The bright and unique color of your copper jewelry makes it a statement piece for almost every outfit. Keeping that vibrant burst of color clean and shiny feels overwhelming if you don’t have the right strategies in place, however. Luckily, learning how to clean copper jewelry effortlessly and quickly is well within your reach with just a few helpful tips.
Rather than taking an expensive trip to the jeweler, there are plenty of simple ways to clean copper jewelry without breaking the bank. While a commercial cleaning solution is sometimes necessary to restore tarnished pieces correctly, you may be surprised by some of the simple ingredients known for shining up your worn, old bracelets and rings.
Most of these household products already reside in your pantry, with condiments like salt, ketchup, and even Worcestershire sauce lending a hand to the cause. No matter what approach you choose, cleaning copper jewelry is a breeze.
- Amazing Ways to Clean Copper Jewelry
- How to Clean Copper Jewelry with Vinegar
- Use Lemon Juice as Vinegar Substitute
- Apply Baking Soda for Brilliant Shine
- Cleaning Copper Jewelry with Soapy Water
- Remove Discoloration from Copper Pieces
- Commercial Ways to Clean Copper Jewelry
- Restore Luster to Jewelry with Ketchup
- Add Clear Coat for Long-Lasting Protection
- Final Advice for Cleaning Copper Jewelry
Amazing Ways to Clean Copper Jewelry
No matter what substance your jewelry is made from, it gets dirty. Cleaning metal jewelry like copper and brass is essential to retain the shiny luster you enjoy.
Copper tarnishes for a vast number of reasons, ranging from sweat to swimming pools. Even prolonged exposure to air and moisture causes discoloration or damage over time.
One way to prevent this from happening, even before cleaning is necessary, is to remove copper jewelry before showering, jumping into pools, or handwashing dishes. Storing them in cool, dry spaces or airtight containers also helps.
These same precautions also apply to pewter and jewelry made from other metals. You can clean pewter jewelry naturally with household ingredients just like copper, silver, and gold, as long as you use special care.
How to Clean Copper Jewelry with Vinegar
Though strong acidic substances damage metals by creating small holes or cracks in the surface, mild cleaners like white vinegar are gentle enough to use on copper and many other metals, as well. Despite the main ingredient being acetic acid, the disinfecting agent is powerful enough to remove dirt and tarnish, while also maintaining the integrity of the metal.
Cleaning jewelry with vinegar is a great alternative to using potentially caustic commercial products. When it comes to cleaning copper jewelry, adding salt to the equation forms a reaction with the vinegar and metal to leave your items looking polished and new.
To create this DIY cleaner for copper jewelry, add enough of the vinegar to the equal parts flour and salt to form a thick paste. Using a towel, slather the mixture over the surface of the jewelry item and gently buff it.
Place the object in a plastic bag, and let the paste soak for several hours, overnight preferably. In the morning, rinse it off and dry with a clean cloth.
Use Lemon Juice as Vinegar Substitute
Another helpful tool when cleaning copper is cream of tartar. The powder acts as a mild abrasive, similar to baking soda, while the tartaric acid does its fair share of cleaning.
What makes this method even more powerful is incorporating lemon juice. Often used in place of vinegar, lemon juice operates similarly for cleaning and removing tarnish on copper items.
For this way to clean copper easily, mix the cream of tartar and lemon juice in a small dish until they form a runny paste. For jewelry with small, intricate crevices, use a soft toothbrush to work down in between the cracks.
Gently scrub along the top of the jewelry, then leave it to absorb the cleaning agent for approximately 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly to ensure that no cream of tartar and lemon juice remain and pat clean with a dry cloth.
Apply Baking Soda for Brilliant Shine
Like cream of tartar, baking soda is a marvelous way to resort shine and luster to old copper pieces. One homemade jewelry cleaning solution also uses tea tree oil as a natural antifungal and disinfecting agent. Using witch hazel instead of the recommended vinegar also works well.
To clean copper jewelry, dunk the piece in a small bowl of vinegar, then add a single drop of tea tree oil. Leave the item to soak overnight, or for at least eight hours. Remove the jewelry item from the vinegar, then sprinkle with baking soda.
