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How to Clean Fire Pit Glass in Your Backyard

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A natural gas fire pit is a wonderful option for a homeowner because it burns more efficiently than wood-burning units. Without creating any soot or ashes, the pits are often filled with tempered glass rocks or beads which when heated provide plenty of heat and an ember-like ambiance. However, as brilliant as they are, the glass rocks covering the base can still get covered in dust as they sit idle during the winter months.

If you own a fire pit heated through natural gas or propane and it is filled with glass rocks, you know the beauty they can provide. Chances are you will want to learn how to keep the glass in a fire pit sparkling like new. Keep reading for regular washing and some basic maintenance routines that will help maintain your pit as detailed below. 

Set Up Your Cleaning Area

One of the first things you will need to do is to secure an area where you can clean the rocks without making a huge mess. If your deck has a sink prep area you use for preparing food, or washing up after an evening with friends, use it. If that is not available, pick an area in your yard and use a garden hose. .

Access to a basic water source to wash and rinse the rocks is essential. If the work is to be done in the yard, be sure to pick a cleansing area with adequate drainage,for example, near a fence or flowerbed. This will ensure that you are not having to clean up a larger mess later.

Pick a Cleanser, Small Shovel, and Other Items

You do not need to purchase any special cleanser for the job. Any household detergent, or dishwashing liquid, can be used as a solvent. You will want a cleanser that provides an adequate soapy solution, unlike regular glass or surface cleaner that you spray on and then wipe away. 

A small shovel, a moderately sized strainer, a couple of separate buckets will also be helpful to the task. These items will allow you to remove the glass from the fire pit and transport the beads to a staging area before washing. 

The buckets can be used to store the glass once it has been rinsed free of debris, so that it can be returned to the unit. This process will also allow you to attend to the base of the fire pit and remove any dust that might have accumulated there. 

  • Secure a Staging Area with a Water Source
  • Household Cleanser (Dish Soap is fine) 
  • Small Shovel, Strainer and Buckets if needed

Securing the above items will help prepare you for the task of cleaning the glass and make the job a lot easier.

Remove and Clean the Glass

Scoop out a small portion of the rocks and place them into the sink or strainer. Add dishwashing liquid to coat the rocks, and then stir or shake the rocks to ensure each is covered with detergent. Rinse thoroughly with water until the soapy residue is removed from the glass and the water runs clear onto the ground. The most effective method is to work in batches with smaller amounts of glass.  

The next set of steps for removing and cleaning the glass are as follows: 

  • Haul the glass beads to the washing area
  • Scoop out a portion of the glass into the strainer
  • Apply cleanser to the rocks
  • Shake or stir the beads to provide coating of solvent
  • Rinse with water
  • Return beads to bucket and allow to dry

Once you are done and the beads have dried, the glass should be clean and need no further cleaning. 

Use Drying Time for an Inspection

A helpful hint to consider as you are cleaning the glass in the fire pit is to inspect for any defects or leaks. Once the glass beads have been removed, washed and are drying, a thorough inspection of the lighting apparatus can help prevent any misfortune from happening in the middle of a family gathering. 

Turn the unit on and light the fire pit to make sure that the flames are operating normally. If your inspection shows any loose connections, or the unit will not light properly, then call a repairman out to fix the issue. Of course, if you smell gas at any time coming, turn the apparatus off and be sure to notify someone right away.

Returning the Glass to the Pit

After the glass has been thoroughly cleaned, rinsed and is free of debris and excess water, haul the rocks back to the fire pit. Evenly pour them onto the holding area and rake or level them over the surface. You will want to be careful as you do this and not get any of the rocks lodged into any exposed lighting rails. Repeat this process as many times as is necessary until all the glass has been cleaned and returned to the pit.

  • Make sure the glass beads have dried 
  • Haul the rocks back to the pit
  • Pour the glass into the holding tray
  • Spread the rocks out into a single layer

You will need to make sure that the rocks are layered out evenly. This will provide for the best aesthetic when it comes time for lighting.

Store the Beads Correctly

The addition of glass rocks in a fire pit can add a wonderful ambiance to any outdoor gathering. The glass glows brilliantly, while it radiates heat. In addition, the glass can be purchased in a variety of colors. Some owners prefer to change the color every season. If you decide to do this, then storing the beads properly when they are not in use is important for a minimum amount of fuss when it comes time for a change.

The easiest method is to keep the reserve beads in an airtight container where dust and debris cannot enter. The glass should be completely dry before transferring the beads to the tote, so that as they sit over the months, no mold or mildew accumulates. Then whenever the right time comes along, you can easily grab the tote and change out the color with the existing rocks you are cleaning.

Be sure to store the glass in small enough containers, so that when the time comes for a change, the transport to the pit is easy. Even though tempered glass does not weigh much, it can be a strenuous effort if the container is too large to handle. 

How to Clean Fire Pit Glass: Step-by-Step Instructions

If you are still a bit unclear on how the previous steps work together, then do not worry! Here is a list of all the steps you will need to perform to clean a fire pit glass properly: 

  • Secure a staging area with a water source
  • Choose a cleanser, shovel and strainer 
  • Prepare two buckets or sink areas
  • Remove rock beads from the pit and place into bucket
  • Scoop up glass into strainer and coat with cleanser (soap)
  • Stir to provide adequate coating
  • Rinse with water thoroughly to remove residue
  • Completely cleanse fire pit base
  • Inspect lighting apparatus for leaks
  • Return glass beads to pit
  • Pour and distribute glass evenly in a layer

A natural gas fire pit filled with glass rocks is an exceptional addition to any home or deck. These tempered glass beads provide a beautiful ambiance while also heating the surrounding area. In addition, because the fire pit is powered by natural gas, it is a much safer alternative, burning more efficiently and releasing fewer toxins into the air than other kinds of pits. 

Yet, like anything else in a home, routine regular maintenance is needed. With just a small amount of effort and a few simple tools, the gas fire pit will be a great gathering point for as long as you own your home.  

Be sure to check out our article were we compare fire glass to lava rocks, to see which one suits your needs best! We also have plenty of cleaning articles that are extremely useful for regular chores such as, cleaning you patio screen properly.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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