How to clean copper, brass, and bronze items

Copper sinks and basins, brass range hoods, bronze interior items, copper fireplaces и other items surely make our homes beautiful and cozy. But as time goes, copper, brass, and bronze, like any other metals fade and change colour. Сopper is gradually getting dark in contact with air, and because of water the copper surface is becoming bluish-green. So how to take care of copper, brass and bronze items?

In fact, it's not as difficult as it might seem. There are many ways to make your copper accessory shine again and look as good as new. In addition, every owner of a non-ferrous metal product has another interesting choice, but we'll talk about it a little later.

So here are the most common ways of cleaning a copper, brass or bronze accessory:

Cleaning brass and copper items with vinegar, flour and salt

The oldest and most famous means of cleaning copper, brass and bronze is vinegar. Here is the recipe for the natural cleaner: mix salt and flour in equal proportion and add as much vinegar as needed to prepare a thick paste. Wipe your copper or brass item (e.g., a copper range hood) by this mixture with a soft cloth until it starts shining. Then rinse the paste off with water and drain the article thoroughly.

Vinegar and salt cleaning copper, brass and bronze

Vinegar and salt cleaning copper, brass and bronze

How to clean brass and copper items with a lemon

Another proven method of cleaning copper, brass and bronze items: wipe the article (for example, a copper sink, copper kitchen stove or backsplash) with half a lemon, rinse with water and wipe it dry. You can also make a mixture of lemon juice and soda or salt, apply it on the stove surface, polish it with a soft cloth, rinse with water and drain the surface.

These methods are effective because the acid in vinegar and lemon juice removes the oxidized patina from the copper and brass surfaces, and salt and soda work as soft abrasives.

Lemon will make copper and bronze shine again

Lemon will make copper and bronze shine again

Lime for copper cleaning

! Lime can be used instead of lemon

Ketchup for cleaning copper

Using ketchup as a cleaner is not only the most original, but it’s also quite an effective method. Yes, indeed, all you need is ketchup! The acid, contained in tomatoes, helps to clean the copper surface. Everything is as simple as in other natural ways: apply ketchup on a copper or brass item, rub, rinse off with water and drain the surface. We, however, believe that it is much better to have ketchup with pasta cooked on our copper kitchen stove, other than spend this nice product.

Ketchup is good for cleaning copper

Ketchup is good for cleaning copper

Boiling as a way to clean copper, brass and bronze items

If the above methods do not work, and a copper item that you want to clean is small, you can mix 1 glassful of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 3 or 4 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil. Put your copper or brass item into the saucepan and boil it until the tarnish disappears. Then you will most likely need to rub it a little more but, in any case, it will take less time and effort.

Boiling water will help you to clean a small copper, bronze and brass thing

Boiling water will help you to clean a small copper, bronze and brass thing

Household cleaners and special agents

As an alternative to traditional methods of cleaning copper, brass, or bronze accessories, you can use an ordinary household cleaner, dissolved in water. However, this method will not be helpful to get rid of the natural patina, as it is suitable only for removing fat, dirt and dust.

Special cleaning agents for copper and brass items are available on sale today. These are acid concentrates, with the detailed application instructions.

Household cleaners for cleaning copper

You can buy cleaners and special cleaning agents from any chemical supply shop

Cleaning precautions

! BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN USING ACIDS. WEAR GLOVES;

! DO NOT USE HARD AND SCRATCHY BRUSHES - THEY CAN LEAVE SCRATCHES;

! READ THE INSTRUCTIONS WHEN USING SPECIAL CLEANING AGENTS.

Peculiarities and tips for the maintenance of items made of non-ferrous metals

If an article is in constant contact with water (for example, a copper sink), it should be wiped with a towel after each use. After cleaning it, you will most certainly prefer to keep it clean and shining for as long as possible. A layer of protective polymer varnish can be applied on a copper accessory. Before the application the surface should be thoroughly cleaned, otherwise stains or handprints may appear later. Also note that it is not recommended to varnish objects subject to permanent physical impact.

A copper sink requires special maintenance

A copper sink requires special maintenance

The natural appearance of copper, brass and bronze items

And here is the most original and creative solution for those who are interested in watching the life of metal, how it changes colors and shades. If you intentionally look toward naturalness, cleaning your copper accessory will not bother you greatly. Its natural patina, gradation of color, rough, very natural surface attach a peculiar charm to the natural state of a copper article or an item made of brass and bronz. It is especially good for copper pipe wiring and lighting fixtures.

If you have a question about taking care of any copper or brass items, write to us!