Maintaining and cleaning copper items is important to preserve their beauty and functionality. Here are some tips for keeping your copper in top condition:
Regular Dusting: Use a soft cloth to regularly dust off copper items to prevent buildup of grime.
Washing: Wash copperware by hand with warm water and a mild dish soap. Avoid using a dishwasher, as the harsh chemicals can damage the finish.
Abrasive Avoidance: Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers on copper, as they can scratch the surface.
Prompt Drying: After washing, immediately dry copper items with a soft cloth to prevent water spots and streaking.
Polishing: Over time, copper can tarnish and lose its luster. Use a commercial copper polish or a homemade mixture of lemon juice and baking soda to polish the copper gently. Apply the polish with a soft cloth, rinse with water, and dry thoroughly.
Natural Cleaning Solutions:
Lemon and Salt: Rub a cut lemon dipped in salt over the copper for a natural clean.
Vinegar and Salt: Create a paste with vinegar and salt, apply it to the copper, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and dry.
Ketchup: Surprisingly, ketchup is also effective for cleaning copper because of its acidity. Apply it, let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse it off.
To slow down tarnishing, apply a thin layer of mineral oil or baby oil after cleaning.
Store copper items in a cool, dry place. If you’re storing cookware, line it with a soft cloth to protect against scratches.
Handling: Always handle copper with clean hands, as oils and acids from your skin can contribute to tarnishing.
Avoiding Heat and Light: Exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures can accelerate the tarnishing process.
Food Safety: If you’re cleaning copper cookware that comes into contact with food, ensure it's lined with tin or stainless steel for safety, as copper can react with acidic foods.
Lacquered Copper: If your copper is lacquered, avoid using polishes. Instead, clean with a soft, damp cloth and dry immediately.
Patina Preservation: Some people prefer the patina that develops on copper over time. If you wish to keep this patina, limit cleaning and avoid polishing.
Remember to always test a small, inconspicuous area first before cleaning or polishing the entire piece to make sure there is no adverse reaction. If you have antique or valuable copper items, you may want to consult a professional before cleaning them.