Today I am sharing how to keep copper shiny the easy way. If you love the look of copper but are not a fan of the dark brown patina it creates after a week or more, then you will love this simple way to keep your copper clean.
In the past couple of years, I have been slowly redesigning our kitchen into a small french country kitchen. One way to get the old-world feeling was by adding copper accents. I have copper items in the room, from useful pieces over my stove to decorations.
The look of a copper surface as it patinas is so pretty, but sometimes I love to shine it up and make it looks as rosy as a baby's bottom. After sharing our kitchen tour and decorating with copper accents, I thought it was time to share how to keep copper shiny.
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How to Keep Copper Shiny
Good news – it is truly simple. Whether I have used a copper piece for cooking or it is cleaning day, I have found that shining our copper takes no time. I currently have eight pieces of copper in my kitchen, and when it is cleaning day, it takes me about 30 minutes to clean them all.
So what is my secret — it is using Bar Keepers Friend. This is the best product to get your copper back to a clean and rosy color. It is not like a mirror when you purchased it from the store, but it is clean and pretty. If you have copper, it's a good choice to keep this around to maintain the look of your beautiful copper.
The good thing is that cleaning copper is very simple and does not take a long time. Here are the steps for best results on how to clean copper.
How to Clean Copper
First, let's talk about cleaning the inside if you are cleaning cookware. The inside of your copper pot or pan is probably tin if it is old or stainless steel if it is new. Tin is very soft, so be careful you don't scratch it. Use soft sponges or soft cloth when cleaning, so you won't scratch them.
Now simply use dish soap and warm water to clean the inside of your pots and pans. But for the outside surface of the copper, especially for stubborn tarnish, you can use something more scratchy. Copper is pretty durable.
I wet my sponge and pour Bar Keeps Friend powder or paste onto the outside bottom tarnished copper pot, pan, or decoration.
Then I start scrubbing with the rough side of the sponge. The acid in the Bar Keepers Friend reacts with the surface of copper, and it will magically begin to turn back into the prettiest rosy copper color.
Next, rinse it with warm water and then use a dry cloth or dishtowel to dry it. It is that simple. I feel like I need to tell you more, but there is not much more to say when cleaning it or making it shiny again.
Remember you don't have to clean tarnish from your copper if you love the look of it aged and patinaed. But I have to say that with my copper hanging over the stove, I find it needs a good cleaning whether I use it or not weekly. Grease and such splatter on it and makes it a mess
See how pretty the copper looks when it is clean. Here is how it looked before and after cleaning.
Cleaning other Copper Items
You can continue to use this technique with other copper pieces as I did here with this old flue cover hanging on my wall and this other decorative plate.
I also cleaned my antique ladle that was black when I got it. I boiled it in vinegar and tried many techniques but could only get it somewhat clean and shiny. It wasn't until I discovered Bar Keepers Friend that it turned rosy and shiny.
Natural Way to Clean Copper
There are cleaning methods to clean copper with natural ingredients, like lemon juice or tomato paste. I have never tried these ways, but natural acids, I have heard, work very well on cleaning copper.
Best Place to Buy Copper
Now that you know how easy it is to keep copper shiny and pretty, here are a few places where you can buy new and old copper for decorations or cookware.
I found my copper pans in an antique/thrift store, and the mugs used to belong to my in-laws. We do not use these pans or mugs. The pans need to be re-tined, and the mugs don't have any coating, so I don't want to take a chance.
For new pieces of copper cookware, I recommend William and Sonoma. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat for cooking. They have such beautiful pieces, and they are safe to use if they come from them. This copper braiser has the most beautiful acorn knob on top. I have it on my wish list.
For other copper decorations for your kitchen, look for copper molds, flue plates, or any kind of plate. I found these plates in that same antique thrift store. But again, you can find many more on Etsy's website.
For years I thought keeping copper shiny was almost impossible, so I avoided using copper in my kitchen. But after watching The Elliott Homestead share how she keeps her copper clean, I decided to try it on my old antique copper ladle. To my surprise, it polished up into the most amazing rose color until I couldn't believe it.
I am glad I discovered this simple way to clean copper and make it look shiny again. While the oxidation of copper is a natural process, having beautiful, shiny copper displayed in your kitchen is so lovely. There is something about having a clean kitchen that makes me happy.
How about you? Do you have copper in your kitchen or home? Maybe you have a favorite copper mug or wall art. In recent years copper hoods and copper back-splashes have become popular. Or perhaps you have a copper sink or even copper counters. How do you keep your copper clean and shiny? I'd love to hear any easy ways that work for you. Please share in the comment so we all can learn from each other.
- Remove the copper pieces being displayed or the copper you use daily. If the inside of the pot or pan is tin be careful you don't scratch it. Use soft sponges or soft cloth when cleaning.
- For the outside surface of the copper you can use something more scratchy.
- Wet your sponge and pour Bar Keeps Friend powder or paste onto the outside bottom pot, pan, or decoration.
- Start scrubbing with the rough side of the sponge.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Dry with a cloth.
- Hang all your clean copper pots, pans, and mugs back up in their spaces.