By Mrs. Mathis
Image by Kirsten Skiles
If you ever soaked your old pennies in vinegar to shine them when you were a child, you already know a little about how to clean copper, However, cleaning copper pots and pans or statuary can be a bit more complicated. For instance, cleaning tarnished copper items that have a lacquered finish is very different than working with non-lacquered pieces. So, before you jump into a major copper cleaning project, or even just a little copper tarnish removal, read on for some handy information and tips.
How to Clean Copper That Has a Lacquered Finish
Before cleaning copper anything, you must determine if its finish is lacquered or non-lacquered. If the piece is shiny or can become dirty without tarnishing, it has a lacquered coating protecting it and should only be cleaned with a little warm soapy water. Wash it very gently with a soft cloth and then rinse it well. Dry and polish it with a clean cloth and you’re done.
Regular Copper Cleaning
When cleaning a copper item that is not lacquered or tarnished, simply wipe it well with a soft, damp cloth and buff it dry. If it is very dirty, you can wash it in a sink with some mild dish detergent. Rinse the item well and dry it until it shines. If you like, you can buff the dry item with a soft cloth to remove any fingerprints or streaks.
Cleaning Tarnished Copper
The good news about cleaning tarnished copper is that you can use all-natural products that you probably already have in your kitchen. Simply cut a lemon in half and dip the cut surface in either kosher salt (for heavy pieces) or table salt (for more delicate, dainty pieces). Then rub the lemon over the piece in small, overlapping circles until the item shines.
Next, rinse the item well and polish it dry with a clean, soft cloth.