How To Remove Rust From Outdoor Fire Pit

Your fire pit is meant to enhance the beauty and allure of the landscaping in your backyard, but after years of use, it may start to rust, turning what was once a showpiece into an eyesore. Don’t worry though; the rust can be removed and your fire pit can be brought back to its former splendor.

But before you start scrubbing the rust off, you need to be aware that there are several forms of rust and that each of them will react differently to different cleaning techniques. So let’s start by talking about what rust is and its four basic forms.

What Is Rust?

Rust is simply iron oxide. Oxide is the result of iron combined with oxygen and water. Rust is unavoidable if a piece of iron or other metal is exposed to oxygen and water continuously. It might not occur immediately, rather it will depend on the metal and the severity of the exposure. It can take anywhere from hours to years to form.

If left untreated, rust can really wreak havoc and even make holes in your fire pit, making it dangerous and ineffective.

What Are The Different Types Of Rust?

Actually, there are four distinct types of rust that we need to be aware of. Untrained eyes may not be able to distinguish the variations right away, but identifying the sort of rust you are dealing with is crucial to understanding how to treat it.

Stable Rust

Used on purpose to prevent further corrosion of the metal, stable rust is typically a beneficial thing. This can be seen in industrial design and is a style that is in high demand. For instance, the rust coating on your fire pit should be preserved if it is constructed of corten steel because it is a stable kind of rust. 

Flash Rust 

Typically occurs in a specific location that has been exposed to water for a long time. like the little pool of water in your fire pit’s bottom. If you’re not careful, it may actually form rather quickly and is typically bright orange.

Flaking Rust

The joins where the paint coat doesn’t quite cover completely are where this kind of rust is most frequently found. The fact that it occupies more space than the underlying metal makes it the most obvious.

Pitting Rust

Which typically develops as a result of retained moisture, and is most frequently observed on metal items or furniture that have cavities where moisture can enter.

How To Remove Rust?

There are many various ways to get rid of rust. One method is as simple as cleaning it with a brush, but this might scratch your fire pit and take hours of steady work.

The two main ways though, are using a chemical-based removal product or employing one of the following organic homemade techniques:

Scrub

Yes, starting with a little elbow grease is a smart idea. Any somewhat abrasive material, such as steel wool, sandpaper, or even a crumpled ball of tin foil, can be used to scrub the rust away. To get rid of the simplest to remove rust first, try this before using any additional techniques.

White Vinegar

Rust can be removed with the help of distilled white vinegar’s acidity. White vinegar can be applied directly to the rust patches or applied to the surface using an old cloth. Just keep in mind to completely rinse the area once the rust has disappeared. The surface of the fire pit may become damaged if exposed to acidic vinegar for an extended period of time.

Baking Soda

Making a paste by combining baking soda and water is the first step. To adhere to the rusty surface, the paste must be sufficiently thick. After leaving the baking soda paste on the rust for a few hours, clean the surface using steel wool or a scrub brush. This may need to be repeated a few times.

Potato

Slice a raw potato, sprinkle it with salt or baking soda, then apply it to the rusty area. This procedure works best when the rust is only present in a few isolated locations rather than covering the entire metal fire pit. The potato’s oxalic acid will aid in dissolving the rust, while the salt and baking soda will act as cleaners.

Lemon Juice

Add some lemon juice and coarse salt to the rust. Rinse after wiping away the juice. Don’t let the lemon juice sit too long since prolonged contact with the lemon juice may result in harm beyond the rust. For a stronger remedy, you can also try combining lemon juice with vinegar.

Cola Drink

Phosphoric acid, a frequent component of store-bought rust removal treatments, may be found in large concentrations in soft drinks like cola and other beverages. Hence rust can be eliminated using coke. But because it is stickier than some other rust-removal alternatives, a thorough cleaning is required afterward.

Remember to rinse and fully dry all surfaces if you clean your fire pit with one of these natural remedies. If you leave them get wet, they’ll only start to rust again.

Using Commercial Products

You shouldn’t give up on your fire pit just yet if the rusting has progressed to the point where homemade remedies are no longer effective. Instead, check for some industrial rust-removal products, but use caution since these products frequently have harmful effects on the environment, your children, and your pets.

WD-40 is first on the list. You should always keep at least one bottle of WD-40 in your home since it can be very helpful. However, if you need to remove stable rust from sizable areas, it wouldn’t be advisable. You should preferably use it for chains, nuts, bolts, and anything in between. But it can be effective when dealing with flash rust on a fire pit.

