Copper is often underrated when people compare it with gold and silver jewelry.
Copper is a very versatile metal that has great durability and makes for a great choice when it comes to jewelry such as bracelets and rings.
The downfall with copper is the fact that it can tarnish and lose its luster over time.
When copper reacts with external factors of everyday life like moisture, chemicals, human skin, sweat, and oxygen, it can corrode the copper. If you notice a green layer developing on the metal surface, this is called a copper patina.
This means your copper jewelry is in need of a freshen-up and a good clean.
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How To Clean Copper Jewellery
It is easy to clean your copper jewelry from the comfort of your home using household ingredients. You can get rid of copper tarnish using acidic ingredients like lemon, ketchup, and vinegar. Copper can also be cleaned with lemon juice, baking soda, and commercial jewelry cleaning solutions. Here are some good ways to clean your copper jewelry.
Clean Your Copper Jewelry With Salt And Lemon Juice
You can use lemon juice to saturate your copper, then roll the bracelet into some table salt to cover the surface of the jewelry.
Get a clean, soft cloth and rub your copper piece to take away the tarnish. Another tip is to cut a lemon in half, dip it into some salt then rub the jewelry with the salt.
After a few minutes, your copper should be clean and shiny. Once finished cleaning, just rinse in clean water and dry.
Using Baking Soda And Lemon Juice
You can mix the lemon juice and bi-carb soda together in equal amounts to create a paste. Using a cloth, dip it into the paste and rub it all over the copper.
If you need to do a deeper clean, you can use the paste on a soft toothbrush.
This will help to get rid of all the grime sitting in the cracks or around the part that might have been engraved. Once you have done this, you can rinse in clean water and pat dry.
Use the paste from fresh tamarind as it is very acidic and works well to remove the stained tarnish on copper pieces.
Wet the copper and then scrub it with the pulp of tamarind until you start to see the luster returning.
Salt, Vinegar, And Flour Cleaning Mixture
Yes, you read that right. If you have extra stained copper pieces, you can clean the piece with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of flour, a few tablespoons of table salt, and some vinegar enough to form a paste.
Spread the mixture over the copper piece and give it a little buff as you are covering it in the past.
Cover the item with plastic wrap or place it into a plastic bag and then let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse off the paste and buff dry with a clean, soft cloth.
Using Ketchup For Cleaning Copper
This might sound a little crazy, but in fact, your everyday ketchup is actually a great cleaner to use on copper for eliminating any copper tarnish.
All you need to do is grab your ketchup and squeeze a small amount onto your jewelry and use some elbow grease and rub until the tarnishes have disappeared.
You can also use a soft toothbrush for this method or a soft cloth.
Once clean you can rinse in cold water and dry with a cloth.
Using A Vinegar Dip
You can pour some fresh vinegar into a clean bowl and let your copper jewelry sit in it for around 20 minutes. When you remove the jewelry, the copper should be clean and tarnish-free.
Now you can give it a good rinse to remove the vinegar and give it a buff with a clean cloth.
If you have copper jewelry with gemstones, the vinegar can cause damage, so it is best to skip cleaning with vinegar for any copper jewelry that has stones.
Using A Lemon Juice Dip
First, you need to squeeze a couple of lemons into a bowl and add a few pinches of salt.
You need to place the copper into the solution and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Grab a cloth or a soft brush and give it a good rub to eliminate the tarnish. Now rinse thoroughly in clean water and dry the jewelry.
When using lemon or other acidic ingredients, you want to use ceramic, plastic, or glass bowls; do not use metal.
Use A Jewelry Polishing Cloth
You can clean your copper jewelry using a polishing cloth, but this will only work on the copper bracelets that have already been coated.
Sealed copper doesn’t dull too much over time, and a good buff will help it look its best.
You can keep the sparkle in already sealed pieces by giving them a good buff after your take your bracelet off.
Cleaning With Commercial Cleaners
When it comes to cleaning with commercial cleaners, it is important that you take care and ensure the solution is safe for use on copper.
Cleaners that are too harsh can actually scratch the copper and remove the shine altogether.
Ensure you buy a cleaner that is recommended to clean copper jewelry.
It is also important to follow the instructions exactly so you can clean the copper without causing any damage or fading.
Boiling Your Jewelry
This is a method that you can try when the tips above haven’t seemed to work.
First, you need to place a cup of fresh vinegar into a pot with a few pinches of salt and 3 cups of water.
Bring the water to a boil and add your copper pieces and boil it until you can see the tarnish has all gone.
