components of a gas fireplace or fire pit. Failure to do so may risk voiding your warranty.

The pilot light can be turned off during the months when the fireplace or fire pit is not in use. This will save you money on your gas bill every year.

Sitting in front of a crackling fire can be one of the best places to make lifelong memories. Make sure to follow these tips so you can preserve these memories for a lifetime.

 Stone & Dirt Fire Pits

It doesn’t matter what type of fire pit you own or have built yourself it is extremely important to keep your fire pit clean both to maintain its appearance and to prevent potential fires from forming outside the fire pit.

The most effective way to clean your fire pit is to use a broom to sweep the inside of the fire pit area. The goal here is to remove the ash so that it doesn’t get built up. If you have one an angled broom would be ideal but a standard broom can be used as well.

Always remember to sweep in one direction to prevent the ash from being moved around without getting picked up. Removing the ash allow your fire pit to the chance to breath, prevents rusting and aging of metal fire pits and allows room for the next fire.

What to do with fire pit ashes?

The removed ashes you can dispose of in the garbage or be placed in grassy areas that do not seem to be growing. Ashes work as an extremely effective fertilizer.

This process is also important for a stone and dirt fire pit as the benefits will be the same, although sweeping may be more challenging.

Clear the area around the fire pit. Remove debris such as leaves, sticks, grass and any other potentially flammable items for a perimeter of at least 10 feet. This is important so as to avoid any floating embers that have the potential to start a fire outside of your fire pit.

Seal the Fire Pit Stones

Fire pits that are made out of stone, whether they are decorative concrete paver stones or regular stones, are relatively durable but they can begin to show signs of wear and eventually erode as a result of constant exposure to the elements.

To protect your stone fire pit try applying a thin coat of concrete or stone sealant to the stones. Make sure the sealant is capable of handling high temperatures and that it is designed specifically for outdoor use. When applying the sealant, do not put a thick layer on because this can lead to bubbling, which reduces the effectiveness of the sealant. Consult your local hardware store for further information.

Put Out the Fire

After enjoying your fire pit make sure and extinguish the fire completely. NEVER leave a fire unattended. Even if the fire remains safely within the pit and is surrounded by nothing but dirt, the heat from the fire causes wear on the surrounding stones, which may eventually need to be replaced.

By putting out the fire immediately after using it, you can increase the life span of these stones by a considerable margin.

Independent of which type of fire pit you have, taking care of it will result in many more years of memories.

Bio-Ethanol Fireplaces

Bio-Ethanol fireplaces are quite similar to gas fireplaces in their maintenance, but there are a few differences.

  1. You can use a wet cloth to clean the surface of a Bio Fireplace.
  2. The burner can change color because of the heat. The stainless steel will have another appearance after a while. This is normal. Regular maintenance will help it keep its color.
  3. Do not clean with water or put in a dishwasher.
  4. Take a little bit of bioethanol on a paper towel and go across the slot and the surface of the fireplace.
  5. The stones can be cleaned if you wish with a brush and water.
  6. Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of cleaning and which solutions to use for the individual components of a bio-ethanol fireplace or fire pit. Failure to do so may risk voiding your warranty.

Your fireplace and fire pit can be one of the best places to make memories that last a lifetime. Make sure to follow these tips so that you can preserve the life of your favorite memory-making feature.


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