How to Remove Rust from an Outdoor Fire Pit?

For those of you who love spending time outside, one thing you’re sure to do is fire up the barbeque. One way to ensure your outdoor space stays clean this summer without a lot of effort is by using sand with rust remover when cleaning and removing rusty materials from your grill.

The “how to fix a rusted fire pit” is a question that has been asked many times. However, there are not many steps that can be taken to prevent rust from forming on an outdoor fire pit.

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Your fire pit is designed to enhance the beauty and charm of your backyard landscaping, but it may rust with time, and what was once a showpiece becomes an ugly. Don’t be concerned! In most circumstances, your fire pit may be restored to virtually new condition.

How do you clean a rusted outdoor fire pit? A chemical-based rust dissolver or numerous natural approaches, like as scouring with steel wool or using distilled white vinegar, may be used to remove rust from a fire pit. To prevent rust from reoccurring, the fire pit should be repainted and resealed once the rust has been removed.


Removing rust from a fire pit is a simple operation that takes a lot of time, effort, and energy. Continue reading to discover how to remove rust using a chemical-based rust dissolver and natural techniques, as well as How to Avoid Rust from forming in the first place.


Contents Table of Contents

  • What is the definition of rust?
  • What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Rust?
  • Bringing the Metal Fire Pit Back to Its Former Glory
  • How to Avoid Rust
  • Using a Rust Converter to Prevent Future Rust
  • Cleaning the Fire Pit (Steel or Metal)
  • Cast Iron Fire Pit Cleaning
  • Keeping the Copper Fire Pit Clean
  • Gas Fire Pit Maintenance


What is the definition of rust?

Let’s speak about what rust is and how to get rid of it before we go into how to get rid of rust. Rust is a prevalent problem with metal objects. We’ve all seen it, and if left unchecked, it may create major difficulties.

Rust is iron oxide in technical terms. When iron combines with oxygen and water, it produces iron oxide. Oxidation is the name for this process. Rust is unavoidable when a piece of iron or other metal is exposed to water and oxygen on a regular basis. It may not happen right away. Depending on the degree of the exposure and the kind of metal, rust may form in a matter of days or years. 

The amount and speed with which your fire pit rusts depends not only on the sort of fire pit you have, but also on where you reside.

Your fire pit may rust more rapidly if your neighborhood has any of these traits.


  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Humidity increase
  • Being close to the sea
  • Rust will be more prevalent in rainy locations.

Rust may develop holes in your fire pit and compromise its structural integrity if left to its own devices. This is both dangerous and harmful to your fire pit.

Rust Comes in a Variety of Forms

To the uneducated eye, all rust seems to be the same, yet there are subtle variances in the nature of how rust forms in various situations. Various varieties of rust may grow on the same thing at the same time. 

Stable rust, flash rust, peeling rust, and pitting rust are the four types of rust. The sort of rust you have should influence what kind of rust remover you purchase and how you go about eliminating it. These four kinds of rust conditions are useful to know and are discussed further down.

  • Stable Rust — this rust forms over a lengthy period of time and has a single tone look. Stable rust may be regarded a desirable aesthetic in certain cases, such as on unpainted steel building panels.
  • When water stays for too long, it causes flash rust in a single location. This sort of rust is brilliant orange in color and may appear in as little as 6 hours. 
  • Flaking Rust – This kind of rust often takes up more space than the metal it replaces. Frequently seen where one coat of paint finishes and another begins.
  • Moisture becomes trapped beneath pockets and within hollow regions of metal tools and furniture, causing pitting rust. This is the form of rust most people think of when they think of rusted antique tools. 

What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Rust?

If your fire pit simply has surface rust, removing the rust and refinishing the fire pit should be simple. You might buy a rust remover like Rust-Oleum Rust Dissolver, but these products are usually quite harmful. They are hazardous to your dogs and children, as well as the environment.

I’ll show you how to get rid of rust with one of these chemical-based treatments as well as natural, non-toxic alternatives.

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Using a Rust Removal Product to Remove Rust

You’ll need to be a bit more prepared if you want to remove rust using a rust removal solution. Because each product is unique in its composition and will have distinct instructions, you should always follow the directions that come with it.

I’ve written a broad overview of what you’ll need to accomplish below.

  1. Ascertain that your fire pit is well-ventilated. It’s preferable to do this outdoors, away from anything that can be affected by the chemical discharge, such as your garden.
  2. Using water and a light scrub brush or steel wool, clean the fire pit.
  3. With an old brush, apply the rust dissolver to the rusted spots, or spray it on if it’s in a spray bottle. This substance is very caustic and dangerous. Handle it with extreme caution.
  4. On most metal objects, the rust dissolver takes 15-30 minutes to function. If the rust is severe, you may need to apply it a second time.
  5. Rinse the rust dissolver solution completely.
  6. After that, you’ll want to reseal the fire pit and ring to keep it from rusting.

The Best Rust Remover Brands

Rust remover brands may be divided into two categories, according to There are metal-specific rust removers and those that are termed all-around rust removers. To discover a little bit more about these rust remover brands, look at the table below. 

