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How to Clean Copper Jewelry

Simple and Effective Tips on How to Clean Your Copper Jewelry

Are you a proud owner of some great piece of copper jewelry but are disappointed with the sight of how soon it tarnishes? This article will give you some simple and effective tips on how to clean copper jewelry at home, and you don't have to waste a penny for that..., well for most parts!
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Copper jewelry is always a delight to watch. I mean, firstly, pieces of copper jewelry are not as common as those of sterling silver and platinum jewelry that almost everyone tends to have these days, and secondly, they look amazingly beautiful because of that vintage look that they have. I don't know about you, but for me, copper jewelry always makes a person stand out from the rest!
Moreover, copper as a metal is known for its ancient heritage, I mean you can trace its existence to as far as 9000 BC, which makes me a fan of this metal all the more! Most of the people avoid taking copper jewelry because it tends to get tarnished very soon, making it look all the more dull and worn out.
But if you think about it, that dull and dark look makes the jewelry look more vintage and antique, if you like it that way. As a matter of fact, prolonged oxidization of copper makes a greenish blue layer known as patina form over the metal. I think this looks completely amazing. In fact, many people pay money to keep their jewelry under an environment that boosts up the oxidization. 
Cleaning Copper Jewelry at Home
Different people have different preferences. While some like their copper to be dull and oxidized, some love the shining pinkish texture of copper. However, an important thing that you need to check before you start cleaning your copper jewelry is to check if it has a 'protective lacquer coating'. Some of the modernized copper jewelry would have this coating to protect it from oxidizing. To check the same, all you need to do is to take a piece of magnet and see if sticks to your jewelry. If it does, then it has the coating, otherwise you are good to use the following cleaning tips.
Now there are different ways of cleaning copper jewelry, which should be a good news for you as you get to choose a method based on the resources and the amount of time that you have in hand. The different methods listed below are meant for cleaning copper items including jewelry, decorative items and vessels. However, if your copper jewelry has a vintage value, then it is always better to let experts handle it. Nevertheless, have a look at some of the most commonly known ways to clean copper.
Method #1: Water and Mild Soap
This method is one of the most basic ones when it comes to cleaning copper. All you need to do is to take a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Shake the solution to make it more bubbly and soapy and soak your piece of copper jewelry in it for about 5 minutes. This mixture helps in cleaning the pollutants and debris accumulated on the surface of the metal.
If your jewelry has the lacquered coating, then just use a rag to wipe the jewelry but DON'T dip it! It might affect the coat. Make sure that you wipe the surface dry after wiping. This method is best if you want your copper jewelry to retain that dull and vintage look and not want your jewelry to be all bright and shiny.
Method #2: Salt, Flour, and Lime Juice
This method is the most commonly used method to clean copper. It is simple, easy, and you don't have to do much to get the clean and shiny copper jewelry you always wanted. All you need to do is to create a mixture, or a paste consisting of salt, flour and lime juice.
You can also use white vinegar! Now apply this paste over the copper jewelry and keep it for about 5-10 minutes, or more depending upon the amount of tar. Once the paste has dried up a little, use a cloth or a brush to gently clean the jewelry. Rinse the jewelry with water and quickly dry it up with a cloth to make sure that it's completely dry.
Additional Tips to Clean Copper Jewelry
  • Well, tomato ketchup to clean the copper is also known to be effective as ketchup contains salt and acid. Just apply ketchup on the jewelry using a brush, rub for about 5-10 minutes and rinse. Make sure you dry up the jewelry quickly.
  • Some people also suggest dipping your copper jewelry in the mixture of about 1 tablespoon of salt and about a full cup of vinegar or lime juice. You just need to swish your jewelry in this solution for a few minutes and then rub baking soda all over it to neutralize the jewelry. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
  • Another simple way to clean copper jewelry is to just slice a lemon into half, sprinkle some salt over it, and rub the jewelry with it for a few moments. Rinse and don't forget to dry it completely.
Warning and Caution
  • If your copper jewelry is of great antique value, then make sure that you consult a professional for cleaning it.
  • Do not use the aforementioned tips, except for method 1, if your copper jewelry has lacquer coating.
  • Before using these methods, always test the application on a less visible side of the jewelry to ensure that the application of these pastes and solutions is not adversely affecting the jewelry.
These tips are simple and easy to be done at home. However, please try them first on a 'less favorite' piece of jewelry instead of directly trying it on the most favorite one. You don't want to take the risk to spoil your most valued copper jewelry, would you?