Polish copper

Gemiddelde leestijd: 13 minuten

polish copper

Objects made of copper look very cozy in the house. Over time it can only become a bit dull and dark. Or it may even turn a little greenish. But it is quite easy to polish your copper beautifully again so that it will shine beautifully again.

In the past, people were much more likely to have copper items at home. You don’t see it very often these days. Yet many people still have beautiful objects made of copper in their homes, whether or not inherited from their parents or grandparents.

By the way, did you know that the Statue of Liberty in New York consists entirely of copper plates mounted on a skeleton? And have you ever considered that all euro coins, from cents to €2,- coins, all consist partly of copper?

Many musical instruments are also made of copper. Some old-fashioned doorknobs, mailboxes, door fittings, and doorbells are also made of copper. So all in all, we have more copper objects around us than we realize.

What causes discolored copper?

Copper is a soft and flexible material. It has a high conductivity, which is why it is widely used in industry. It is incorporated in overhead lines of railways, high voltage cables and water pipes. But also in TVs, computers, smartphones and e-readers.

It is a durable material and also has a luxurious look. That is why often decorative objects are made from it. And we are going to talk about those copper products here, because those are the objects that we have in our houses.

Copper has a reddish or yellowish color. And as long as it shines it is beautiful to see. But oxygen always contains moisture particles and those particles ensure that deposits form on copper. The outside can become dull and even turn green. The copper oxidizes, so to speak.

If you don’t do anything about it, copper can eventually become completely dark or blackish or greenish. That is of course not ugly, so if you like it then you can certainly leave it that way. After all, the Statue of Liberty has also turned completely green and there is no one who is going to polish it!

But if you prefer beautiful and shiny copper, here are a few tips for cleaning and polishing your beautiful copper items.

*Copper gloss cloth.

Polishing copper with a copper polishing cloth is very easy. You can buy the glossy cloth in the store and it comes standard in a plastic bag. You take it out of the bag and you can start polishing your copper objects immediately. With the cloth you rub firmly over the copper surface and that’s it really.

You will see that you rub off the deposit of the copper quite easily, it quickly starts to shine. And your cloth will quickly become a bit dirty from the deposits that were on the copper. You don’t really need to do more. Just polish until it shines and glitters and then enjoy your shiny copper again.

The cloth contains some copper polish, which makes it easy to scrub the copper clean. You can simply store the cloth in the plastic bag afterwards. You can reuse it many times.

*Water and vinegar.

Mix 50% warm water with 50% kitchen vinegar in a bowl or bucket. Place your copper items in it so that they are completely submerged in water. And let it soak for half an hour. Then you take an old, soft cloth and scrub your copper items in that tub.

This takes a little more muscle, but if you have patience, your copper will shine again. When you have finished brushing, you can rinse all cleaned items well under the warm tap to rinse away all leftovers of vinegar.

Dry all items very well with a clean cloth. If there are many small holes and cracks in your copper objects, let them dry for a while on a dry cloth.

stuff in kitchen

*Vinegar with salt.

You can take a cleaning cloth and moisten it with kitchen vinegar. Then dip that damp cloth in a bowl with regular table salt or coarse sea salt. If all goes well, salt will stick to your cloth. You will then polish your copper with this mixture.

When all the copper is clean, you can rinse it well under the warm tap. And then you dry everything well.

I have to warn you about this method. Salt grains are coarse and if you clean copper this way, you are actually sanding the copper slightly. Be aware of that. This can cause the copper to fade or wear faster.

*Lemon juice.

Fill a bowl with warm water and squeeze three lemons into it. You can of course also take pure lemon juice from a bottle. Mix it well. Place your copper items in that bowl for fifteen minutes and then scrub them extra clean with a cleaning cloth.

The acid of the lemon ensures that the dirt from the copper comes off and that your copper will shine again. When you’re done, rinse your stuff well under the tap. Dry it well and the job is done.


Using Ketchup to Clean Something? Hmmmm…. That’s not really obvious, but it works. To a certain extent then. You can’t clean your white t-shirt with it, but you can clean your copper items.

Take an old cloth and put some ketchup on it. Go polish your copper with it. Take a new dollop of ketchup regularly and scrub everything nice and dirty. Watch out for your clothes when you get started with this.

After scrubbing, wash all your stuff with warm water and a drop of dish soap and then rinse it under the tap so that you no longer have soap residue. Dry all your copper well and it is finished.

copper coins

*White toothpaste.

Our grandparents used to polish their copper with white toothpaste. Of course toothpaste was not as chemical then as it is today, so that couldn’t hurt. If you also want to do this with white toothpaste now, only take natural toothpaste to which no chemical agents have been added.

Put a little toothpaste on a cloth and rub it over your copper. Leave it on for fifteen minutes and then wash all your stuff in a tub of water with a drop of washing up liquid.

Then rinse everything under the warm tap and dry it well.

*Limescale remover.

Take a cleaning cloth and moisten it with warm water. Put a little bit of limescale remover on it and rub your copper clean with it. When you’re done, rinse your copper very well under the hot tap. Dry everything very well and it’s ready.

Now limescale remover is a slightly aggressive liquid because you probably know that limescale remover can dissolve lime. So use just a little bit on your copper. Do not let it soak in, but rinse it off quickly afterwards.

*Copper polish.

Copper polish is a very old remedy to make your copper shine again. Even the packaging makes you think you are living in the year 1960. It is therefore a tried and tested product that has proven its worth for many years.

Take an old cloth and put a little copper polish on it. And then go and scrub over your copper stuff. When polishing, you can see that the deposits come off the copper quite easily. Your canvas will become very dirty and black from the copper deposits, but that is also the intention.

Your copper itself also seems to get a bit of a black, transparent layer, but that is normal during polishing. Let this layer that is on your copper dry for a while. Then take another old cloth and use it to rub the dried layer of copper polish off your copper objects.

You will see that it will now shine very nicely. You don’t really need to do more.

I strongly advise you to put on those disposable gloves for this job. Because otherwise that copper polish will get into all the pores and skin folds of your hands and it will take a few days before your hands are completely clean again…

big pan

*Copper bath.

This copper bath product is very easy to use. Boil some water and put it in a bucket or tub. Put one little bag of the copper bath in the water. Place your copper items in the bucket and let it soak for a while. You will see that the tarnish will come off very easely after a few minutes.

When the tarnish is very persistent, you can let it soak for up to 24 hours. It is safe for all your copper items, also the very old ones. Do not put your grandfathers old copper watch in the water because then it won’t give you the accurate time anymore!

When your copper is clean you need to rinse your items thoroughly with cold water. Then you can dry your copper with a dry cloth.

*Polishing machine.

A polishing machine is also an option to make your copper shine again. However, such a machine is not suitable for small, delicate objects. Polishing copper with this machine is especially suitable for larger objects such as plant pots, pans and dishes.

You can’t get into small corners with a polisher, so you can’t use it for that. But it will save you a lot of time if you can polish large copper objects with a machine.

There are various polishing machines on the market. Pick one that isn’t too rugged and make sure it’s suitable for polishing delicate surfaces. Then you can enjoy it for many years to come.

Of course you can also use a polishing machine in combination with a polish such as copper polish.

Good luck with cleaning and make it shiny again!

Start to polish your copper today!

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