How to Clean Copper Bottomed Pots

My mother used these copper-bottomed pots for year and years and gave me some when I left for college. They are pretty great pans and I love using them, but over time the bottom gets tarnished and dirty looking. Thankfully, my mother also taught me how to get them clean and bright looking again! I've since learned of two more ways to get them clean too. We'll start with my mother's method first.
Here are the pots I have. I have three of them, and yes. The bottoms are not so pretty here! Let's fix that....
First, pour regular table salt onto it!
Next, pour some regular white vinegar onto the salt.
Grab a scour pad and scrub in the vinegar into the salt and clean the pan! Be sure to get the sides too! Pour more vinegar and salt onto it as needed until it's all clean.
And here's how it compares to the two other dirty ones!! Amazing difference right?!
Another way to clean them is using Bar Keepers Friend! This time, wet the bottom of the pan with water, sprinkle the Bar Keepers Friend onto the pan, let sit for a minute, then scrub with a paper towel or scour pad, and viola! A clean-bottomed copper pan!
The last way to clean a copper bottom pot, in case you're really desperate for some reason, is to use KETCHUP!
Be sure to head to my blog to watch the videos for the vinegar and ketchup tutorials in action!

If you love these type of practical cleaning tips for everyday things, be sure to check out Speed Clean the Deep Clean: A Collection of Time-Saving Cleaning Tutorials and Tips for Busy Moms! It has 50+ cleaning tutorials and tips to help you get every area of your home looking great, including all of these ways of cleaning copper pots!
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Have a question about this project?

12 questions
  • Ssh22480665
    on Apr 13, 2017

    how do you clean the faberware pans with the stainless bottoms
    • Katelyn Fagan
      Katelyn Fagan
      on Apr 14, 2017

      I would use Bar Keepers Friend!
    • Swan Road Designs
      Swan Road Designs
      on Apr 14, 2017

      If they are truly stainless steel, you could use Easy-Off oven cleaner. You can't hurt stainless steel. Just spray some on (covering the handles if they are not stainless), then seal the pan in a plastic bag overnight. Any "gunk" should wash right off with little to no scrubbing.
    • Ssh22480665
      on Apr 14, 2017

      thanks but where would I purchase the bar keepers friend?

    • Julie Ortiz
      Julie Ortiz
      on Apr 15, 2017

      I saw in another blog that Bar Keepers Friend was purchased from Walmart.
    • Katelyn Fagan
      Katelyn Fagan
      on Apr 18, 2017

      You can get Bar Keepers Friend from Walmart or Target and often your local grocery store too. Look in the kitchen cleaning section.
    • Sue Laswell
      Sue Laswell
      on Apr 18, 2017

      I always used Cooper cleaner; it worked great!
    • Linda Shepard
      Linda Shepard
      on Apr 18, 2017

      Regarding Farberware - the bottoms of it are aluminum, so the dishwasher really does a number on them. Using SOS pads and BarKeepers Friend is the best solution I've found - other than not putting them in the dishwasher!
    • Ssh22480665
      on Apr 18, 2017

      yes they are stainless steal aluminum clad bottoms, that's what it says on the bottom of them

  • Cle21376449
    on Apr 18, 2017

    No Question, but a suggestion.....

    Keep the RevereWare pans OUT of the dishwasher. The phenolic plastic handles will stay in much better condition and will not develop the dull, dingy gray/whiteish "stains."

    Granger, Indiana
    • 9530106
      on Apr 18, 2017

      Alas, the ones my mom has had for 50+ years have never been in a dishwasher. But the handles are not the greatest looking anymore. She does still shine the bottoms, however!
    • Katelyn Fagan
      Katelyn Fagan
      on Apr 18, 2017

      Thanks! Yes! I was not happy when my husband put these in the dishwasher.... I think he's finally learned to stop putting pots and pans in the dishwasher!
  • Tilda Landrigan
    Tilda Landrigan
    on Apr 18, 2017

    My copper-bottom pans are not only unsightly; they also stain the surface of my white glass-top range. Will these treatments cause more problems?
    • Sharon
      on Apr 18, 2017

      Sprinkle on baking soda and use a dampened non scratching scouring pad . For heavily soiled spots leave on a few minutes Then scrub it clean
    • Gail
      on Apr 18, 2017

      Thanks, I have an old stove and never considered that anything could stain the new stoves with the glass tops.
    • Rjm17667944
      on Apr 18, 2017

      Ketchup works great, too.

