How to Clean Copper Products Naturally at Home to Prevent Tarnishing and Toxicity

How to Clean Copper with Everyday Natural Products 

There are countless benefits to using copper products in our everyday life, but over time the metal will develop a layer of copper oxide referred to as tarnishing, leaving your copper items with a dark, grimy or verdigris patina. This buildup can lead to copper toxicity, which can be harmful, so clean copper is really important for products used on the body. There are lots of reasons that copper tarnishes: exposure to air, moisture, dirt, and the oils on your skin can all react with the copper, causing the surface to oxidize and turn color. 

Fortunately, copper is relatively easy to clean. Tarnishing is a natural process, so it makes sense to use natural items to eliminate the discoloration.  We recommend naturally cleaning your copper because commercial copper cleaners often contain harsh chemicals!  Try these simple, natural ways to dissolve the copper oxide and make your copper items shiny again by using materials that are probably already in your home.

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Vinegar, Salt and Flour

To restore badly tarnished copper, the vinegar and salt technique works wonders! 

Rub a mixture of 1 tablespoon table salt combined with 1 cup white vinegar onto the copper with a soft cloth and rinse. 

This mixture works best if you can immerse the tarnished copper into a pot with 3 cups of water and the salt-vinegar mixture, then bring it to a boil until the grime and tarnish comes off.

For more scrubbing power, mix together ¼ cup flour and 1/4 cup salt, then add enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Rub that paste on the copper surface and gently buff it using a microfiber cloth until it shines.  

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Lemon, Salt and Baking Soda

To naturally clean less fragile copper pieces, cut a lemon in half, add salt to the cut side, and rub gently onto the item. 

For more scrubbing power, you can also make a paste with lemon juice and equal parts salt and baking soda. Apply this to the copper item or sprinkle baking soda directly onto a damp cloth and polish the tarnished copper. 

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Useful Tips 

Avoid using ANY harsh chemicals such as bleach, or muratic acid which can lead to pitting or pockmarks. 

Avoid scrubbing with anything too abrasive, like a stiff brush or steel wool which will leave scratch marks on the surface. 

And whenever possible, avoid leaving copper wet, which can speed up the oxidation process.


Keep your copper clean and enjoy a lifetime of use and get the most benefit from the copper products you are using everyday! Naturally prevent tarnishing, discoloration and copper toxicity on all your everyday copper products.