To protect pots, pans, and other products from tarnishing too quickly, manufacturers often line them with copper. But even this extra layer cannot prevent the metal from tarnishing at some point. By the way, pans, saucepans and other copper dishes should never be put in the dishwasher. High temperatures and strong detergents cause the metal to tarnish and become darker. The best way to clean your copper pots and pans is with household products you might already have on hand.
How to clean copper
When you first purchase copper cookware, it starts off super shiny, but with time, it gradually disappears as the copper starts to tarnish. If you want your copper to get its shine back, follow our tips on how to clean copper – it’s simple.
Can you clean copper in the dishwasher? Absolutely not!
Cleaning copper without damaging it
For many copper pots and pans, only the outer walls are made of copper, while the inside is often made of stainless steel or enamel. You can’t prevent copper from tarnishing, which happens when the metal comes into contact with oxygen or water. It’s not enough to simply clean your copper pots and pans with a dishwashing detergent and warm water and let them dry – the copper will still look tarnished. However, by using various household products, your copper dishes will regain their glossy finish. Scratches, on the other hand, remain forever. When cleaning copper cups, copper bottles, and other copper objects by hand, make sure you do not use the hard side of the sponge, steel wool, or scouring agents.
Cleaning copper – first things first
Whether you want to clean a greasy copper pan or a copper pot full of burnt-on pasta, do it first by hand with hot water, dishwashing liquid, and a soft dishwashing sponge or brush. Soften stubborn stains by simply soaking the objects in lukewarm water with a little dishwashing detergent for a while. The food particles often disappear by themselves and then you can simply wipe them away with a kitchen towel. To clean copper thoroughly so that it shines like the first day you bought it, you have several options.
Cleaning copper with household products
You don’t need special cleaners to clean your copper pots, copper pans, and other copper items. However, if you do decide to use them, make sure you follow the instructions properly. Also make sure you stay safe and wear rubber gloves, as you would for other household cleaning tasks since verdigris is harmful to health. It’s also possible to clean copper well without necessarily purchasing new products. Just try the following household products:
- Vinegar and salt
Classic household items can also be used to clean your copper pots. Mix white vinegar with a tablespoon of salt and mix well. Then add warm water to the mix with a ratio of 1:6, for example, 5 fl. oz. of vinegar and 30 fl. oz. of water. Dip a soft, non-scratching cloth into the solution, wring it out well, and rub your copper cookware thoroughly with it. Leave it to work for about 30 minutes and then rinse the solution off with warm water.
To clean embellished copper, you will be better off with a paste so that you can get into all the nooks and crannies. Mix salt with some vinegar and brush the paste over the decorations with a soft toothbrush. Alternatively, you can submerge the copper object into the vinegar water and salt solution – you will achieve the best effect if you bring the whole thing to the boil for a few minutes.
After rinsing, polish your copper object with a dry cloth and it will shine like new!
Do you want to clean your copper because some dark spots have formed on it? Then try pure buttermilk! If you add a little salt, you can thicken the buttermilk, which will make cleaning a lot easier. Rub the buttermilk into your copperware, wait about ten minutes, and then polish it with a soft cloth without rinsing first. That’s all you have to do – and with a bit of luck the dark spots will be history. If verdigris has already formed, mix equal parts buttermilk and salt, apply the paste, and leave it to work for a good hour. Then wipe dry and polish.
- Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is the worst when it comes to stains, but did you know that it can be used for cleaning copper pots and other copper objects. Completely coat your pot, pan, or whatever you want to clean with tomato sauce. Leave to soak in for a little, then rinse the object thoroughly with water and polish dry. Tomato purée is even more effective so give it a try if you have some in the house.
- Lemon juice
Has verdigris already formed on the copper? That will come off easily with some lemon. Half a lemon is ideal for this even if it’s already been squeezed. Sprinkle some salt on it and rub it on the copper. This method means that bigger objects such as pots and pans can be cleaned in no time. Finish off by rinsing with warm water, rub dry, and polish.
- Baking soda or baking powder
Baking soda and baking powder can also be used to clean copper objects well. Of course, it is not enough to simply sprinkle the powder on your pot or pan. You will need to make a paste by adding a dash of lemon (vinegar works too) and some water. When applied to your copper pot, it will start foaming – this will dissolve discoloration, dirt, and verdigris. After cleaning, rinse the copper pot thoroughly with warm water, wipe it dry with a soft cloth, and polish it.