Cleaning A Copper Fire Pit

My lil' fire pit was an end-of-season score a few years back at none other that Target for somewhere around $50.  It came with a base, a copper basin, a screen to prevent the embers from flying out at smores-makers, a little hook for taking off the hot screen, and a plastic cover. 

Once upon a time I used to be pretty.
Who wants to roast marshmallows around this? 
Not me.
The fire pit lives outside on our patio all winter long and the color of the copper stayed pretty bright for the first couple of years since it was covered.  However, over time the flimsy cover ripped, and the elements and soot finally turned the copper black and filthy looking (not that nice green patina that I love on outdoor copper accents.)  I thought I'd try to polish it up for the summer.

Some copper is lacquered, ensuring that the copper retains it's color for many years and making it easy to clean.  This fire pit wasn't lacquered and required a little elbow grease to freshen it up.  Copper cleaner is available at Home Depot, Lowes and hardware stores, but it is expensive and toxic.

I purchased this cleaner from my grocery store; its the same brand I use to clean my sterling silver jewelry.  It was inexpensive compared to the heavy-duty copper cleaners at the hardware stores ($4.49). 

This cleaner is made for cleaning copper cookware.  I compared this product to an inexpensive and eco-friendly method, lemon and sea salt. 
When used to clean copper, the acid in the lemon acts as a solvent while the salt is a scrubbing agent.  I sliced up a lemon and used both sides, spinkling the lemon with the salt before scrubbing.
I was amazed that the lemon and salt method worked JUST AS WELL as the cream. 
Neither method made the copper basin look brand new,
but my goal was just to clean it up a bit and make it look a little nicer on our patio.
I actually like the weathered patina it has acquired. 

I also cleaned and spraypainted the screen with paint made for high heat
(such as grills and fireplace screens.)
When painting any rusty metal surface, scrub it first with a wire brush, sand it and clean with a damp cloth to remove the particles.  I used a cheap foam brush to get in all the crevices of the metal screen.

It's not a dramatic transformation but trust me,
 it looks a lot better and ready for company!

(A note about wee ones and copper fire pits - the pit gets very hot and can be dangerous for young children especially when standing around it roasting marshmallows, so beware.  :)

So what's the moral of this story?
The lemon and salt method is great for cleaning
grime and soot off your copper fire pit.

I hope this helps someone out there,
and that all of you wonderful readers of Shine Your Light
 have a terrific weekend!
Thanks for visiting me today!


Outdoor Firepit said...


Your style of blog presentation is very attractive.The meaningful contribution of your mind reflects on those people who are looking for new ideas and informations regarding fire pit. which is made little hook hot screen, and a plastic cover.

Anonymous said...

Great idea/tip about lemon and sea salt to clean a copper firepit. I have almost the same firepit as you and mine is pretty black. I will try that this week. But, I wanted to share another tip to get it to shine. Go to the plumbing section and get some flux used during soldering copper pipes. What does this do? It cleans copper! viola!

Anonymous said...

Just did this to our firepit and it worked like a charm! Thanks so much for the tip!