CLR is the way to go if you have a large surface covered in rust. It typically comes in bottles of 28 ounces, which is more than enough for any fire pit. Furthermore, it is non-toxic, which makes it safer than the majority of cleaners on the market.

Many people can attest to its effectiveness and claim that it consistently completes the task at hand. After you finish removing the rust from your fire pit, you may use CLR to remove calcium from the sink or toilet because it is multipurpose.

It is crucial to take the time to make the required preparations before employing any removal products in order to keep yourself safe. For detailed instructions on how to use the product, carefully read the label that comes with it, but in general, you could follow these steps:

  • Work should be done in a space that is well-ventilated and away from anything that could be damaged by runoff. The best place is generally outside.
  • The fire pit should next be cleaned using water and a light scrub brush.
  • Apply the rust remover to the rusted spots with an old brush. Please use caution when applying since some items are chemical-based and extremely hazardous.
  • The majority of solutions take 15 to 30 minutes to work, while some may require an additional coat for extremely challenging areas.
  • When the advised amount of time has elapsed, wash the removal product off.

Bringing Your Metal Fire Pit Back To Its Former Glory

The fire pit will need to be resealed and, if it is painted, it may need to be repainted once you have successfully removed the rust using homemade or industrial methods. This will keep it from rusting once more and restore its brand-new appearance.

The steps to complete the process are as follows: 

Sand Off The Paint

You must use coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the fire pit’s paint. Sand the fire pit until the metal that is hidden by the paint is visible.

Smooth The Fire Pit Out

After that, sand the metal once more using fine-grit paper. Apply gentle circular motions. Keep going until the metal is smooth. There shouldn’t be any obvious scratches or pits.

Apply Sealant

Keeping the high-temperature metal sealant can in your hand, step back from the fire pit by about two feet. Sealant should be applied evenly and thinly over the entire surface. It shouldn’t get too thick because that will lead to bubbling and cracking.

Apply The Paint

Apply the high-temperature metal paint to the fire pit while keeping a distance of 1 to 2 feet. Again, avoid applying it too thickly as this will also result in bubbles. To make sure the fire pit is completely painted, you might need to use a second coat.

Apply A Second Layer Of Sealant

Apply a second coat of sealant after painting. The paint will be shielded from water damage by the second layer.

How To prevent Rust

Here are some simple suggestions on how to avoid rust in the first place in order to spare yourself the trouble of removing it the next time:

  • Cover your fire pit while not in use.
  • Over the winter, keep it in a dry, secure area.
  • Wash it regularly and dry it thoroughly.
  • Removing the ashes after each fire.
  • Observing it closely and keeping an eye out for any signs of corrosion.

Using A Rust Converter

In contrast to rust removers, which only attempt to dissolve and remove rust, rust converters react with rust to produce a new substance that can be painted over.

Tannic acid and an organic polymer are the two active ingredients in rust converters, which are water-based primers. Rust is chemically changed into iron tannate when tannic acid combines with iron oxide, also known as rust. Iron tannate is a very stable, dark-colored substance.

The organic polymer, the second active component, offers a protective first layer. Rust is essentially transformed into a stable, dark protective covering that works as a very solid primer for both oil- and epoxy-based paints as a result of the whole reaction.

Additionally, a rust converter can be used for practically any project that involves rust. The substance is safe to use on anything made of rusted iron or steel, including cars, trailers, iron railings, sheet metal, cast iron, farm equipment, fences, and gates.

However, a rust converter must be used when attempting to remove rust from objects that you plan to paint.

How To Get The Surface Ready To Apply A Rust Converter

In order for any rust converter to function properly and produce a high-quality result for your project, sufficient surface preparation is essential. Just follow the steps below before using a rust converter product:

  • Using a stiff-bristled brush or sandpaper, remove any large or loose rust particles. You want to construct a surface that is as stable as possible.
  • The next step is to clean and degrease the surface since rust converters cannot pierce grease or oil.
  • After the surface has been cleaned and degreased, allow it to dry. Additionally, if the rusted metal’s surface is near a body of water, wash it once more, then let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  • For bigger tasks, use a brush or roller to apply your rust converter before allowing the conversion process to start.
  • While the majority of rust converters dry in 20 to 40 minutes, they need to cure for 24 hours before a second layer may be applied. After the second layer is applied, you should wait an extra 24 hours before painting.

Last Thoughts

Restoring your fire pit once it shows signs of rust doesn’t have to be a difficult process. But the greatest thing you can do to keep your fire pit in good condition for many years to come is to remain watchful and address any signs of rust early.