How to Clean Out a Fire Pit With Lava Rocks (5 Easy Steps)


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Regularly cleaning out your fire pit is a necessity for safety, and it also makes your outdoor living space look amazing. All types of fire pit accumulate debris each time they burn, and sooner or later, this will build up. To create room for fresh fuel, you’ll need to shovel it out. 

To clean out a fire pit with lava rocks, first, remove the rocks to wash separately, and then clear out the fire pit with a shovel. Brush the cavity to get rid of ash, and then rinse it with the hose. Make sure both the lava rocks and the fire pit are completely dry before reusing the pit. 

The following article will outline nine easy steps to clean out a fire pit with lava rocks. I will detail each of the steps and provide helpful tips for maintaining your lava rocks. I will also offer safety tips to help keep you safe while cleaning out your fire pit.

Remove and Rinse the Lava Rock

The first step to a clean fire pit lies with your lava rocks. Making sure the fire pit is cool, remove the lava rocks from the basin. To clean your lava rocks, rinse them in cold water, and leave them to dry. 

Remember, lava rocks need at least a few hours to dry, as they are porous and will soak up water. If you’re unsure, err on the side of caution and allow several hours. If you can, rinse lava rocks on a sunny day so you can leave them to dry in the yard. 

Damp lava rocks are easily damaged when heated and can cause accidents. If a wet lava rock gets hot, it may split, crack, or pop, which could thrust it out of your fire pit and onto your lawn. There is a risk of fire or someone getting hit by a stray lava rock. You could also damage your fire pit beyond repair. 

Check your manufacturer’s guidance, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to rinse your lava rocks annually. Otherwise, they require no further maintenance, and if you’re using lava pebbles, they won’t disintegrate. 

If you’re in the market for a new bag of lava rocks, I recommend the black Venetian Princess Lava Rocks from Amazon. You can use the Venetian Princess rocks indoors or outdoors, and they come in either red or black. They’re heatproof, too, if you want to be sure of your family’s safety. 

Remove the Ash From the Fire Pit

Everyone’s least favorite garden task has to be shoveling out the fire pit. However, it’s unavoidable unless you want ash and other debris spilling into your yard. Have a wheelbarrow to hand and a shovel, like the Aboniris Coal Shovel and Hearth Brush Set, available on Amazon. The Aboniris Shovel and Brush set is ideal for cleaning out your fire pit and is made with natural wood for that rustic look. For smaller fire pits, you can use a trowel.

For a thorough fire pit clean, you need to shovel everything out. Get rid of all the ash and sand and any fragments of leaves or wood that have found their way into your fire pit. Natural plant material is a significant fire hazard here, so you want to throw that in with the ash. 

A great way to manage this step is to get some helpers. Grab a shovel each, find a wheelbarrow, and put some upbeat music on. It’ll get the job done quicker, and you’ll have a blast doing it. It’ll even help you get fit!

Empty your fire pit until you can see the bottom. You’ll also want to create a space to dump the rubbish, such as a bin or dump pile. 

Brush, Hose, and Brush Again

With a sturdy brush, wipe down the fire pit to get rid of lingering ash that your shovel couldn’t quite reach. Beware of dust while doing this — it’s best to protect your eyes and wear a dustproof mask. Surgical masks won’t cut it, as they are not designed to filter particles like ash and dust out of the air. Choose a heavy-duty mask with a respirator to protect your lungs. 

Once you’re happy that you’ve got most of the fine debris out of the fire pit, you can hose the pit with cold water. Every part of your fire pit must be properly dry before you use it again, so it’s best to hose in the morning and give it a day in the sun to dry. 

After it’s dry, brush the fire pit one more time to dislodge some of the more stubborn pieces of grit. A final brush will also help buff up your fire pit and ensure no stray flammables are hanging around.

If your fire pit has a grate, you can treat the grate in the same way as the pit. Again, ensure it is dry before attempting to reuse.

Complete Repairs or Upgrades

Since you’re cleaning out the fire pit, it’s the perfect time to complete any repairs or upgrades you’ve been meaning to implement. You can also double-check all the components for issues or damage. 

Some excellent ways to upgrade your fire pit include:

  • Change or add vents
  • Add wind guards
  • Combine lava glass or ceramic logs with your lava rocks
  • Respray the fire pit
  • Change the metal or stonework
  • Add flame accents
  • Change or respray the grate

Put Your Clean Lava Rocks Back Into the Fire Pit

If you’re confident that both your lava rocks and your fire pit are dry, it’s time to start putting everything back in. You’ll need a foundation for your lava rocks, such as sand. Layer this in at about 2.54 cm (1 inch). 

Sand is ideal for fire pits because it helps to spread the heat out more evenly. It also goes some way to protecting the metal or stone. Sand acts as an insulator, buffering the base of your fire pit from the intense heat, as well as preventing all the heat from degrading one area of the pit. This would leave extensive damage and marking in one place. 

Materials like sandstone and gravel are liable to explode when they get hot, so it’s best to avoid using these as fire pit foundations. Instead, stick with sand, or add volcanic ash, lava pebbles, or lava beads as filler. You can also leave your fire pit without filler.

When you refill your fire pit, make sure the burners are not covered, as this can be highly dangerous. 

Finally, add your clean, dry lava rocks to your fire pit. If you’re using new lava rocks, I recommend rinsing them before use due to dust build-up in the packaging. 

If you’re looking for a great YouTube video on cleaning out your fire pit, I recommend this one by George Gesse. 

Final Thoughts

In this step-by-step guide, I have covered how to clean lava rocks and how to clean out your fire pit. I also offered some ideas for upgrading your fire pit and included some great safety tips. 

To recap, you can clean out your fire pit with lava rocks by removing and rinsing the lava rocks, shoveling out the ash and debris, brushing, hosing, brushing again, and putting your lava rocks back in. You can also use the opportunity to add upgrades, check for damage, or do repairs. It’s also a great time to mix up your fire pit fillers by adding ceramic logs, or lava pebbles, for example.

Steve Rajeckas

Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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