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Cleaning and Polishing Copper

Category Metal
Copper cookware and decorative items add beauty and functionality to your home and kitchen. Don't let the potential of tarnish discourage you. This is a guide about cleaning and polishing copper.


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 1 found this helpful
July 11, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how natural ingredients we have around the house could be performing the same tasks as store-bought chemicals, but without the harsh ingredients and toxins. This is quick, easy and works fantastically. Enjoy! :)


I almost forgot to mention that this is very inexpensive, too!

Total Time: A few minutes

Yield: Around 1 cup

Source: From a book called Homemade


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Add all of your ingredients to a bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. See how my table looked before?
  4. Ad

  5. This is the process: Simply rub the mixture all over your surface with a soft cloth.
  6. Rinse well with water and dry well. All done!
  7. Ad

Comment Was this helpful? 1

May 1, 20050 found this helpful

Copper is valued for strength, malleability, ductility, and ability to conduct electricity and heat. It is also non-magnetic, resists wear, and forms a green patina which makes it resistant to corrosion.

Copper is used to coat bottoms of steel pans to improve heat conduction, for decorative items, and in a few other cookware applications. It is also used for electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, and many uses in appliances.


This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus.

Source: MSU Extension

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July 13, 20040 found this helpful

To polish up copper pots and statues I use lemon and salt. Take the lemon (cut in half) and sprinkle salt on to it. Scrub the bottoms of your pans and they will be like new afterwards. I like mine so much that I keep them hanging in my kitchen for easy grabbing and also a decorative touch. This works on any copper.

By Cindy and Lisa

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
May 13, 2011

I inherited a small copper "tub" that was stored in a barn. It has turned completely black. What is the best way to restore it's copper finish? Also, once it's cleaned, is there anything that can be put on the surface to keep the copper from getting dull?

By Lois from Midwest


May 14, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

After cleaning with Brasso, wash with warm soapy water and rinse and Hand dry so no water spots.Then get some spray lacquer and spay finish layer and let dry.It is what stuff like brass lamps are coated with so no air on surface to tarnish it. With out air, it will not tarnish.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 16, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Tomato sauce or ketchup work also. I think there is a clear coat you can use after you have cleaned it but you cannot touch it with your fingers after you clean it or it will leave a mark even after you have clear coated it.

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March 15, 20050 found this helpful

I have a copper water jug (pitcher) and I have a hard time cleaning it to keep it shiny. I use lemon and salt to rub and clear the deposits formed by water but it takes a lot of time and I don't get the best results. Can anyone tell me any other easier and better method?

By Mann


March 15, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

I clean copper with ketchup. Rub it on and let it sit a minute. Rub it some more (with more ketchup) to make it shiny and then wash it with soap and water. Dry it immediately so it doesn't water spot. Hope this helps!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 15, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you tried a commercial polishing cloth or brasso? Not sure if they would work but you can always try it on the bottom of the pitcher as the inconspcuous spot!

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By 0 found this helpful
February 21, 2007

How do I remove built-up grease from an old copper ladle? I recently "inherited" an old copper ladle that has years of grease build up from hanging next to the stove. The copper finish appears to be ruined for the most part, so I am not trying to save that. I like the aged, weathered look, but I want to remove the old, sticky grease. What do I do?

Dayna from Plainview, Texas


February 21, 20070 found this helpful

Greased Lightening is a great product all the chefs my Mom works with (and is) swear by. I use it for icky grease.

Also, when the fan vent gets icky above my stove, I fill up a sink (enough to cover) with HOT water and some dish soap and dump a bunch of baking soda on top. Then add vinegar to the whole lot, it will bubble, I add vinegar a few times, then I let it soak still luke warm. Maybe scrub if I feel like it, then rinse with HOT water again, all better!

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 22, 20070 found this helpful

Try oven cleaner.

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February 22, 20070 found this helpful

My favorite product for removing grease build up and baked on grease is Dawn Power Disolver. You find it with the dish detergents.
You spray it on and wait as directed on label. It takes little scrubbing. A great product.

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February 22, 20070 found this helpful

Goo Gone works great on things like this. It is an orange liquid that can be bought at any Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot etc... I too had some old copper pieces given to me and wanted to display them in my kitchen. I used the Goo Gone and it all came off. You will have to squirt in on the cooper and let it sit for a few minute then wipe off. Continue the procedure until it all comes off. It really will not take that long at all. Goo Gone works great on many sticky things so it is really good to have around anyway. Good luck

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By 0 found this helpful
June 18, 2015

I just inherited a copper water bottle. I have been surfing for cleaning tips. Can someone really advise on how to keep the exterior as well as the interior clean? How often does the interior of the bottle need to be cleaned?

I am looking forward to some great suggestions.


April 15, 20160 found this helpful

Fill it with Coke and let it sit several days. The acid will eat away and clean it over time.

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December 6, 20160 found this helpful

I too have copper bottle with me, I clean it once in a week for cleaning outside of bottle I use pitambari powder and to clean inside I use tamarind juice, I pour the tamarind juice in to bottle and leave it for 2- 3 hours and then I will clean with normal water, it looks like new bottle.

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May 20, 20170 found this helpful  ch?v=vpBU1G5kw6Y
Click above link to watch how to clean copper water bottle

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By 0 found this helpful
May 26, 2017

I immersed a yellow copper bell in a solution of warm water and tartaric acid and the copper turned red. Why and what now?


May 26, 20170 found this helpful

From the

Form a paste for tougher areas: Squeeze lemon juice into a bowl and mix with salt. Apply to the lemon with a spoon and rub directly on copper. Allowing longer exposure by using a paste will help clean stained or hard-to-reach areas. Rinse and dry: Rinse the pot clean with warm water

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May 27, 20171 found this helpful

It sounds like the bell had a protective lacquer on it that gave it the yellow coloring your talking about and when u used the acid and water on it , it has just stripped away that lacquer coloring that was on the bell down to the original color of the copper. I know people use acid to clean old coins and that's basically what it does.The Original color of copper is generally a bright pink, peach. If the bell didn't have any lacquer on it then I'm betting that the yellowing color that the bell began as, that you and many antique collectors actually prefer, was caused by the copper aging over some time. When copper is exposed to air over time , copper tarnishes or oxidizes this can give it a yellow or caramel look. If you don't like the pinkish red looks of the stripped copper you can always buy a lacquer to put back on it or unfortunately over some time just naturally the bell will again become that yellow tarnished color once again.

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