Deep Clean Your Bee Smoker in 3 Easy Steps

Hi, everyone! It’s Sara writing today to share some tips on how to effectively—and naturally—deep clean your bee smoker without a lot of hassle.

One look inside my malfunctioning bee smoker was all I needed to diagnose its disease: filth! My hard-working tool had finally succumbed to soot buildup. Surprisingly, deciding on the best way to clean my smoker was not easy.

My internet research turned up disappointing results. I found a lot of information, but not many methods that jived with my style of doing things. I like all-natural products and using what I already own. I did not want to, for example, dabble with torches, chemicals, or any degree of disassembly, and I didn’t want to call it good after only scraping the soot out.

So, I decided to come up with my own deep-cleaning protocol using distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is an amazing cleaner, and it worked like a charm on the smoker! In fact, I was so happy with the results that I asked Hilary if I could share my method on the blog. So, if your smoker needs a lot of TLC, read on for a deep cleaning tutorial.

How to Deep Clean Your Smoker in 3 Easy Steps:

Time Breakdown: 30 minutes of active work; 6-10 hours for overnight soaking

Tools: small flathead screwdriver or hive tool; hot water; distilled white vinegar; large mopping bucket with a handle; gear ties or twine; and tape

Deep Clean Your Bee Smoker in 3 Easy Steps

Step One: Scrape

Scrape or chip the hard soot layer off the inside of the smoker with your hive tool or, better yet, a flat-head screwdriver. It comes off in flakes or small chunks. Keep working at it until most of the soot is gone. Don’t worry if there is a little bit left. It will come off in the next step, which is soaking.

By the way, if your smoker has a perforated removable base plate at the bottom, pop it out, so you can scrape the very bottom of the chamber, too.


Step Two: Soak

First, to protect the bellows from accidental water intrusion, cover the bellows’ air tube with a few small pieces of tape. Next, use gear ties or twine to suspend the smoker in your bucket (see photo below), so that the bellows will be just above the water level. The bucket’s handle and the smoker’s heat shield make great places to anchor gear ties or tie off twine.

Deep Clean Your Bee Smoker in 3 Easy StepsPour a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the bucket. Then fill the bucket with hot water (I used a combination of hot tap water and boiled water) until the smoker is mostly submerged. Check to make sure that water is not touching the bellows’ air tube. Don’t forget to drop the fire base plate into the water, too. Allow the smoker to soak for 6-10 hours.


Step Three: Wipe

After 6-10 hours of soaking, remove the smoker from the bucket and discard the water. Using a rag, wipe the smoker clean, both inside and out. You may need your hive tool or screwdriver to knock off some softened thicker chunks of soot. When done, your smoker should be mostly gleaming, but keep in mind that it won’t be perfectly like new. Some soot stains just stick!





Thank you Sara. That was very useful. I have seen smokers that are muy gunky. You’re amazing to get this experimented for us


This is super helpful! I have never seen this addressed anywhere. I’ll be cleaning mine at the end of the season. Thanks for sharing this!


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