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Isn’t it the worst when your beautiful copper utensils or jewelry lose their shine? How awful and frustrating is the tarnish? And what’s worse is the effort it takes in getting rid of it to restore your things’ charm.
To save you a lot of time (and stress) here’s your mini Bible to keep your copper classy. These hacks are time-saving and cost-efficient and let’s just say you’ll thank me later!
The Best Ways to Clean Copper Naturally
As vinegar as this hack sounds (pun intended), it’s actually the most effective and the most simple.
Start with mixing vinegar and salt on the surface of your blackened copper. Give the article a good scrub lightly and then rinse it thoroughly with water.
Here’s something else you can do-turn up the heat. Boil 3 cups of water in a pan and add the salt and vinegar into it. Put your copper article in the pan and let it boil until the tarnish disappears. When it cools down, give it a wash with soap and water. Don’t forget to dry your copper post-cleaning because residual water will leave marks. If you’re feeling fancy, buff the copper with a napkin once you’re done or use beeswax.
A more gooey fix is vinegar, salt and flour paste. Mix the three to make a thick paste and rub it on the copper surface. You know what’s next: Rinse and dry. This trio will definitely cure your copper!
Hail Citrus! The number of stuff lemons solves always amazes me. And we have lemons to the rescue again.
Chop a lemon or lime in half and gently rub it all over your dull copper. Feel free to add salt on the lemon before your copper gets a massage. Wash off the citrus with water, dry and polish your now-new copper with a napkin.
Pastes also work wonders when it comes to getting rid of grime or tarnishes. Squeeze the juice from one lemon and add salt. You can also use baking soda and salt in equal measures. Take a cloth and scrub the paste over the copper. Rinse off using warm water and you’re done!
What?! There’s no way ketchup can beautify your copper…
The acid in ketchup is what works for us and makes the tarnish disappear.
A tad messy but efficient, this method also works wonders. You start by opening your refrigerator and taking out your ketchup bottle. Apply it on your copper in a light layer and let it rest for a while. Gently wipe off the layer and rinse the object. Dry it off with a napkin.
Here are a few extra pointers you might want to keep in mind:
- Check if your copper is lacquered or coated (does it have a shiny protective covering?). If yes, you only need to wipe off the copper with a wet cloth and soap. Dry off the copper later.
- If your shiny layer has come off in places, take it off entirely before you start.
- Be gentle. Don’t channel your frustration on the poor metal because it will spoil. Treat your copper like a pet.
- Use harsh ingredients like baking soda in severe cases.
- Get clever and use a toothbrush in places that are hard to reach while cleaning.
- You can also use metal polishes like Barkeeper’s Friend but the downside is that they may damage the surface of your delicate copper. But there’s no need to worry because we have a way out! Just dilute the cleaner in water and use it.
- ALWAYS RINSE AND DRY.
Prevention and Care for Copper
Or as I like to call it, damage control. You won’t have to use any of the methods given above if you take care of your copper in the first place and don’t let it tarnish. Lacquer your copper. Coat it. There are many products available (like ProtectaClear) that are easy to use. Follow the instructions on the can and let the spray dry properly. Avoid touching the object with naked fingers. The only rule to save your copper is- no air!
You may also want to avoid washing your copper utensils with a strong cleaner that contains bleach.
How Often Should You Clean and Polish Copper?
Once you clean copper, it comes into contact with air which is the devil and causes tarnishing. If you apply a sealant immediately post washing, your copper won’t tarnish as quickly. So you won’t have to clean it as often.
Make sure you polish your copper after each clean-up to make it pretty as well as safe!
These methods should hardly take more than 30 minutes and give instant results. Follow the pointers given above carefully. In a nutshell: be gentle and rinse and dry. You now know all the basics and are (hopefully) a pro at copper keeping! So go buy that lemon or ketchup or vinegar and get cleaning and buffing!