7 super-simple suggestions for correctly cleansing copper


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One of the most commonly used metals is copper. It is malleable, has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, and is highly resistant to corrosion, to name a few of its many attributes. It is present in grandmother’s kitchens and cupboards for these reasons: in the past, copper pots were the only ones available. However, other materials were later adopted by homes.

If we live in a time of nostalgia and use copper to cook our meals, we should strive to clean it properly. French homes are filled with copper objects, whether decorative or functional, which, due to their natural tendency to rust and to greenusually end up taking on a greenish tint.

Verdigris, which forms when copper oxidizes, is both dangerous and ugly due to its many properties. Based on the advice of specialists and even our grandparents, here is how to clean copper to restore it to its former glory.


What does it mean when we talk about oxidized copper?

Copper oxide, cuprous sulfide, and copper carbonate are all examples of oxidized copper corrosion, which occurs through a well-defined chemical process. Over time, a green patina forms on the copper as a result of this process.

How often should copper vessels be cleaned?

Copper vessels should be cleaned every two to three months due to frequent use and contact with water.

What is the best way to prevent copper from deteriorating ?

When exposed to air or handled, copper eventually exhibits surface tarnish.

There are protective sprays on the market that can be applied to this ubiquitous metal to preserve its shine.


Grandma’s solutions for cleaning copper

In every conversation with a grandmother, you’ll hear her explain that to clean copper, you don’t need all those toxic chemicals trade, but onlyhot water, vinegar and lemon. Indeed, to make your own magic potion, all you need is some common pantry components.

Tip #1: With white vinegar

Due to its unique chemical composition, white vinegar can be used for a wide range of household cleaning tasks. This natural substance has the ability to disinfect and of descalemaking it ideal for clean copper that has been covered in dirt.

  1. With a sponge and coarse salt, gently rub the surface of the copper object with white vinegar until it is clean.
  2. After rinsing the object in question with hot water, immediately pat it dry with a soft towel.

Tip #2: Lemon juice for more shine

Lemon juice, on the other hand, gives copper a natural shine without the use of harsh chemicals.

In this situation, lemon juice can be used directly on the surface or soaked in a dish sponge with the soft, non-abrasive part rubbed in.

Tip #3: Warm water and lemon

You can also soak the copper object in hot water with the addition of salt water and lemon, which is a traditional grandmother’s method. Then, use a non-abrasive microfiber sponge to gently wipe the item, then air dry thoroughly to avoid staining.

Using hot water helps homogenize the mixture, making it easier to apply to copper utensils and perform the cleaning process.

Chemical solutions to make your copper objects look like new

Certainly, environmentally friendly methods of removing copper oxidation, without resorting to chemicals, are everyone’s favourite. However, some stains struggle to disappear and reveal a particularly tenacious resistance which may require the use of more “expedited” chemical solutions. Ready ? Let’s go !

Tip #4: The essential baking soda

You can use a natural and effective treatment to restore copper objects to their original glory, performing impeccable cleaning and polishing. Indeed, a simple baking soda scrub and polish can remove dirt and other impurities while making copper shiny and reflective.

Lemon juice and a few tablespoons of baking soda can also be used to make a powerful natural cleanser by simply combining them in a bowl and mixing thoroughly.

This formula is particularly ingenious and can be used to prolong the life of the varnish by dispersing it evenly over the entire surface of the object.

Tip #5: The magic of ammonia

As we mentioned earlier, chemicals can be used to remove oxidized or encrusted copper when natural therapies fail.

Indeed, to obtain the same result as Grandma’s treatment, but with less effort, you can use ammonia: soak a damp cloth in ammonia and massage it on your copper objects.

Tip #6: Marseille soap

If the fouling is old, simple rubbing with ammonia may not be enough to clean old copper indeed you will have to follow a completely different procedure which will restore your copper objects to their full splendour.

In this case, let the objects soak in hot water and Marseille soap for a few hours, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Finally, rub the surface with a cloth… and voila!

Tip #7: The Coke drink

Cola drinks can also be used as a chemical remedy, due to their acidity which can dissolve any corrosion and eradicate verdigris.

Put the object in a bowl of this drink, let it sit for half an hour, then rinse it well with hot water, dry it and put it back on the shelf!


Why can’t I polish my copper object?

Sometimes a lacquer or varnish may have been used beforehand to protect the copper, which is why you will not be able to polish it properly.

You must therefore remove any existing coating that may be present before proceeding with the polishing.

Is it possible to clean an old collector copper object without damaging it?

Except in an emergency, you should never polish or clean old copper as a collector’s investment or as a trader looking to sell an antique item.

A copper object without its original patina will lose its value if polished.

What’s the best way to keep copper looking shiny?

  1. Make a paste from fine-grained salt and vinegar.
  2. Let it dry.
  3. Rub the mixture onto the copper with a soft cloth.

By following our tips, the simplicity of which has surely stunned you, you will notice that your oxidized copper objects are now literally resurrected. If you found our tips on how to clean copper relevant and practical, please share them with your friends and family members.

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