You might need to do some scrubbing once you have taken the jewelry out of the pot, but this will be determined on how dirty the piece is.
Once your copper is clean and fresh-looking, you can wipe some linseed or mineral oil over it and buff.
Sealing Your Copper
Some copper pieces are already sealed with wax or polish, which works to protect the copper from corroding or staining your skin.
Lacquered copper won’t tarnish, but it can lose its shine, which is why you use a cloth to bring the shine back.
If you have a copper piece that isn’t sealed, you can take it into the jewelry to have it professionally sealed, which will make it easier to keep clean.
You can coat the copper in a clear nail polish every so often, which will keep it from tarnishing and staining your skin green.
There are also commercial cooper sealants that are designed for sealing copper jewelry.
Have You Got A Copper Stain On Your Skin?
Sometimes when copper starts to tarnish, it can leave green stains on your skin which is caused by a chemical reaction where the metal meets the perspiration on your skin.
This creates copper chelates. Your body cannot absorb pure copper; it can actually absorb the copper chelates though, which isn’t a bad thing.
The body will only take in as much copper as it needs, so when it doesn’t need to absorb any more copper, the excess remaining will turn your skin a green color.
Copper absorption is not harmful and is important for the human body.
Copper deficiency is real and is a health issue all around the world, so those who are deficient can wear copper jewelry that isn’t sealed and let their skin absorb the copper it needs.
If your skin is turning green, then it means it is working as it should be.
Copper is also antifungal and an antimicrobial, so it will not harm your skin.
The good thing about the green stain is the fact that it isn’t permanent, and you can wash it away with plain soap and water.
The coated copper jewelry will not turn your skin green as it needs contact with your skin in order for this to happen.
How To Store Copper Jewelry
When you have cleaned your copper jewelry and don’t plan on wearing it often, you need to make sure it is dried thoroughly and then store it somewhere safe.
Air and moisture exposure will force the copper to tarnish, so the jewelry always needs to be stored in a dry, cool area.
An airtight bag or container is a good idea and will lower the amount of interaction the air has with the copper.
If you don’t plan on wearing the copper jewelry for a long time, invest in some anti-tarnish paper and wrap your copper pieces in that before you store them.
If you are planning on a day of cleaning or refilling the pool and you are going to come into contact with chlorine, it is best to avoid wearing the copper pieces and ensure your body is washed free of the chemicals before putting the pieces back on.
The good thing about cooper is the easy process of cleaning that will get the pieces back in the shiny condition in no time at all.
Steps To Clean Your Jewelry With An Ultrasonic Cleaner
There are many ultrasonic jewelry cleaners on the market, and these work well to clean jewelry if you don’t want to clean them by hand.
Once you have your ultrasonic cleaner, you will need to fill the tank with fresh water and add in the mixing solution that goes with the cleaning machine.
The ultrasonic cleaner will run for about 5 minutes to mix the solution into the water.
Now you can set the temperature of the cleaner that you will find in the instructions and the timer to leave the copper pieces in for which can vary from 5 to 20 minutes which is based on how bad the copper is.
Then you will need to place the jewelry into the ultrasonic basket and ensure that it is spaced out well if putting in more than one piece.
You will need to de-gas your cleaning machine before you start cleaning. The instruction manual will explain how to do this.
Now you can run the ultrasonic cleaner and ensure the jewelry stays in the cleaner for as long as needed. Once the timer has gone off, you need to let the jewelry sit in the solution still for another 10 minutes, which will allow the grime to settle.
Take the basket out of the cleaner and run it under cold water for a minute.
Copper is a fascinating metal, and beautiful jewelry pieces can be made from it.
Copper not only looks beautiful, but it actually has healing benefits as well.
While it does come with its benefits and good looks, it also happens to be on top of the list for jewelry that tarnishes easily
If you have a terrible-looking piece of copper jewelry that looks tarnished or very dull and worn, try cleaning with the above tips and store it correctly to keep your copper jewelry in the best condition possible—no more worrying about wearing copper with the fear of it tarnishing and no way to clean it.
The cleaning process is easy, so grab all the copper pieces you own and wear them and enjoy how good they look.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Remove Bad Oxidation From Copper?
Yes, you can. If you have stubborn oxidation on your copper, which can be due to water and air exposure, you can cover the copper in salt and rub vigorously until the discoloration has disappeared.
What Are The Best Chemicals To Clean Copper With?
Acetic acid works well and is very common to clean copper with. If looking for a more organic acid, try citric acid, which works well for cleaning copper also.