Copper is a relatively soft metal that loses its attractive luster over time. Unfortunately, it is impossible to overcome the natural processes of oxidation. 

Copper Utensils
Copper Utensils | Image Credit – Pixabay

But it is possible to provide copper products with favorable operating conditions and timely cleaning. And then they will gain their original brilliance and serve their owners for many years.

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Copper Utensils need to be Cleaned Regularly

Copper utensils, which our distant ancestors began to use, are still highly esteemed by many housewives. Such popularity of copper is explained by the fact that in dishes made of copper, characterized by high thermal conductivity, all cooked products are heated evenly and in total, and such heating occurs in a short period. 

Meanwhile, with constant use, dishes made of this metal quickly lose their external attractiveness: they become covered with an oxide coating, fade, darken and lose their original luster.

If you do not clean it, it will release toxic substances, so it will not be possible to use it for cooking. If it is impossible to clean such dishes by all known means, it is better not to use them for their intended purpose, not harming your health. 

It would be best to discard that dishes with black or green oxide stains on the surface look unpresentable, so they will not decorate your kitchen.

Natural Ways to clean copper Utensils

Before using various copper cleaning methods, wash the item in warm soapy water or dishwashing liquid. It will help remove minor dirt and dust and add shine. If, after the procedure, the surface remains unchanged, proceed with cleaning in one of the ways convenient for you.

1. Ketchup

Ketchup | Image Credit – Flickr

This unexpected solution has proven itself in cleaning copper products from black deposits. Apply a large amount of ketchup or tomato paste to the metal. Leave for an hour and wipe with a cotton cloth. The fruit acids in tomatoes will get rid of plaque and restore brightness to the metal.

2. Tamarind Paste

Tamarind Paste
Tamarind Paste | Image Credit – Pixabay

Tamarind fruit paste is acidic. It reacts with copper to remove any tarnish and restore shine. Rinse the material’s surface and rub it with the tamarind pulp until it regains its shine.

3. Salt and Lemon

Salt and Lemon
Salt and Lemon | Image Credit – Flickr

Squeeze out the juice of one lemon. Add salt until a mushy mass is obtained. Using a cloth or toothbrush, clean the surface of the copper from contaminants.

4. Only Lemon

Lemon | Image Credit – Pixabay

This cleaning method is used if it is necessary to clean a large copper product that cannot be placed in any container. The surface of such an object is wiped with half a lemon. To increase the effect of lemon juice on copper, you can clean it with a brush with bristles that have sufficient elasticity.

5. Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar
Cream of Tartar | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

This method of cleaning copper is moderately aggressive. It should only be used for stubborn or difficult stains, as the abrasive action of the cream of tartar can scratch the material.

Mix the lemon juice and cream of tartar to make a paste that is thin enough to spread quickly on the copper surface but thick enough to stick to it. Apply and let sit for about 5 minutes. Finally, wash the copper with soap and water, rinse and dry.

6. Baking Soda

Baking Soda
Baking Soda | Image Credit – Pixabay

To get rid of stubborn and more rigid stains on your copper objects, you can also use baking soda that is always present in your house cleaning. It is even more effective with white vinegar. 

Make a paste by mixing the two substances in a bowl, let it work, and apply it with a soft clean cloth to washing surfaces. After drying your items, you’ll find they shine like always.

7. Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil fills microscopic cracks in the metal. Thanks to this, the product looks more even, acquiring a natural shine.

8. Vinegar Dough

Vinegar Dough
Vinegar Dough | Image Credit – Pixabay

A tool such as “vinegar dough” helps give copper its former shine. Wheat flour and vinegar are mixed in equal proportions in a particular container, making the resulting mass homogeneous. 

Then apply the dough to an object made of copper and keep it until completely dry. Carefully remove the crust formed after the dried mixture and polish the copper surface to a shine with a piece of a soft cloth.

9. Vinegar and Salt

The main tip to do a good cleaning on copper surfaces is to prepare a mixture of salt and vinegar in the same proportions. This combination is disinfectant and returns the shine to the metal very efficiently.

To prepare, put two tablespoons of salt in a container and then gradually add the vinegar – stirring with a spoon until it forms a consistent paste. Then, pass a flannel, cloth, or towel in the paste and apply directly to the copper piece, rubbing with circular movements. Try to focus better on the more smudged spots.

You can also use an old toothbrush to scrub the darker, duller parts of the material. If necessary, remember to make a little more of the paste, and always use soft brushes or flannels to clean.

If the inside of a copper pan is stained, you can put some water, vinegar, and salt to boil. Then, turn off the heat and leave this solution for another 30 minutes. 

If necessary, use a brush or steel wool to punctually scrub the dirtiest spots on the pan. You can also leave copper forks, spoons, and knives in the pan during this process so that they are clean at the end.