Product Category The Most Common Use Form
Iron Out Focus on Metal Bathrooms, kitchens, appliances, washing machines, fabric, tile, and tools all benefit from it. Spray Gel
CLR General Purpose Calcium Lime Rust Remover is a surface and appliance cleaner. Gel
Aceros  Focus on Metal It’s good for appliances and stainless steel, although it’s a bit more expensive. Liquid
Rust Evapo  General Purpose Tools, antiques, hardware, and other equipment are all good candidates. Liquid
Starbrite General Purpose Fiberglass, vinyl, metal, and painted surfaces all benefit from this treatment.  Spray
WD-40 Focus on Metal Good for nuts, bolts, locks, chains and anything metal. Great General Purpose metal aid.  Spray

The website assessed these goods based on their own claims and instructions. For example, WD-40 was put to the test to see whether it could remove rust from nuts and bolts. While the grading method may only go so far, the majority of the positions on their list seem to be normal. In addition, this table depicts the market’s variety of certain product kinds. There are no two goods that perform the same objective. 

Using Natural Methods to Remove Rust 

If you don’t want to use dangerous chemicals to remove rust from your fire pit, there are other options. You may try one of the Farmer’s Almanac’s recommended ways. There are at least six natural and simple techniques to get rid of rust. 

  1. Yes, scrubbing with elbow grease is a terrific place to start. Steel wool, sandpaper, or even a crumpled up ball of tin foil are all good options for removing rust. To get rid of the simplest to remove rust, do this first before trying other ways.
  2. White vinegar: White vinegar that has been distilled is acidic enough to dissolve rust. You may either pour the white vinegar directly on the rust patches or use an old cloth to wipe it off. Just be sure to properly clean the area once the rust has dissipated. Long-term contact to acidic vinegar may cause damage to the fire pit’s surface. 
  3. Baking soda: To begin, form a paste by combining baking soda and water. It is necessary for the paste to be thick enough to adhere to the rusty surface. Allow the baking soda paste to remain on the rust for a few hours before using steel wool or a scrub brush to remove it. It’s possible that you’ll have to repeat this process multiple times. 
  4. Potato: Cut a raw potato in half, sprinkle it with salt or baking soda, then massage it over the rust area. If your rust isn’t entirely coating your metal fire pit but just in a few spots, this approach will work better. The potato’s oxalic acid will help dissolve the rust, while the salt and baking soda will scrub it away. 
  5. Lemon juice: Toss some coarse salt over the rust and then squeeze on some lemon juice. Rinse and wipe away the liquid. Allowing the lemon juice to rest for too long may cause harm in addition to the rust. You may also make a stronger solution by combining lemon juice and vinegar.  
  6. Cola and other soft drinks are rich in phosphoric acid, which is a typical element in store-bought rust-removal solutions. Rust may be removed using Coca-Cola. It’s a little more sticky than some other rust-removal methods, so use it only as a last choice.

If you use any of these natural cleaning techniques to clean your fire pit, be sure to thoroughly rinse and DRY all surfaces. They will rust all over again if you keep them damp.  

Bringing the Metal Fire Pit Back to Its Former Glory

After you’ve successfully cleaned the rust using toxic or non-toxic treatments, you’ll need to reseal the fire pit and, if it’s painted, maybe repaint it. This will keep it from rusting and will restore its original appearance.

  1. Remove off the paint: You’ll need coarse-grit sandpaper to sand the paint off the fire pit. Sand the fire pit until the metal underneath the paint is visible.
  2. Switch to fine-grit sandpaper and run over the metal a second time to smooth it out. Make circular movements in a smooth manner. Keep going until the metal is completely smooth. There should be no pits or scrapes visible. 
  3. Holding the can of high-temperature metal sealant approximately two feet away from the fire pit, apply the sealant. Over the whole surface, apply a thin, uniform layer of sealant. You don’t want it to grow too thick anyplace since it will cause it to break and bubble. 
  4. Apply the paint: Stand 1 to 2 feet away from the fire pit and apply the high-temperature metal paint on the fire pit. Again, don’t apply it too thickly since this will result in bubbles. It’s possible that you’ll need to apply a second layer of paint to completely cover the fire pit.
  5. Apply a second coat of sealer: After painting, apply another coat of sealant. The paint will be protected against water damage by the second coat.

How to Avoid Rust

Although no fire pit is impervious to rust, and it is possible that your fire pit will rust at some point, there are several steps you can do to preserve your fire pit from rusting and looking wonderful in your backyard.

You can maintain your fire pit from rusting by doing the following:

  • When it’s not in use, cover it with a cover.
  • Winterizing it by putting it in storage.
  • Cleaning it on a regular basis
  • After each fire, remove the ashes.
  • Regularly inspecting it for rust so that you can address the issue before it gets out of hand

Using a Rust Converter to Prevent Future Rust

Rust converters vary from rust removers in that they react with rust to form a new material that may be painted over, while rust removers just strive to dissolve and eliminate rust, according to 

Rust converters are water-based primers that comprise tannic acid and an organic polymer as active components. Tannic acid interacts chemically with iron oxide, or rust, to form iron tannate. Iron tannate is a dark-colored, very stable substance. The organic polymer, the second active element, acts as a protective primer layer.

