Sinks, pans, and various other items found throughout your home can be made of beautiful copper. You may even pick up something cheap at a rummage sale made from copper that is just begging for you to bring it back to life.
The only problem with this kind of a metal is that over time, it tarnishes. It can turn black after being exposed to the air. A greenish-blue color occurs when it gets wet. Instead of dealing with unsightly looking cooper, you are fully capable of cleaning it up with natural cleaners found right in your home.
There are a plethora of cleaners available commercially, but they aren’t as safe, and they can be pretty costly. There are ingredients that are much more affordable, not as dangerous to have around, and readily available in most kitchens right now.
Instead of using ketchup on your French fries and hamburgers, squirt some of it over your copper surfaces. There is acid found in the tomatoes that are used to make the condiment, and that’s what works to clean off the dirty areas. Use a cloth to rub away at the problem spots until it all buffs out. Rinse and dry, and it will be just like new.
Salt & Vinegar
Pour out some vinegar into a container and dissolve some salt in it. Dip a cloth into the liquid and then rub it over the item until the mess disappears and the shine reappears. Rinse and dry before putting away or using whatever copper items you are cleaning. In the event there are hard to reach or tight spots, you can scrub at it lightly with an old toothbrush.
Baking Soda & Lemon Juice
Mix together lemon or lime juice and baking soda until you get a foamy type of consistency. It will be almost like soap. Apply the combination to the copper surfaces and buff it with a cloth. The juice has acid in it that will strip off the oxidation from the copper. The salt is abrasive and works at scrubbing away grime. Rinse and dry to complete the process.
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Flour, Salt, & Vinegar
Vinegar is also acidic, and the properties work effectively at cleaning up tarnished copper as well. Mix ¼ salt and ¼ flour. Then, add vinegar to the dry mixture until you achieve a thick paste. Apply the paste on the copper and rub gently with a soft cloth. Keep buffing until it reaches the desired level of shine. Rinse off the remnants and dry your item.
Boil the Copper
Once in a while, you can try each one of these methods, and none of them are going to work the way you hope. In the unfortunate case that you are dealing with that, you have one other option. Mix three or four cups of water, one cup of vinegar, and a tablespoon of salt in a pot big enough to hold whatever you are cleaning.
You can keep the item in the boiling water until most of the tarnishing falls away. If you pull it out and there’s still some on there, you can scrub at it to remove it. It’s going to come off a lot more easily after boiling for a while.
Keeping it Clean
Now that you’ve worked so diligently to get your copper back to its original condition, you want to make sure that it stays that way. Spread a thin layer of linseed or mineral oil over the surface. It will ensure that it doesn’t tarnish quite as quickly meaning less work for you.