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Copper is a popular material in many homes. However, the problem with copper is that it is susceptible to atmospheric conditions. What may look like a nice weathering effect on an outdoor copper statue might not look so appealing on a kitchen kettle or pot. The green verdigris patina or brown stains can look rather unsightly on smaller accessories inside the home. There are however ways to clean copper once these actions have taken place.

Cleaning copper is very easy and in most cases might not even require a special visit to your local hardware store. Your kitchen or pantry will have the ingredients needed to bring your copper object back to its shining glory. Old remedies, whilst scoffed at by some, can be very effective and these include using things like lemon, vinegar, salt and even ketchup. However, they do need to be used in the right way.

It’s important to know what causes copper discoloration. The main copper tarnish culprits are cupric sulfide, copper sulfate and copper chloride. They do not like acidic chemicals and that’s where gentle household acids like vinegar and lemon come into their own. Alternatively, there are special chemicals one can buy from your local store and even specialist copper cleaners who will do the cleaning for you.

Many copper items found in the home come with a clear lacquer coating. This prevents any unsightly build-up and reduces the need to clean the copper. Objects such as statues, sculptures and other decorative copper accessories usually fall into this category. Items which are used in the process of cooking will need more regular cleaning and even the removal of the lacquer. This can be done by placing the item in a mixture of boiling water and baking soda.

The precise steps in cleaning copper can be found here: How to Clean Copper.