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!

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.

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.

I almost could NOT believe the difference!

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 @ The How to Home

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


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  • Cindy Stevens
    on Sep 15, 2019

    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

  • Louise
    on Nov 12, 2019

    Wow.... Grate tip...An tub looks cool..The history is fab! Thanks for shareing :)

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