Copper is all the rage right now...isn't it funny how many old things are popular again? Last year, my Grandmommy gave me this copper tea kettle. I loved it at first site, but it definitely needed to be cleaned. I was afraid to clean it with any over the counter, chemical filled cleaner because I knew that if I damaged it somehow, I would be sick. So, I decided to go old school and try the method that our grandmothers used to clean their tarnished copper pots. Let me show you how to clean copper in seconds with absolutely no harsh chemicals!
Isn't the difference amazing? I am so excited that this worked and cannot wait to start scouring the thrift stores and yard sales for more copper pieces to use and display around our home! Okay...on to the cleaning process!
The before...while it looks beautiful, it's covered in tarnish.
To start, cut a fresh lemon in half.
Dip half of your lemon in kosher salt (table salt will work too).
Use the lemon to scrub the salt and lemon juice all over the copper piece your are cleaning.
The lemon and salt work so well together and the tarnish will start to disappear. It works like magic! Once you have cleaned the entire surface, just rinse with water and dry with a clean towel.
Voila! Your copper pots, pans, kettles and anything else will look like new again! I'm so excited that this worked so easily. It literally took me seconds to get my Grandmommy's kettle clean, and now I can't wait to place it in my kitchen!
Be sure to check out all of my Cleaning Hacks and Home Tips HERE on my Home Tips Page!
This is a great tip! I had a pan I thought was uncleanable and the lemon and salt (I had some sea salt). Now it is hanging where everyone who comes intothe kitchen can see it! Now all I have to do is figure out a way to do the same thing to some very black silver plate.
I have my set of pots and pans I got as a wedding gift over 30 years ago. Revereware copper bottom . I have always used vinegar and salt to clean them, idea of the lemon is great and a bit easier, but if the price of produce is high like it is here, the vinegar works great too, just a little messier.
Thanks for all your great cleaning tips. Love them
Liz Weiss says
I tried this on an old piece of copper. It did some spots but left it looking molted, with dark gold color. Any suggestions, please
Linnea Lahlum says
If the tarnish is really dark you need something stronger. Try "Penny Brite" cleaner. You will have to look for it online, I have never seen it in a store. Comes in a small tub with a sponge. The natural catalogs carry it. It contains a much stronger citric acid. It smells like lemon juice x 10. It's citric acid that makes the cleaning work with either lemon juice or vinegar, which are both very mild citric acid, chemically speaking. Penny Brite is the go-to product for enamelists, who must make sure there are NO surface impurities on their copper before enamelling it. Also printmakers use it for their copper plates before etching them. I learned about it in an enamelling class.
On how to clean chalk paint off with Lava soap, nice tip but dear God stop wasting all that clean water by running it before you even open the package of soap! Please don't run the faucet until you're completely ready to rinse!! Not environmentally friendly at all, especially with clean water shortages all over the developing world. Argh.
Hi, MJ. I don't normally leave water running, this was just to demonstrate how well the soap works, and I only have so many hands for recording and turning knobs. I agree totally with everything you said in your comment...just wanted you to know that this isn't the norm. ~Jess
Kathy V says
This worked really well for me! We have two copper pieces hanging on a wall for decoration--a sieve and a dipper--not food grade. They were awfully tarnished and we usually use a store bought copper cleaner to shine them up. This lemon and salt works so much better and no chemicals! These pieces are now beautiful and I thank you so much!
Love this tip. I picked up a set of ancient Paul Revere pans at a garage sale for $5. (I tried to give her more but she said they were ugly and not worth it). Four of the five cleaned beautifully. The fifth cleans up BUT it doesn't shine like the rest. It looks like someone tried to clean it with an inappropriate cleaner and took off some type of coating. I'm not saying this is what happened, just that this is what it looks like. I have had people tell me I can send it off and have that fixed but haven't been able to track down who or where. I checked Paul Revere site with no luck but, then, I'm not a good "searcher". These pans are not copper bottom pans but copper all over with tin (I think) on the inside. Looks like the set Julia Child used.
Hey Jessica,love you as you solved my many problems through your blog...A new fan from india
I recently aquired an old copper teapot similar to yours, also very tarnished. Your tip to clean was like magic! I'm thinking tho, next time I will start cleaning from the bottom to avoid having drips show. I'm going to do it again tomorrow as i had a few little streaks. Thanks again!
I have that same copper tea pot..lol will try your suggestion.
I have that same teapot!! Will try your suggestion tomorrow!
Antonio Lanuza says
Eager to try it tomorrow
Nina Vaughn says
I was wondering if there was a natural way to clean sterling silver. That has tarnished.
Katherine Whitehead says
If I wanted to use the copper tea kettle, how do you recommend cleaning the inside prior to using?
You spelled sight wrong @ the start of the article & it bothers me