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Why Is My Fire Pit Rusting?


Fire pits are an excellent addition to any garden or outdoor space, but you have to maintain them to keep them in tip-top shape. If you’ve been a bit too relaxed on cleaning and storing yours and you notice your fire pit rusting, you don’t need to panic. There are plenty of ways that you can knock your pit back into shape and prevent rust from building up again.

In this article we’ll answer the question of “why is my fire pit rusting?” and give you expert advice on keeping your pit looking as good as new.

Reasons for your fire pit rusting

a fire pit rusting

Rust is caused by oxidation. This is when iron and oxygen come into an acidic substance such as water. There are a few reasons that your fire pit could be starting to build up rust, including:

  • You’ve been leaving it outside – even if you’ve splashed out on a steel fire pit, you need to make sure you are covering it up or moving it under shelter when the weather is bad. When it rains water can pool in the bottom of your firepit, causing oxidation to occur. 
  • It is stored incorrectly – you might have your fire pit under cover, but if rain can breach this cover, it’s no use at all.
  • Water has been allowed to pool in your pit – rust can develop on the sites, legs, and in the basin of your fire pit, but it most commonly happens where water is allowed to pool. This usually happens when drainage holes aren’t left open, or there aren’t any in the first place.

Reading between the lines, a fire pit rusting is almost always caused by improper storage. If rain can reach it, science dictates that rust will develop.

How to prevent fire pit rust


Preventing your fire pit from rusting is pretty simple when you know what to do. Essentially, you need to keep it out of the rain, clean it regularly, and have a proper maintenance routine.

Invest in proper covers – loose covers are no good. Pick up fitted coverings for your fire pit to keep it dry and clean during bad weather.

Keep in storage when not in use – if you are able to move your fire pit into a shed or garage when it isn’t going to be used for a while, you should do.

Clean fire pit more frequently – cleaning your fire pit should be on your list of annual maintenance jobs. Check your manufacturer’s advice on this as some materials may not be receptive to abrasive materials. Give your pit a wipe down with a wet cloth, and dry immediately after. You can clean any grills with a wire brush like you would do with a BBQ.

Get a higher quality, cast iron pit – a higher quality fire pit will still develop rust, but choosing good materials like steel and cast iron will guarantee a longer lifespan and they can put up with a bit of mishandling

Season/protect with oil – just like a good pan, a cast iron fire bowl needs to be seasoned to keep it in tip-top condition. Oil it up after each fire has been extinguished and ashes have been emptied out. If you have left your pit out in the rain, you should also dry and oil it.

Repairing rust damage on your fire pit


a lit fire pit prevented from rusting

If it’s too late and you have already fallen victim to rust, it isn’t the end of the world. High quality fire pits can usually be rescued from rust damage.

This video explains the process of repairing rust damage:

Here are our tips for removing rust:

  • Clean thoroughly before you get started. Use a scrub brush or wire wool if your fire pit can hold up to its abrasive nature. Check on an inconspicuous area if you aren’t sure.
  • Use a rust remover. You can buy rust removing products from most hardware stores.
  • You can use white vinegar as a natural alternative, it’s acidity eats through rust. Just be careful to rinse it off thoroughly after you are done

Take a look at this in depth guide for even more ways to remove signs of fire pit rusting.

Enjoy your rust free fire pit

We hope we’ve thoroughly answered the questions that you have around fire pit rusting. Go ahead and enjoy your BBQ or fire pit night rust-free!

Want to learn more? Check out more of our blog for help with your fire pit and around the garden. 

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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