How to Use Citronella Oil for Outdoor Fire Pits

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Things You'll Need

  • Mild detergent

  • Nylon scrub brush

  • Outdoor citronella oil lamps

  • Sand

  • Citronella oil

  • Lighter

  • Fire extinguisher

Place citronella oil lamps inside a fire pit to repel insects.

An open fire can enhance the atmosphere of a backyard barbecue or evening outdoors. Fire pits have become increasingly popular as a method to bring open fires to such events. In addition, hosts often burn citronella oil in torches or oil lamps as a means of repelling insects. Some may wonder how to combine the ambiance of a fire pit with the insect-repelling quality of the citronella lamps. An easy solution is to place citronella oil lamps inside the fire pit and burn them instead of wood or other fuel.


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Step 1

Let your fire pit become cold and clean it. Remove any ashes, coals or unconsumed fuel. Scrub it with warm, soapy water and rinse with clean water. Allow it to dry completely. Patch any holes and make any necessary repairs. Alternatively, buy a new fire pit.

Step 2

Place the fire pit outdoors in an area away from flammable materials. Avoid placing it on dried grass or wooden decks. Ideally place it on a stone patio or concrete slab. Leave several feet of clearance on all sides of the pit.


Step 3

Remove the cover and screen of the fire pit and place one or more outdoor citronella oil lamps in the basin. They must be level. Put a layer of sand in the bottom of the fire pit before adding the lamps for added stability.

Step 4

Fill the citronella oil lamps with the manufacturer's recommended amount of oil. Do not overfill them. Adjust the wicks of the lamps so that the flame will be pleasant and visible but not too high. Consult the lamp instructions for advice.


Step 5

Light the wicks of the oil lamps at the beginning of your event. The oil lamps will provide hours of pleasant flames.

Step 6

Snuff out the oil lamps at the end of the event. Most oil lamps have their own snuffers. Use the manufacturer's recommended method in all cases. Let the oil lamps become completely cold before replacing the screen and cover on your fire pit. Cover the pit to keep rain from being absorbed into the oil lamp wicks.


Keep a fire extinquisher nearby when you burn the citronella oil lamps in your fire pit.

You can use other types of lamp oil in the lamps, but do not mix oil types.

Supplement the light and insect-repellant quality of the oil lamps by using citronella oil torches around the perimeter of your outdoor event.


Never burn any liquid fuel, including petroleum-based or alcohol-based substances, in your fire pit.

Never use any liquid fuel to start a fire in your fire pit.

Never throw water on an oil-based fire. Use a fire extinguisher or sand.


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