Mary Beth
Mary Beth
  • Hometalker
  • Aliquippa, PA

The Secret Sauce for Cleaning and Polishing Copper Effortlessly

2 Materials
1 Hour

I inherited an antique copper boiler/wash tub when I was in my early 20's. It had an amazing patina but for years I wanted to polish it to see what was hidden beneath the surface. I tried so many different products but nothing worked until one day, I tried something that I thought would never work but it did, like magic!

the secret sauce for cleaning and polishing copper effortlessly

Here is a view of the copper boiler before I attempted to clean it. It's dented and well-used but I love it. It was my father's mother's and she used it to wash clothes in it. I cannot (thankfully) even imagine what that entailed. She had 8 children and washing that many clothes in a boiler???? It makes me appreciate it even more knowing that that is what this was used for.

the secret sauce for cleaning and polishing copper effortlessly

So now, for the secret sauce so to speak. Ketchup. Basic, inexpensive ketchup. When I first read the tip over a decade ago, I blew it off thinking there is no way it would work. I instead tried so many chemical concoctions but after trying and failing, I remembered ketchup and gave it a try.

the secret sauce for cleaning and polishing copper effortlessly

I almost could NOT believe the difference!

the secret sauce for cleaning and polishing copper effortlessly

And here is the gorgeous after! It still has some patina in the bottom creases but overall, I love the pink glow. Like a giant new penny. You can see the entire post including tips for the process on my blog in this post at The How-To Home. I hope to see you there!

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Mary Beth

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


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • MaggieMae
    on Aug 27, 2019

    What can I use to clean a brass lamp?

  • Linda
    2 days ago

    what can i use to clean brass?

    • Mary Beth

      You can use ketchup to clean brass as well as long as it's not brass plated. I'm not sure if the ketchup would potentially harm the plating but on pure brass, it works wonders.

Join the conversation

2 of 29 comments
  • Eileen
    on Aug 28, 2019

    **FIND** not fine!!

    Thanks so much for your reply!

    And I checked into your blog “The How-To Home”. Just perfect! Thank you !

  • Cindy Stevens
    26 minutes ago

    We had a fire the night before the Camp Fire broke out. Our house was still standing but there were a few things I really didn’t want to have to replace. I loved my small copper colander. OMGoodness! The ketchup totally worked! Thank you

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