The Easy Way To Clean And Polish Copper

2 Materials
15 Minutes

I love adding copper to our fall decor. It adds a fun pop of shine and the color is perfect for the season. When I was at the thrift store a few weeks ago, I found some amazing copper pieces to add to my new wood tray for our coffee table. The only problem was that the copper pieces had lost their shimmer and shine. I still liked them but I needed to bring their luster back and I found the easiest way to do
the easy way to clean and polish copper
Lemon and salt. Kitchen staples were the easiest method I found for reviving the copper. I tried so many different ways with the salt and lemon, but in the end, I had the best results in using the two in a certain way.
the easy way to clean and polish copper
I made a paste. I then put it on the copper pieces directly. Then, I used the lemon to rub the paste onto the copper.
the easy way to clean and polish copper
I let it sit for a bit and then rinsed it with water. I thoroughly dried the pieces. Lastly, they were ready to be styled in the wood tray.
the easy way to clean and polish copper
To see more details about this method, check out my blog post:

Suggested materials:

  • Lemon  (grocery store)
  • Salt  (grocery store)
Lindsay Eidahl

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Cel15885537
    on Sep 14, 2017

    I would love to hear from any one who has non stick pans, and how to clean the out side of the pan. Nothing works.

    • Joan Alexander
      on Nov 4, 2017

      It’s the best & cheap. I have a set of copper cookwear and have used Bar Keepers for years.

  • Sha12676980
    on Sep 25, 2017

    ive hears baking soda and vinegar works to is this true?

    • Nancy Nichols Smith
      on Oct 8, 2017

      When you add baking soda to vinegar you are making CO2 bubbles and sodium acetate salt. Better to smash some regular non-buffered aspirin into a paste, paint it on, let it sit for a few minutes until nearly dry, then wash off in warm water, shine with a dry towel. Works on my copper bracelets, copper tea kettle, and copper tray.

  • Connie Wilkie
    on Oct 8, 2017

    Will this work on copper bottom pans

    • Kathleen Nash
      on Oct 29, 2017

      Yes, it works great. You can use bottled lemon juice, it's easier. Just dump a good amount of salt on the bottom of your pan, pour a little lemon juice on top, and you can see it working before you even start wiping/scrubbing. Barkeeper's Friend scouring powder, which you can find in the household cleaning section of most stores also does a great job. Shiny pots are happy pots! :)

Join the conversation

3 of 10 comments
  • Trudy
    on Oct 3, 2017

    I cleaned a very tarnished headboard with ketchup, it takes less "elbow grease" than salt and a lemon. But it didn't leave it polished, Brasso took care of that part.

    • Elaine
      on Oct 8, 2017

      Yes, Trudy, this is what I’m saying in the Question/Answer section above ... somehow, the item lacks the deep glow that comes from using the proper cleaner. Now that said, toothpaste worked great on a silver jug I had. I tried the baking soda/foil method a few times (on silverplate) and found the color of the silver lacked the glow that comes from using the proper cleaner. Same thing with brass. Brasso gives a beautiful deep glow to the finished piece. I have tried ketchup MANY times on my copper items and have no luck at all! I’ll try the lemon and salt method today just as an experiment.

  • Trudy
    on Oct 8, 2017

    I use your lemon and salt technique on copper bottom pans or something else that can sit in a sink. The ketchup clung to the headboard, but you have to let it sit for awhile.

Your comment...