    • Kathy
      on Apr 19, 2017

      I have same pans 35 yrs, cleaning w/ Barkeepers Helper, also on ceramic stovetops, after cooling completely, I use razor angled 45 degrees to scrape off overspill, etc. into dust & wipe away. What could be easier?
    • Julia Johnson Black
      Julia Johnson Black
      on Jun 3, 2017

      Vinegar and baking soda also works. It's also fun to use.
  • Skay
    on Apr 20, 2017

    any ideas on handles cleaning??
  • Elizabeth Helmer
    Elizabeth Helmer
    on Apr 24, 2017

    Does this work for brass too?
    • Cyndi Dimanno-Valentine
      Cyndi Dimanno-Valentine
      on May 3, 2017

      Barkeepers friend works freat on brass
    • Elizabeth Helmer
      Elizabeth Helmer
      on May 3, 2017

      Would it be okay for church brass? I don't want to scratch it! And thank you for the help!
    • Lynne Webb
      Lynne Webb
      on Jan 3, 2018

      I would test an inconspicious spot on 'church' brass but my own opinion is, Barkeepers Friend would not harm it. Use a soft cloth and rinse to remove residue. It's a fantastic product. Some dear soul recently did our Altar brass and it looks beautiful.
    • DB
      on Jan 3, 2018

      For Church Brass -- use Brasso tried and true
    • Elaine
      on Jan 3, 2018

      For cleaning Brass, I always use Brasso with great results. My Revere Wear pots and pans with copper bottoms, look great and they are now over 40 years old. I use a regular Copper Cleaner for them. I tried ketchup with no luck at all.
  • Ellen King
    Ellen King
    on May 3, 2017

    I have the same pans and if you put them in the dishwasher it will eventually take off the copper. I used mine for many, many years and then this happens in the dishwasher. Umm, makes me wonder if the finish is just a thin layer of spray on copper. What do you think? Has anyone else had this problem also?

    • Ann M
      Ann M
      on May 4, 2017

      Not at all. I've had my revere ware pans for 44 years. I put them in the dishwasher all the time. In the rinse aid part I poor vinegar. My glasses are beautiful and the brass on the bottom of the pans are always shiny.
    • AJ
      on May 8, 2017

      Ummmm -- Revere Ware pan bottoms are clad in copper, not in brass.
    • Ann dowdy
      Ann dowdy
      on May 16, 2017

      Ann M do you put the vinegar in the same place that the Jet Dry? And do you use vinegar instead of Jet Dry?
    • Ardale
      on Jan 3, 2018

      My grandmother had a whole set of Revere Ware and she always cleaned her copper bottoms with table salt and a lemon cut in half. Made them shine like a new penny!
    • Deborah S Cripple
      Deborah S Cripple
      on Jan 3, 2018

      My Revereware is over 40 years old and used all the time...still like new! I always
    • Betsy
      on Jan 21, 2018

      I wouldn't put Revere Ware, or any pots with non-metal handles, in the dishwasher. The handles will get dull and over time, break. Grab the dish soap and sponge add hot water and look out the window as you wash your pots. I always wash my dishes by hand, it's nice, and the kids stay away because they think you will try and get them to help, so this is some great quiet time. Stretch it out!!! :)
  • Barbara
    on Aug 7, 2017

    How do you polish brass?
    • Dana
      on Jan 2, 2018

      Barbara, if your using copper bottom pots, you can’t keep them clean apart from cleaning them. If your copper is not for use and only for show after you clean them put a clear coat of lacquer on the clean surface. This is the only way to keep the copper clean. Keep in mind it will wear off with handling. This is not recommend for pots.
    • Bird
      on Jan 2, 2018

    • Marian B Paschket
      Marian B Paschket
      on Jan 2, 2018

      Wrights copper cleaner works great my pans are 50 years old and always clean the insides with the same cleaner food will never stick for you.

    • Lisa
      on Jan 2, 2018

    • Jane Doe
      Jane Doe
      on Jan 16, 2018

      Red Bear

    • Jer24088705
      on Jan 21, 2018

      I clean lots of brass things I brought home from India in the 60's with salt and rub with !/2 lemon. (I have a lemon tree !) I imagine it would work for copper, too. lemon juice and vinegar are both acidic.
    • Regina Boyd
      Regina Boyd
      on Dec 25, 2018


    • Peggy Burnette
      Peggy Burnette
      on Jan 7, 2019

      They look like new. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dar27905338
    on Jan 11, 2018

    Is this mainly for copper bottomed pots?
    • Cheryl Buck
      Cheryl Buck
      on Jan 23, 2018

      Bar Keepers Friend is a great cleaning product. It can be used on many surfaces. Just make sure you rinse well, otherwise you will have a white powdery residue.
    • Dar27905338
      on Jan 24, 2018

      Thank you!
    • Tina
      on Jan 4, 2019

      I use it to clean my glass top stove and it's great and much less expensive. Any rust spots ANYWHERE!

  • Steve Bales
    Steve Bales
    on Jan 4, 2019

    Can I use this on Stainless Steel pots and pans?

  • Georgette
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Is only for copper pots or can u do any pot with that.

  • Rosemary
    on Aug 31, 2019

    will this clean grease off also?

  • Becky Eisenman
    Becky Eisenman
    on Oct 1, 2019

    Don’t really have a question just love that someone else likes to stick with the old pans. I have had mine since 1975 and they still look fantastic. Can’t say that about some of the new stuff they are making.

Join the conversation

2 of 102 comments
  • Pam Davis
    Pam Davis
    on Oct 2, 2020

    I swear by Bar keepers Friend. It cleans everything. I have stainless steel pot set and I can have them looking shiny and new no matter how bad they get 🧡

  • Joanie
    on Nov 29, 2020

    These look absolutely beautiful! So clean.........great job!!

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