What is Copper?
Copper has long been extracted from copper ores and used. Copper’s classic reddish glow is easy to spot. However, it should not be confused with other materials such as bronze or brass. Although they contain copper, they are mixed with tin and zinc. Therefore, before you begin cleaning, it is advisable to check if the piece is made of copper. This can easily be done with a magnet. Copper is not magnetic. It is a so-called non-ferrous metal and contains no iron. For instance, refrigerator magnets do not stay on pure copper.
Copper also gives a very nice classic look to interiors. It is tasteful and looks great in both modern and traditional homes. Its quirkiness blends well with simple backgrounds and does not become too lively.
Copper is not susceptible to corrosion, but external influences such as air and water can affect it. Also, over time, a green layer may form on the copper. This patina layer, also called noble rot rust or copper rust is very difficult to remove. The good news is that this oxide layer protects the copper underneath well and prevents it from “rusting” further. However, if you prefer shiny copper instead of green, it is essential to clean patinated copper regularly.
Extra tip: Before cleaning, make sure you remove the door hardware. This will ensure that you can reach hard-to-reach corners, clean the entire area evenly, and avoid damaging furniture and doors. You may also want to use a soft brush for difficult areas.
Polishing Aged Copper
There are several remedies on the market for polishing old copper. Copper polishes vary in quality but are generally quite effective. However, polishing copper can also be done efficiently with a mixture of salt and vinegar. Place the salt in a bowl and add the appropriate amount of vinegar. Mix well and use a cleaning cloth. You will see that the copper will be cleaned immediately. You can add lemon instead of vinegar if you like. A small amount of flour can also be added to act as a mild abrasive. After cleaning, it is essential to rinse the copper with water and dry it with a cloth.
Cleaning Very Old Copper
Cleaning very old copper is very difficult, as described above. If the copper has a greenish discoloration, the metal itself is partially oxidized. Therefore, it cannot be easily dispensed with. Try polishing the copper with a special polisher or drill attachment. You can also try removing the oxidation with white toothpaste and a toothbrush or soaking the copper in cola. If that doesn’t work, you will eventually have to ask a professional company to clean the copper by chemical methods. However, if simple means do not work, one may wonder if it is necessary to clean the old copper. After all, the green patina layer is from old copper, which is also attractive in its own right!
Cleaning Copper Stains
Copper stains can also be cleaned with vinegar. It is suitable for copper that has been exposed to oxygen for a long time and has begun to stain. This method may be too invasive for slightly more delicate or valuable items, such as coins or jewelry. However, cleaning vinegar works well for rough items such as door fittings.
Place a few teaspoons of salt in a small bowl and slowly add the vinegar. Continue stirring until smooth paste forms. Apply the paste to the surface to be cleaned with a cloth. Apply pressure evenly, depending on the degree of soiling. Then rinse off the paste with tap water and wipe off the water completely, ensuring that no paste or water remains on the object.
Solid stains can also be disinfected by boiling with water and vinegar. Mix 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water in a large pot and add plenty of salt. Place the copper object in the pot and bring to a boil for 15 minutes; let cool for at least 15 minutes, then wipe with a clean cloth. Then remember to rinse the pot well.
Let us know if these few tips have helped you in cleaning your copper items!