The Only Guide You’ll Need To Clean Out Your Fire Pit

photo of dirty firepit

As the weather gets colder, it means it’s peak campfire season, but that doesn’t mean you need to travel far from home with a tent and sleeping bag. It also doesn’t mean you need to build a whole bonfire in your backyard. Owning and maintaining a fire pit is more low maintenance than you think.

To clean out a fire pit, you will need gloves, a poker, a broom, a shovel, a bucket, and a cover. Cleaning out your firepit depends on the type of pit you own. Gas and wood-burning fire pits require a little soap and water, while cast-iron and smokeless require a brillo pad and no soap.

With these tools, a little bit of time, and the guide below you’ll have all the information you could need on how to clean out your fire pit.

Related: Protect Your Patio! What To Put Under A Firepit & Why

I’ve included fire pits of all different materials and a step-by-step guide to ensure you’re protecting both yourself and your pit.

Tools Needed To Clean Out Your Fire Pit

No matter what fire pit you’ve chosen, the following items will help keep it in tip-top shape. Let’s talk about them now.


Whenever you’re working with fire, you need to protect yourself. Getting a good pair of solid fire-resistant gloves will not only protect your hands from any heat but will also keep your hands clean. So you don’t need to deep clean anything OTHER than the fire pit.


A good poker, or set of tongs, will help you pull the large items out when you’re cleaning out your pit. It will also help regulate the fire while it’s burning and keep your flame looking sharp. However, if you let the fire burn completely out, and let everything go to ash, you won’t need a poker. Instead, you’ll need a shovel, which I’ll talk about later.


Fires leave behind a lot of ash and soot. The faster you can clean this away, the easier the job becomes. Using a broom, like the Carlisle Fireplace Brush (on Amazon), will make sweeping out the dust a breeze. 

I love that this brush is heavy-duty and can withstand heat up to 180 °F (82.22 °C).

Smedley & York Black Ash Bucket with Lid, Includes A Firepit Shovel and Broom, 2 Gallon Fireplace Metal Bucket with Lid, Charcoal Bucket and Ash Can, Galvanized Iron Ash Bucket for Fireplace


Before you use the brush to get what remains, you’ll want a shovel to scoop up most of the ash and other fire remnants. You don’t need a huge shovel as you would use for gardening or snow removal. Of course, this depends on the size of the fire pit you have. 

A larger one in the ground calls for a gardening shovel.

You want to make sure you pick a shovel that you can fit comfortably in your fire pit to maneuver around. I recommend Rocky Mountain Goods Fireplace Shovel on Amazon. This shovel is a sturdy choice that can handle hot coals without warping.


You need somewhere to PUT all of this stuff you’re scooping out of your pit. 

You want to make sure you’re putting the potentially still simmering debris into a bucket that can withstand the heat, but not like the bucket you might use to wash your car. Choosing a bucket with a lid can also help keep the area clean.

Again, you’ll want to wait until your fire and coals have cooled enough to handle. Don’t ever pick up hot coals.


One of the most overlooked fire pit supplies is a cover for your fire pit. Keeping your pit in good condition doesn’t just apply when it is in use or immediately afterward. A fire pit spends a lot of time out in the elements. 

Related: 4 Reasons Why You Need A Grill Cover ASAP

Rain, leaves, animals, or other debris from nature can impact the condition of your fire pit. Finding a good cover, or even creating your own with a tarp is essential. 

Cleaning Out Your Fire Pit By Type

photo of firepit types

One of the best parts of having a fire pit of your own is you get to pick details. There are so many different materials you can choose from, as well as heat sources and accessories. I’ll dive into some of the main types to help you keep your fire pit looking brand new.

Gas Fire Pit

Gas fire pits can be some of the most low-maintenance when it comes to actually cleaning the pit. You just need a little soap and water to wipe down any flat surfaces.

Safety Tip: Make sure when cleaning your gas fire pit you check all gas line connections. You’re looking to ensure there are no leaks that could cause a future larger fire than you intended.

Covering the pit between uses is important to make sure all the parts remain in good working condition. Any sort of blockage to the burners can restrict the flow of gas, resulting in problems.

If your pit has fire glass in it, you can clean that too. Just move all the glass to a large bowl or bucket and swirl with some soapy water to remove dirt. Carefully rinse the glass and then make sure it is completely dry before returning it to the pit.

Wood-Burning Fire Pit

A wood-burning fire pit has a lot of benefits. One of the biggest is that it really gives you that campfire feeling in your own home. The smell, the bright flame, the intensity, oh so good. But, they also require diligent maintenance. 

Wood-burning fire pits should be cleaned after every fire. 

The most important part to remember when cleaning your fire pit is that ashes and debris can remain hot for hours after the fire has gone out. Make sure you’re wearing protective gloves and giving the embers enough time to cool before cleaning.

Here are some step-by-step tips to clean a wood-burning fire pit, after you’ve waited for the embers to cool and your gloves are on:

  1. Remove any large pieces of debris and put them into a pile for a future fire.
  2. Sweep the remaining debris and ash into the center of the pit. This makes it easier to scoop with your shovel. 
  3. Spray down the pit with a hose and scrub with soap and water.
  4. Flip the pit upside down to dry.
  5. Once dried, return the large pieces of debris into the pit for your next fire.

Fireplacefact has shared that you can actually take the swept-up ashes and recycle their use. They can be used to de-ice walkways, in potting soil, or to create cleaning solutions. 

If your fire pit has a cooking grate, be sure to remove that and clean it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Allow to fully dry before returning it to the pit. If your grate is rusty, you can try to clean it using a ½ tbsp (7.39 ml) of baking soda with a cup of water. 

But, it may make more sense to just replace it. 

The most important part to remember when cleaning your fire pit is that ashes and debris can remain hot for hours after the fire has gone out.

Cast Iron Fire Pit

Like a cast iron pan, you don’t want to clean this fire pit with soap. But using a whole lot of salt doesn’t exactly make sense either. Cast iron fire pits naturally develop rust, which can be a bit of an eyesore. 

However, they can be cleaned.

In order to clean your cast iron fire pit, first, clear the bowl of all debris and ash. Then, rub the bowl with steel wool to detach the rust and any stuck-on debris. Finally, rinse the pit and let it dry. 

You can speed up the drying process by rubbing the pit with a rag.

Smokeless Fire Pit

Smokeless fire pits are starting to grow in popularity. 

For those of us who feel like the smoke follows us wherever we go, it makes sense to get something with ventilation holes. They also tend to be more portable, so you can take them on excursions as well as enjoy them in your own backyard.

Related: Is A Smokeless Fire Pit Really Smokeless? – How It Works

To clean out your smokeless fire pit, I recommend watching this short video by Breeo. It shows that you just need three items: 

  • Scotch-Brite pad
  • Food-grade stainless polishing aerosol
  • Some paper towels or a cloth  


A firepit is a great addition to your backyard, as they promote entertaining, provides a focal point, and will allow you to spend time in your backyard even when the temperatures drop. 

However, having a fire pit that isn’t maintained isn’t only an eyesore, but it can be a hazard to your yard and your home. Take the tips above to keep your fire pit looking great, whether you’re on your first fire or your hundredth.

Michael Carpenter

Hi, I'm Mike. I grew up in North Carolina having a blast on trampolines, go-karts, and just sitting on the porch with my friends. I have since moved to Las Vegas with my wife, 2 children, and 3 dogs. When I'm not chasing the kids around the house, I am probably chasing them around the backyard!

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