By: Mrs. Phipps
Image by Kate Dugas Copper is a popular metal used in a variety of things, including jewelry. While it is considered a soft metal, tarnishing more than silver from a blackish color to eventually green, copper is actually quite easy to care for and clean. So if you have some copper jewelry, you’ll want to know more about its overall care, including some tips for copper jewelry cleaning.
Copper Jewelry Care
Caring for copper jewelry properly can extend the life of its shine. One way to help ensure the longevity of your copper jewelry is to keep it away from moisture as much as possible, as this will actually accelerate the tarnishing process.
Proper storage is another aspect of its care. Wipe it with a soft clean prior to storing to remove any oils from contact with your skin. Keep it out of direct sunlight or air. Storing copper jewelry (separately) in an appropriate jewelry case with anti-tarnish paper or a re-sealable plastic bag will generally lessen the likelihood of tarnishing. However, there is no way to completely eradicate tarnish; and although it will not harm the jewelry, you will inevitably have to clean it at some point. Don’t be alarmed by this, as it is easy to clean copper jewelry and restore its original shine when this occurs.
How to Clean Copper Jewelry
Cleaning copper jewelry is actually quite simple. There are a number of copper jewelry cleaning methods you can try to get your jewelry shining again. Some methods work better than others so you may want to find the one that works best for you.
- Commercial jewelry cleaners – The use of cleaning products that are specifically designed for polishing jewelry is quite popular, but may be expensive. Since there are many types available, you’ll want to be sure that the one you choose is appropriate for copper. For instance, Nevr-Dull polish cleans all types of metal, including copper. Something of this nature may provide more for your buck, especially if you own other types of jewelry (and most people do). Another aspect to consider with commercial polishes (and even homemade ones) is the gemstones that may be part of your copper jewelry. Care must be taken to ensure that these too are not affected by the product.
- Baking soda – While many people frown upon the use of baking soda on copper jewelry due to its abrasiveness, this method hasn’t failed me yet and works wells for many types of jewelry. Mix a small amount of baking soda with just enough water to form a paste. Dip your jewelry into the paste, lightly go over it with an old, soft toothbrush, and then rinse clean. Dry the jewelry with a soft, cotton cloth and it’s good as new.
- Lemon juice – A solution of lemon juice (just a few drops), a teaspoon of salt, and some water is sometimes used to clean copper too. Allow the jewelry item to soak for a few minutes in the solution and then rinse clean. Repeat as need and dry with cloth. Alternatively, some people choose to soak their copper jewelry in straight white vinegar instead.
- Tomato acid – This is found in many commonly used kitchen products, like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. While it may be somewhat messy, both of these products are great for shining dull copper jewelry. However, only use this method for items having no precious stones, which could get damaged. Simply use an old toothbrush to apply the product and lightly scrub clean. Rinse and then wipe gently with soft cloth.