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The Proper Way To Clean Your Copper Decor

Posted by Paykoc Imports ,6th Aug 2014
The Proper Way To Clean Your Copper Decor

There's no doubt that copper decor can enhance the interior of any home, which is why it has become immensely popular all over the country. However, after decorating walls (it's a great alternative to modern wall decor), shelves and tables with a range of different copper decor pieces, some people are left puzzled by how they should maintain it. At Paykoc Imports we get a considerable number of queries relating to the best maintenance practices for copper items and during this article we're going to show you some proven ways to effectively clean copper, as well as explain what will happen if you don't clean it at all.

The Standard Way to Clean Your Copper Home Decor Items

Whatever it is that you need to maintain, whether it's copper planter pots, wall decor or cooking pots, if it's real copper, the following process that we are about to talk you through will do the trick.

  1. Warm Water & Dish Soap - It might surprise some people that we're not recommending you use a magic wand or at least something different to plain old warm water and dish soap when cleaning copper items, but that's honestly all you need. So fill your sink and add a bit of dish soap to start with. Then just place your copper decor items inside and leave them to soak for a while (10 - 15 minutes should be enough). It's important to note that if your item isn't made from real copper (some items are simply copper plated) or it contains a lacquer finish, you should not let it soak and instead should simply clean the item with a damp cloth.
  2. soft clothClean With a Soft Cloth - It's key to remember that when you come to wiping a copper item down, you must use a soft cloth as anything too abrasive will most likely leave scuff marks on the item's surface. In terms of actually cleaning the copper this is all there is to it, although if you want that bright, shiny finish, you will need to de-tarnish it, which is what we're going to explain in just a moment.
  3. Make the Polishing Solution - There is a bit of prep involved in this step and you will need to make a homemade solution in order to restore the shine of your copper items. It involves mixing some very common items together: white vinegar, flour and salt. You don't need to measure precise quantities out; simply mix these items together until you have a paste with a thick consistency. You should however use more flour than salt, as the flour will make the paste smoother and less abrasive, preventing possible damage. Once you've made this solution, coat the item in it and leave it for another 15 - 60 minutes (shorter if there's not much of a tarnish, and longer if the tarnish is quite severe). After that period has passed, take a soft, dry cloth and polish the item in a brisk manner, making sure you go with the grain.
  4. Rinse and Dry - You're nearly there now, all that there is left to do is to rinse off the remains of the polishing solution and then thoroughly dry the item. It's absolutely vital that you dry it properly as the appearance of copper can be affected considerably when exposed to water for lengthy periods of time. The final step is to take another fresh cloth and buff the copper. At this point your copper decor should like as good as new and you should be able to see yourself in it.

Other Methods of Cleaning Copper

Bar Keepers Friend

There's more than a single way to clean copper decor though and we're now going to point out a few alternative methods you could use if your wall decor is looking a little worse for wear.

  • Use Good 'Ol Tommy K - Using ketchup as a cleaning "solution" may seem weird; wait a minute, it is weird. However, it's also darn effective and functions just like the paste we told you how to make a minute ago. On the downside, it can get quite messy.
  • Vinegar & Salt - Another easy-to-make solution that makes use of common household items. Take an empty jar, pour a decent amount of white vinegar into it and grab hold of some salt. Start adding it to the vinegar and continue to do so until it doesn't dissipate any more. Then take a clean, soft cloth, dampen it with some of this solution and proceed to clean your copper items with it. Just as with the original method we outlined, don't forget to thoroughly rinse your items afterwards and then dry them.
  • Bar Keepers Friend - We also carry the tried, tested, and trusted cleaning agent, Bar Keepers Friend.

What happen if you don't clean your copper items at all? Over time, copper will oxidize due to it being exposed to the air, causing its appearance to dull and creating a more antique look and feel. So, you really have to ask yourself which you prefer; a shiny, rich color or a more antique look?