How to Restore an Old Copper Fire Pit

What You'll Need
Hand shovel
Garbage bag
Shop vacuum
Clean water
Lint-free towels
Oil-free dish detergent
Scrubbing brush with soft bristles
Putty knife
Chamois cloth
Paper towels

A copper fire pit can be a place where your friends and family gather on cool nights as well as a great place to grill and barbecue. A copper fire pit is perfect for these types of cooking because copper is a naturally great conductor of heat. Unfortunately, over time, copper can begin to look old and tarnished because of soot and exposure to high heat, fluctuating weather temperatures and other elements, like snow. Follow the simlpe steps below to restore a copper fire pit back to its full grandeur.

Step 1 – Loose Debris

To begin, first remove any loose debris from inside the fire pit. Remove any grate or cover, and put on your gloves and mask to prevent inhaling or touching creosote. Start by removing large pieces, such as unburned pieces of wood. Use the small hand shovel to begin removing the small pieces of wood and any soot that is in the bottom of the pit, and discard it. Wipe the inside of the cauldron with a paper towel. If there is a heavy buildup of creosote to the copper, use the mallet and putty knife to chip away at it, being sure to discard it in the garbage bag.

Step 2 – Know the Copper

Most copper fire pits you will come in contact with are covered in copper lacquer. If this is the case, cleaning the copper is very easy because lacquer will not stain, but you can not polish or scrub it. If it is plain copper, then you can scrub it and polish it, but the soot can be burned fast to the metal. Consult the manual that came with your fire pit. If you do not have it handy, then progress as though it is lacquered.

Step 3 – Restoring the Copper Fire Pit

Start by putting a few drops of the detergent on to a clean rag, and rub it together to distribute it evenly. Wipe down the inside of the copper fire pit with the towel, working in a circular manner.

If you want to be completely green, you can use household items to make a cleaning solution. Cut a lemon in half and use it to wipe down the inside of the copper fire pit. Sprinkle it with salt. The chemical reaction between the two will cause stains and caked on soot to be removed. Rinse the fire pit with clean water, and then wipe it dry with a clean towel. Use a chamois towel to buff the copper by moving it in a circle.