Using an old toothbrush, work the baking soda into the surface of the metal to quickly reduce the appearance of wear and tear. Avoid using this on settings with loose gemstones, however, as the toothbrush may dislodge the stone from the metal.
Cleaning Copper Jewelry with Soapy Water
Sometimes you don’t even need a fancy concoction to clean your favorite piece of copper jewelry. The best way to clean jewelry at times involves nothing more than a little soap and water to get the job done. When cleaning, use a plastic or glass bowl instead of metal containers.
Add the soap and water to a small glass bowl, whipping the contents until they get nice and foamy. Have a second bowl on hand to rinse off the jewelry.
Submerge your copper pieces in the soapy water for approximately ten minutes, then rinse in the clean water and dry. Doing this is a great routine to keep to ensure your jewelry stays clean while reducing the potential for tarnishing.
Remove Discoloration from Copper Pieces
One surprising copper cleaner is Worcestershire sauce. Similar to other cleaners like vinegar and ketchup, Worcestershire sauce uses acidic properties to blast through tarnish on copper.
It’s made from a base of vinegar and mixed with other ingredients for flavor. Use this product on its own or as an additive in other recipes.
Add it to your jewelry, and let it seep into the metal for several minutes. Afterward, wash with soap and water to clean away the remaining residue. Use a jewelry polishing cloth to buff it dry and restore the lustrous shine.
Commercial Ways to Clean Copper Jewelry
If making your own solution doesn’t appeal to you, then there are plenty of commercial copper cleaners available for purchase from the store. Brands like Brasso and Bar Keeper’s Friend are wonderful products to keep on hand in general.
Not only are these excellent when it comes to cleaning jewelry, but they are equally impressive when it comes to shining up doorknobs and various fixtures throughout the house. If using a commercial cleaner solution like Bar Keeper’s Friend, wet the items before using it.
Apply a small amount of the liquid or powder solution to a damp towel and clean the jewelry. Once done, rinse with warm water and buff dry with a polishing cloth.
Restore Luster to Jewelry with Ketchup
If you have small areas of your copper pieces that require a little more shine and a little less tarnish, then one essential ingredient to use is ketchup. Despite how strange it sounds, ketchup uses acetic acid to counteract rust and discoloration on your copper bracelet or rings.
It also cleans silver jewelry and takes care of cleaning copper pennies and other items using the same method. When using this tactic, rub the ketchup over the tarnished areas with your fingers or an old cloth. Let the ketchup soak into the material for approximately 15 minutes to work its magic.
Scrub the area with a soft cloth. Rinse the item afterward with some soap and water, then dry thoroughly.
Add Clear Coat for Long-Lasting Protection
One way to keep your copper jewelry clean is to prevent it from tarnishing in the first place. The best solution for this is to apply a sealant over the surface of the item. Doing this not only protects your copper items from rusting and damage, but it also limits the reaction in the metal that turns skin green.
There are many ways to seal your jewelry piece, including using clear nail polish. If the item is too large, however, then a commercial lacquer is also available at most stores.
Apply at least two coats, waiting at least 48 hours before adding the second coat of finish. This process also works wonders when attempting to preserve an intentional patina.
Final Advice for Cleaning Copper Jewelry
Still have questions about your copper jewelry? We have a few more tidbits for how to protect and care for your favorite copper pieces.
How often should I clean my copper jewelry?
The frequency with which you clean your copper items depends mainly on how often you use them and when. Jewelry you wear every day demands a more regular cleaning, generally once a week.
However, how often you use something is not the only factor to consider, especially since moisture is the major factor in developing patina.Where you use the jewelry item also matters.
If you don the copper piece at any point where you sweat excessively, or where the item may get additional exposure to water, then clean it much more frequently than pieces you don’t wear out to such places. To keep your jewelry lasting longer without tarnish, take it off before going to places like the gym or swimming pools.
Hopefully, these tips for cleaning copper jewelry are everything you are looking for and more. While there are certainly plenty of different strategies to choose from, it all comes down to what supplies you have available and which system works easiest for you.
Now that you have your preferred plan of attack in place, restoring the glorious shine to your favorite necklace or ring is simple as pie!
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