How to Clean Tarnished Copper to Restore Its Shine and Patina

Clean Tarnished Copper
Clean Tarnished Copper

Copper is a beautiful metal that, when used correctly, can provide an air of sophistication and coziness to any setting. This effect may be achieved by using copper in the proper ways. On the other side, copper has the propensity to oxidize and get tarnished over time. The copper that has been tarnished may, happily, have its patina and gloss restored, utilizing techniques that are not only straightforward but also very effective. This article will explore the best methods for cleaning copper and bringing back its natural beauty.

Why Does Copper Tarnish?

Copper naturally oxidizes over time, which creates a layer of tarnish on the surface of the metal. The presence of tarnish may also be the result of contact with air, water, or other substances. This tarnish can dull the copper’s shine and change its color. However, proper cleaning and maintenance can restore your copper’s original beauty.

How to Clean Tarnished Copper to Restore Its Shine and Patina

Copper is a beautiful metal that can add a touch of warmth and elegance to your home decor. However, over time, copper can become tarnished and lose its shine. Don’t freak out if you see that some of your copper possessions are beginning to look a little worn and tarnished. To finish the basic process of cleaning tarnished copper, all that is necessary are a few everyday household materials.

Prepare the Copper for Cleaning

Before cleaning your copper, you’ll want to prepare it properly. You first need to clean the surface of the copper by eliminating any debris or dust that could be present. To accomplish this, follow these steps: You may wash it down with a soft cloth or sponge after cleaning it. If the copper is covered in a significant amount of filth, another option for cleaning it is to use water that has been heated with soap. Once the copper is clean, dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Make a Cleaning Solution

To clean tarnished copper, you’ll need a cleaning solution. You can use several different cleaning solutions, but we recommend using a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Lemon juice is a natural acid that can help dissolve the tarnish on the copper, while salt acts as an abrasive to help scrub the tarnish. To make the cleaning solution, mix lemon juice and salt in a basin with a limited capacity by using equal portions of each ingredient. You are free to adjust the amounts according to the amount of copper that must be cleaned.

Apply the Cleaning Solution

After you have finished preparing the cleaning solution, it is time to apply it to the tarnished copper to remove the tarnish. To apply the solution to the copper,  dip a gentle cloth or sponge into the solution, then apply it to the metal using the cloth or sponge. Gently rub the solution into the copper, focusing on the most tarnished areas.

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Alternately, you may remove tarnish resistant to conventional cleaning procedures by mixing lemon juice and baking soda to make a paste. This paste can be applied directly to the surface that needs to be cleaned. After applying the paste to the places that have been tarnished and letting it set for a few minutes, remove the paste from the spots using a delicate cloth. This should be done after allowing the paste to set for a few minutes.

Rinse and Dry the Copper

After you’ve applied the cleaning solution, rinse the copper with warm water to remove any remaining solution. Dry the copper using a clean, soft towel to remove any extra moisture that may have accumulated.

Apply a Protective Coating

To prevent your copper from tarnishing again in the future, you can apply a protective coating. There are several options for protective coatings, but we recommend using olive oil or beeswax. To apply the protective coating to the surface of the copper, dunk a soft cloth into the oil or wax and then massage it over the surface of the metal. This will ensure that the coating is evenly distributed. Apply the coating in an even layer, and then use a clean cloth to remove any excess that is still present after it has dried.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Tarnished Copper At Home

Before you start cleaning your copper, you’ll need a few materials. These include:

  • A soft cloth or sponge
  • Lemon juice or vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Olive oil or beeswax

How to Clean Tarnished Copper in Home?

The tarnished copper may be cleaned using one of many different procedures. The following are three successful approaches:

Method 1: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Create a paste by combining lemon juice and baking soda in equal proportions. When applying the paste to the tarnished copper, it is best to use a sponge or a soft cloth. After applying the paste to the copper in a scrubbing motion, wait half an hour for it to dry completely. Copper should be dried with a soft cloth after being wiped with warm water.

Method 2: Vinegar and Salt

Mix equal parts of vinegar and salt to create a cleaning solution. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the solution and use it to rub the tarnished copper. After being washed in warm water, copper should be patted down with a soft towel before drying.

Method 3: Olive Oil or Beeswax

Apply a small amount of olive oil or beeswax to a soft cloth or sponge. Use the cloth to rub the tarnished copper, and then buff the copper with a clean, dry cloth. This method will not only remove the tarnish but also help protect the copper from future tarnishing.

How to Maintain the Shine and Patina of Copper

After cleaning your copper, it’s important to maintain its shine and patina. The following are some suggestions for keeping your copper in good condition:

  • Please avoid using abrasive cleaners since they can harm the copper’s surface.
  • Keep your copper dry and avoid exposing it to water for long periods.
  • To prevent the copper from oxidizing and tarnishing, coat it with a thin olive oil or beeswax coating.

Tips for Cleaning Tarnished Copper

  • Avoid harsh chemical cleaners on your copper, as they can damage the surface.
  • Be gentle when cleaning your copper, as it can scratch easily.
  • If you are working with copper with a significant amount of tarnish, you may find that the cleaning procedure has to be repeated many times before the tarnish is completely removed.
  • Store your copper in a dry, cool place to prevent tarnishing.
  • Avoid touching your copper with bare hands, as the oils in your skin can cause tarnishing.


Cleaning tarnished copper doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Copper’s inherent beauty may be easily and quickly restored with simple techniques and materials. Remember that the proper care of your copper will allow it to continue providing the finest possible appearance. With proper care, your copper can continue to shine and add warmth to your space for years to come.


Can I use ketchup to clean tarnished copper?

Yes, ketchup contains acid that can help clean tarnished copper. Ketchup may easily be removed from copper by rubbing it with a soft cloth treated with a tiny quantity of the condiment. Copper should be dried with a soft cloth after being wiped with warm water.

Can I use other materials to clean tarnished copper?

Other materials can be used to clean tarnished copper, such as ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

Can a scouring pad clear tarnished copper?

No, a scouring pad can scratch the copper and damage the metal.

How often should I clean tarnished copper?

The frequency of cleaning tarnished copper will depend on how quickly it tarnishes. Generally, copper should be cleaned when it starts to look dull or discoloured.