Close your eyes. Imagine your kitchen with a wrought iron hanging pot rack. Imagine the rack filled with gleaming copper pots and pans and copper bottomed stainless steel pots. Imagine how the light sparkles and bounces off the beautiful copper. See how your guests smile when they look at the beautiful sight in your kitchen. Delight as your food cooks evenly and quickly in the copper cookware. Priceless!
Now picture this same scene with the same cookware, except the copper pots and pans are tarnished and the bottoms are black and grimy. Do you want anyone to see this? How did they get this way? Actually, copper can get this way very easily. Thankfully, there are some effective commercial products on the market. There are also some inexpensive home-remedies that you might like to try!
With frequent use, and poor cleaning habits, food and grease can get cooked and burned on to the copper cooking surface. You may be thinking that the best solution for keeping your copper cookware spotless is to not use it! If you do plan to do some cooking, here are three solutions to removing these ugly stains involving household products, as well as a commercial product.
Salt & Lemon Juice Scrub is the first home remedy. Combine table salt, or a coarse salt, with lemon juice to make a paste. Apply to the surface with a rag or a sponge and scrub. Rinse off the paste and dry.
Catsup is the next product from the kitchen. Apply the catsup and let it set for at least 10 min. Scrub with a rag or sponge. Rinse and dry.
Brasso is a commercial cleaner that cleans and polishes a variety of metals. Soak a clean cloth or sponge with Brasso and apply it to the copper. Re-polish with a clean soft cloth.
Each cleaner was applied to the dry pot and scrubbed with the scrubber side of a sponge (no steel wool). The cleaner was then washed off with dish soap and water, and then polished with a clean, soft cloth.
Conclusion: The Salt & Lemon Juice is economical; the Catsup is entertaining; the Brasso is extra smelly! All three need one extra thing, ELBOWGREASE!
The homemade solutions were effective but needed several applications and lots of scrubbing. For that reason, the salt and lemon juice solution may be the best choice because the amount of salt can be adjusted going to get more ‘scrub-ability’.
Commercial products, such as Brasso, may also need several applications for extremely tarnished or dirty copper. The directions on the can usually give advice on cleaning stubborn stains.
The best way to keep copper dishes, pots and pans shiny is to keep them clean from the beginning. Using a gentle detergent and a soft cloth for polishing is all that is needed for copper that is primarily displayed. If the copper is used for cooking on the stove, diligence is needed to keep the copper outside clean. But, do not be afraid to use your copper pots and pans. Commercial cleaners and homemade solutions both work well enough that the benefits and joy of using copper out-weigh the inconvenience of any extra cleaning.