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How to Clean a Copper Fire Pit

Tucker Cummings

A copper fire pit makes a great addition to a summer BBQ, campsite, or backyard. You will want to clean your fire pit periodically to remove stains and keep the copper from developing that signature blue patina. Here is a step-by-step guide to keeping your copper fire pit in beautiful condition.

  1. Remove any loose debris or charcoal from the fire pit prior to cleaning. Run a paper towel or dry cloth around the inside of the pit to remove any soot.

  2. Read your user's manual. Much of the copper sold today comes from the manufacturer pretreated with a fine layer of lacquer. Review any documentation that came with your fire pit to see if your pit is made from lacquered copper. If so, cleaning it will be very easy. Most stains should come off from lacquered copper with only soap and water. Do not polish or scrub lacquered copper, as this can damage the lacquer and expose the copper beneath. Avoid steel wool or other harsh scrubbers.

  3. If your copper is untreated, apply a small amount of cleaning solution to the copper. You can buy commercial copper cleaner, but you will find that many items you have around the house will do just as well. Any sort of acidic foodstuff will do. For example, tomato paste, vinegar, or lemon juice can all be used to clean copper.

  4. Using a soft cloth or paper towel, rub the cleansing agent of your choice into the copper in small circular motions. Alternatively, you can cut a lemon in half, sprinkle the surface with salt, and rub the copper with the lemon halves using a circular motion.

  5. Rinse thoroughly with water, and dry with a clean cloth. Make sure the copper has been thoroughly dried, as moisture will lead to the formation of a blue patina on the surface of the copper.

  6. Using a buffer such as a chamois cloth, you can return your copper's original shine by working the cloth over the copper in small circles.

  7. If your copper fire pit has developed a thick blue-green patina from years of disuse, you may be able to flake the patina off with your bare hands or with a cloth or fork. Try tapping lightly with a small hammer or mallet to loosen the patina. You may wish to seek out a commercial product to remove the patina. The patina is actually a natural protectant from corrosion due to weathering. Though it may not be as beautiful as untarnished copper, the blue-green patina is useful.