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.

You can see more of my crazy cleaning and organizing hacks here

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.

Once the hour was up I rinsed it off and look how clean it was!

Boil Method - In a pot 1 cup vinegar, 1 Tablespoon salt, and add water to fill the pot so that the copper is covered.

Bring to a boil and place the copper in the mixture.

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.

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.

After it was as clean as I could get it, I rinsed it off and wiped it dry.

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.

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.

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.

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.

My favorite to the test: I was ready to do my copper strainer. I decided my favorite was the salt, vinegar, and flour mixture.

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.

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 62 questions
  • Gogo
    on Dec 16, 2019

    How to clean cast Iron skillet with grease buildup on the sides and bottom.

    • Chris J
      on Dec 20, 2019

      Gogo, you can use oven cleaner to clean your cast iron.

      To Wayne Lanford and Arnita White, please DO NOT put your cast iron through a campfire or self-cleaning oven. You run the very real risk of either cracking your cast iron or worse.

      To clean your cast iron get a can of the yellow cap Easy-Off Heavy Duty oven cleaner and a black garbage bag. Spray your cast iron all over with a thick coat of the cleaner. Put it in the garbage bag and leave it set for a minimum of 3 days. Take it out and check to see if you can easily scrape off the crud (it will be all brown colored). If you can't clean it off, clean what you can and then spray a good coat on it again and put it back in the garbage bag for another 2-3 days. Repeat this until you get it all cleaned off. Wash it with warm water and then rinse with cold water. This helps cut down on something called flash rust. Dry well and then re-season it and you are good to go.

  • Cari Cook Olson
    on Dec 17, 2019

    WIll this work on silver trays and cups?

  • Brenda Comer
    on Dec 17, 2019

    Have you used sour kraut?

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