10. Water and Detergent

Water and Detergent
Water and Detergent | Image Credit – Pixabay

After using the salt and vinegar paste, the ideal is to wash the copper item generally with water and neutral detergent – which mainly applies to kitchen utensils such as pans, cutlery, kettles, and mugs, and so on. In the case of doorknobs and faucets, you can pass a damp cloth to remove the products.

11. Black Soap

Black Soap
Black Soap | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

Black soap is a very effective natural product for all types of surfaces, and it turns out to be an excellent cleaning product for copper as well. To use it, fill a basin with warm water and dilute four tablespoons of black liquid soap. 

Dip your pans in this mixture and leave for ten minutes. Wipe them with a clean cloth and enjoy the result. It is an ecological maintenance gesture that will prolong your life.

12. Simple soap

If you don’t have black soap or detergent at home, be aware that a simple classic soap can also clean copper. Dilute a little in water, rub the copper, rinse, then dry.

13. Newspaper

Newspapers | Image Credit – Pixabay

You can also polish copper with newspaper. Make a ball out of some crumpled-up sheets of newspaper and rub it to shine.

14. Toothpaste

Toothpaste | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

Toothpaste works for you, and it can also breathe new life into copper utensils. It works best to make sure any hardened residue has been removed. Here’s how you can clean your utensil with toothpaste:

  • Make sure the hardened residue is removed
  • Apply a small amount of any toothpaste to the utensil
  • Scrub the utensil
  • Rinse with warm water

15. Coca Cola

Coca Cola
Coca Cola | Image Credit – Flickr

Even Coca-Cola can help you polish your copper utensils. Like several polishes and kitchen products, it contains a certain degree of acidity so that it can dissolve the oxidation layer on copper. To clean the pot with cola, do the following: 

  • Dip the utensil you want to clean in enough liquid to cover the copper edges.
  • Leave on for 3-4 hours
  • Rinse with warm water

16. Beer

It is a surprising trick but one that can work wonders. It is perfect for small items such as coins or medals and other small copper parts. You have to pour some beer into a glass and then place the item in question inside. Leave them for a few minutes, and then wipe down well with a dry cloth to remove dirt and give it a little shine.

17. Onion

Onion | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

A natural remedy to clean copper that is not used much is to rub a raw onion on the object’s surface. After finishing the operation, wash the object with water and dry well.

18. Olive Oil and Gypsum Powder

Olive Oil and Gypsum Powder
Olive Oil and Gypsum Powder | Image Credit – Rawpixel

The ubiquitous gypsum powder mixed with olive oil allows you to obtain a miraculous cream for cleaning copper. Rubbing with a soft cloth and rinsing thoroughly under running water, you will have irresistible surfaces for brilliance and vigor after careful drying.

19. Ash

Ash | Image Credit – Flickr

Wood ash is a very gentle home remedy for cleaning your copper—it doesn’t contain any acid or hard grains that could scratch your copper. Rub the wood ash onto the dirty copper with a soft cloth until it shines again. You don’t even have to polish your copper afterward with this method.

20. Sorrel

If your copper decorative items look gloomy, you can easily give them a facelift by using fresh sorrel leaves. You have to rub them on the utensils, then clean them with a soft cloth. 

21. Sunbathe

Incredible but true: if you want to make your copper objects even more sparkling than they already are, sunbathe them. It is sure to revive their shine!

22. Cabbage Leaf

Cabbage Leaf
Cabbage Leaf | Image Credit – Flickr

Cabbage is ideal for effectively shining copper and all kinds of metals. Take a green leaf and rub your objects gently. 

Prevention of Copper Utensils from Tarnishing

To prevent copper from tarnishing, it is necessary to eliminate the circumstances that cause it to tarnish:

  1. Exposure to air makes it darker, but this is a prolonged process. On the other hand, controlling the rest of the factors is essential to avoid unnecessary tarnishing. Therefore, keep your copper objects dry and store them in a place with no moisture. After washing the copper, do not let them dry on its own.
  1. If you reside in an elevated humid area, you can place small copper items in plastic bags and a silica gel packet.
  1. Clean copper, dry and polish it after use or handling, and do not put it in the dishwasher under any circumstances.
  1. If you have a copper container to store water, keep it in a dry place when it doesn’t contain water.
  1. You can coat your copper item by rubbing it with a light coating of baby oil, mineral oil, olive oil, or even a thin layer of beeswax.
  1. For copper jewelry, you can also cover it with clear nail polish or purchase a copper lacquer to spray on.


Whichever method you choose to use, you must know that it can work in an all-natural way and that you can ideally avoid products that can harm your utensils and your health.

Whether you want to cultivate the rustic look or maintain the shine, the right tools are essential to ensure a longer life for your kitchen appliances. So feel free to try out all the means we propose and choose your preferred method.

(Last Updated on June 1, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Ankur Pradhan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles.