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Copper Cleaning Hacks

4 Materials
15 Minutes

I have some copper pots and a strainer that are just plain dingy looking. I decided to try a bunch of copper cleaning hacks to see what would work best to clean it.

copper cleaning hacks
Let's start with the top 3 winners!

Salt, Vinegar, and Flour - In a bowl I mixed together 1 cup vinegar, 1 Tablespoon salt, and added flour mixing it together to make a paste. Mine was a bit runny as you can tell. I let it sit on the copper for 1 hour. You could almost see it working immediately though.
copper cleaning hacks
Once the hour was up I rinsed it off and look how clean it was!
copper cleaning hacks
Boil Method - In a pot 1 cup vinegar, 1 Tablespoon salt, and add water to fill the pot so that the copper is covered.
copper cleaning hacks
Bring to a boil and place the copper in the mixture.
copper cleaning hacks
It will depend on how much tarnish is on the copper to determine how long it will need to sit, but over all it didn't take long at all. I think mine only was in there 30 seconds or less.
copper cleaning hacks
Lemon Juice & Salt Paste - I poured about 1 Tablespoon into a bowl, added salt and mixed until I created a paste. I used a scrub pad to scoop up the mixture and made circular motions on the bottom of the pan.
copper cleaning hacks
After it was as clean as I could get it, I rinsed it off and wiped it dry.
copper cleaning hacks
Here's what didn't work...

Ketchup/Tomato Sauce - I spread ketchup on the left side and tomato sauce on the right. I let it sit for 15 minutes.
copper cleaning hacks
I rubbed at both sides after the 15 minutes, and rinsed it off. The ketchup did a little work but the tomato sauce didn't really do anything.
copper cleaning hacks
Lime - I rubbed a lime all over the copper for several minutes and it might have gotten a little lighter but overall I was not impressed.
copper cleaning hacks
Regular Toothpaste - I rubbed on regular toothpaste with a soft cloth. I rinsed it off and sadly it again showed a little change but not a lot.
copper cleaning hacks
My favorite to the test: I was ready to do my copper strainer. I decided my favorite was the salt, vinegar, and flour mixture.
copper cleaning hacks
I coated the strainer with the mixture, and you could see it working immediately. I let it sit for an hour and rinsed it off.
copper cleaning hacks
This technique made it sparkle again and it was so easy to do.

*With all of the techniques there were a few dark spots left behind. I'm not sure what those are but I could not get some of them to budge for a perfect finish.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 35 questions
  • Birdy Daniel
    on May 8, 2018

    CAn the salt/vinegar/flour mix be reused or is it a one time use only? I have many copper pieces to clean.

    • Diena Cameron
      on May 9, 2018

      Great tips Chas, I only have a small copper pot and a strainer but will definitely try your solution. Would you know how to clean brass, I have a beautiful antique brass two-tier soap dish that hangs on the edge of my claw foot bathtub but i can't seem to get it to shine. I bought Brasso but that hasn't seemed to help. Thanks again !

  • Migdia Chinea
    on Jun 30, 2018

    I have a stain on my driveway caused by someone who poured a catatonic material on it. I can’t put the plant on top because it’s a walk way. There’s no way to remove it. Something with tiles? Thanks so much.

    • Migdia Chinea
      on Jun 30, 2018

      Thanks for your response. The problem with paint is that the driveway is the length of a big historic house. The stain is acid. Painting would be a huge project that would add an additional temporary maintenance issue. I was wondering if I could do a tile design there is something. Don’t know.

  • Deborah
    on Jan 7, 2019

    does The vinegar technique worked on removing burns when you burn something in the copper pan?

    • Chas' Crazy Creations
      on Jan 7, 2019

      The first 2 techniques worked the best to remove just about everything. I would try one of them first and then follow up with the other if you still have stuff on the bottom of your pot.

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