March 11, 2022
Learn how to clean copper naturally to restore its vibrant, warm glow.
Cleaning copper requires special attention. This metal oxidizes easily, causing a dull tarnish that may end in ruin if left untreated. However, removing tarnish from copper is possible with a few tips and tricks.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word copper? Most people would say pennies, but the American penny is minted almost entirely from zinc with only a copper plating.
Real copper is prevalent, though, in jewelry, kitchenware, household fixtures, and much more. It has a natural glow, giving off a warm, shiny, soft-colored appearance. That is until it tarnishes.
Tarnishing is a natural process that happens due to oxidation. Copper reacts slowly to oxygen and moisture in the air, resulting in copper oxide. Once oxidized, copper looks dark brown, black, or slightly green.
There are many products out there, full of chemicals, that claim to remove tarnish from copper. And while they are helpful, you can remove copper tarnish naturally.
The best part? You can clean copper items and fixtures with a few common products you probably already have in your home.
P.S. Read our whole-home cleaning checklist to learn tips for cleaning your home from top to bottom.
Grab a bowl and mix one tablespoon of salt with one cup of white vinegar. Take a soft cloth, dip it into the mixture, and then rub the copper down.
You can also immerse copper into a pot with the salt and vinegar mixture, letting it soak for a second before rinsing and drying it off with a cloth.
Ketchup is great on French fries- and copper! The tomatoes in ketchup contain an acid that helps to clean off tarnish from copper, and the ketchup itself has salt.
Rub a thin layer of ketchup over the copper. You don’t have to use a lot to see results. Let it sit for as long as possible (perhaps overnight) before rinsing and drying.
Cleaning copper with lemon juice is a good option for restoring pots and pans and less fragile copper items. Take a whole lemon and cut it in half. Then, add salt to the cut side and rub it along the copper. You can also create a paste using lemon juice and baking soda or lemon juice and salt.
Combine the juice from one lemon with a tablespoon or two of baking soda or salt for either paste. Rub the paste over the copper and let it sit for a while. Rinse with warm water and polish with a clean cloth.
Baking soda is a universal household cleaner that never fails to impress us. Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp cloth and scrub the tarnished copper. The tarnish should start to come off.
Polish the copper with a clean, soft cloth to give it a nice buffer.
P.S. Baking soda is also an excellent natural cleaner for removing soap scum or mold.
Yes, we’re talking about the famous Coca-Cola that’s become a favorite beverage across the world. But it’s more than just a tasty soda; Coke can clean copper, too, thanks to its high acidity.
While we might be a bit hesitant about soaking jewelry in Coke, it’s excellent for kitchenware. Grab your lackluster copper pans and soak them in the fizzy soda for as long as possible. The acid in the Coke will make copper look shiny and warm- no scrubbing involved!
The best way to prevent copper jewelry from tarnishing is to keep oils and water away from it. Try to minimize contact with your fingers, as the oils will rub off and cause discoloration. You can apply a clear copper protector to your jewelry to shield it.
For pots and pans, avoid abrasive steel pool pads and cleaners. Do not wash copper in a dishwasher, and always dry it off immediately.
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