How to Clean Copper

Cleaning your copper with a good polish transforms the average look to something amazing.

Whilst the patina may add nostalgia to vintage items, a polished copper piece is a show stopper.

Sterling Electro Plating always recommends that you take your treasured copper item for a professional polish and lacquer.  This preserves the item and with lacquer prevents tarnishing for many years. Home made solutions and shop bought cleaners can often do more harm then good.

If you are going to do it yourself, then how you clean your copper may depend on its size, if you prefer shop bought cleaners or homemade solutions, whether your copper is lacquered and how often you are prepared to clean it.

Cleaning Lacquered Copper

If your copper has a shiny finish, it’s probably been lacquered.

This anti tarnish coat should be cleaned gently to avoid harm. Simply wipe it down with a cloth that’s been soaked in water and a mild detergent and pat dry. If your lacquered copper piece is shiny in places and tarnished in others, it is likely that the lacquer is compromised. You can then choose to either use chemicals to strip the lacquer off and polish, or take your copper to a metal finisher such as Sterling Electro Plating, to get it polished and lacquered professionally.

How to clean copper

Cleaning Large Copper Items

Find a sink or large vessel that is big enough to fit your copper item.

Make up a solution using the following guide for ratios: one cup of vinegar, a tablespoon of salt to three cups water and soak your copper item. If the tarnish does not fall away then try heating or even boiling the water.

Removing Tough Stains on Copper

Try making a paste from vinegar and salt and coating tough stains before rubbing with a cloth.

Alternatively mixing lemon juice and salt will also create an effective paste. There are a number of copper metal cleaners on the market that will achieve great results.

Buff and Dry your Copper

Drying your copper properly is very important as any acid, abrasive or water left on your copper item will leave water marks and splotches. Buffing is the final stage to bring up the shine.

Keeping Copper Shiny without the Work

If your copper item is not lacquered it can only be a few months before you have to repeat the cleaning process all over again.

This tedious process can take away the enjoyment of owning copper. Copper that is not well cared for can end up corroding and pitting. To maintain the value of your copper, prevent deterioration and maintain a long-lasting shine consider a professional polish and lacquer.

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