What if I told you that you could polish up that tarnished copper and have it looking beautifully shiny once again–without chemicals? There are some effective commercial copper cleaners you can buy, but the downside is that they usually contain harsh chemicals. These harsh chemicals smell bad and can even burn your skin. So let’s clean copper without chemicals. I’ll show you how!
Clean Copper Without Chemicals
The cleaning methods below are for copper that is unfinished. Unfinished copper is copper that does not have a lacquered finish to protect it. The lacquer keeps the copper looking brilliant for a long time, so unless the lacquer has been damaged, your lacquered copper doesn’t even need cleaning beyond a soap and water wash.
For unfinished copper, try these methods to clean it without chemicals. Depending on the amount of tarnish on your copper pieces, you may need to repeat methods until it really shines.
What You’ll Need To Clean Copper Without Chemicals
Start by mixing equal parts white vinegar and plain table salt into a thick paste. Apply this paste to tarnished copper using a clean microfiber cloth. Let the paste sit on the tarnished areas to penetrate. Then buff it away with the cloth and polish to a shine.
If method #1 doesn’t remove all the tarnish, proceed to this method. Cut the lemon in half. Dip one half in salt, and use the salted side to rub the tarnished areas and loosen the dirt. If you’re worried about scratching more delicate copper finishes, squeeze the lemon and mix the juice with salt to form a thick paste. Apply the lemon juice paste to the dirty copper with a soft cloth. Rub the copper in circular motions, until the tarnish is removed.
Sometimes a little extra power is needed to shine up really dirty copper. In a large pot, combine 3 cups hot water, 1 cup white vinegar and 1 tablespoon table salt. Add your tarnished copper pieces to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil with the copper inside. Allow the water to simmer while you watch the copper for signs of the tarnish falling off. Once you see the tarnish falling away from your copper pieces, turn the heat off and let everything sit until it cools down. Remove the copper from the water and scrub it using one of the first two methods until it shines.
After you clean copper without chemicals, it’s extremely important to use a new clean microfiber cloth to buff the surface and remove all traces of water, lemon and salt from the surface. Once that’s done, you can safely store it in a tarnish-proof bag. Or display it proudly and enjoy that shine!
Resource: Real Simple