Rust is transformed into a durable, black protective covering that may be used as a solid primer for oil and epoxy-based paints. 

In addition, rust converter may be used for nearly any rust-related job. Vehicles, trailers, iron railings, sheet metal, cast iron, agricultural equipment, fences, gates, and any other rusted iron or steel item may all benefit from the chemical. Rust converter, on the other hand, should be used when attempting to repair rust on things that will be painted.  

Preparing a Surface for Rust Converter Application

Surface preparation is essential for any rust converter to function effectively and provide a high-quality result for your project. The following are the measures you should take before using a rust conversion product. 

  1. Using a hard bristles brush or sandpaper, remove big or loose rust particles. You want to create a surface that is as stable as possible. 
  2. Grease and oil cannot be penetrated by rust converters, thus the next step is to clean and degrease the surface. 
  3. After washing and degreasing the surface, allow it to dry. Also, if the rusted metal’s surface is exposed to saltwater from the ocean, wash it again and allow it to dry completely before proceeding to the following step.
  4. Apply your rust converter using a brush or a roller, depending on the size of your project, and then wait for it to convert. 
  5. The majority of rust converters dry in 20 to 40 minutes, but they must cure for 24 hours before a second coat may be applied. If you wish to paint after the second coat has been placed, you’ll need to wait another 24 hours. 

Here’s a link to some of the finest rust converters on the market, and here’s a link to learn more about rust converters, including how to clean up after using them, safety, and storage. 

Cleaning the Fire Pit (Steel or Metal)

Most fire pits are made out of steel or other metals, and these are very susceptible to rust. Help prevent rust by Cleaning it on a regular basis.

  1. Wait until the fire is fully out before cleaning the fire pit or removing any ash.
  2. Take out all of the ash and other debris from the fire pit’s basin.
  3. To remove the bulk of the dirt and grime, spray the fire pit with a hose. 
  4. Wipe the fire pit down gently with a soap and water solution.
  5. Turn the fire pit over down to allow it to air dry.

Cast Iron Fire Pit Cleaning

Although it looks fantastic, cleaning a cast iron fire pit is a bit more difficult since it requires a little more elbow grease. The procedure is still straightforward.

  1. Remove ash and debris from the fire pit’s basin once the fire has been extinguished.
  2. Scrub the bowl gently with steel wool. 
  3. Using a hose, rinse the bowl.
  4. Using a soft cloth, dry it.

Keeping the Copper Fire Pit Clean

Copper fire pits are an excellent method to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your backyard. They are lovely, however oxidation will cause a greenish layer to form on top of them over time. This aesthetic is appealing to certain individuals, and it will not damage the copper. 

  1. Remove any ash and debris from your fire pit bowl after it has been extinguished and cooled. 
  2. To remove the bulk of the dirt and grime, spray the fire pit with a hose.
  3. Clean the bowl and the exterior of the fire pit with a soap and water solution. 
  4. Add 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of distilled white vinegar and apply it to the copper fire pit with a delicate cloth to remove the oxidation patina.
  5. Scrub the bowl with this solution and a towel, and your copper should be restored to its former brilliance.

Gas Fire Pit Maintenance

Gas fire pits are low-maintenance, although they do need cleaning from time to time. Make sure the fire pit is not hot or even warm before beginning the cleaning procedure.

  1. Dumping water on the fire pit will not cool it down. The fire pit may be damaged as a result of the fast temperature fluctuation. 
  2. Disconnect the propane tank from the fire pit or turn off the gas line.
  3. Using a towel and soapy water, clean the surface and burner of the fire pit. 
  4. Until you’re ready to utilize the table, cover it with a vinyl canvas.
  5. This is an excellent opportunity to double-check that none of your gas lines are leaking.
  6. Leaves, pebbles, and debris that have gathered in any portion of the fire pit should be removed.
  7. Make sure there are no blocked drains or vents, and that there are no bugs lurking anywhere.
  8. The fire glass does not need to be cleaned.
  9. Cover your pit in between cleanings. Before covering the pit, make sure it is absolutely cool.

Regardless of the kind of fire pit you have, be sure to address any symptoms of rust as soon as possible. The fire pit might be irreparably ruined if it gets too rusted.


The “how to clean a copper fire pit” is the process of removing rust from a copper fire pit. The easiest way to remove the rust is by using sandpaper and then washing the surface with vinegar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a fire pit if its rusty?

A: Yes, you can use a fire pit if it is rusty as long as there are no cracks in the container and no water.

How do you refinish a rusty fire pit?

A: To refinish a rusty fire pit, you will need to take the following steps.
1) Remove all of the old paint from around the edges
2) Apply new paint in layers with about 1 inch separations between each layer
3) Wait for at least 24 hours before using it again

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