Copper utensils may be nifty but they sure are difficult to clean.
Copper's bronze-like sheen diminishes with age, and a residue of oil will stain the inside of a copper pot and seep into food if not cleaned regularly.
You can get rid of copper stains easily with household methods using lemon, salt, vinegar, and baking soda, or you can buy your own copper cleaning cream.
Method 1：Scrubbing with Lemon and Salt
1.Pour salt onto a plate.
Anywhere between 1 tbsp and 1/4 cup is plenty.
The coarser the salt, the better, but plain table salt will do.
All kinds of salt are abrasive, so when rubbed against copper surfaces, salt provides the friction you need to scrub away grime.
2.Cut a lemon in half and dip one half in the salt.
The acidity of lemons makes them a great ingredient for cleaning in general, but when paired with the abrasiveness of salt they are even more powerful on copper stains.
- While using a salted lemon is the most commonly recommended method for cleaning copper utensils, it may be too corrosive on lighter stains.
If you want to be extra careful not to scratch your copper, you can opt to make a paste with lemon juice instead.
In a bowl, mix lemon juice and salt in a 3:1 ratio with more lemon juice than salt.
The salt will dissolve slightly in the juice, making the solution less coarse against surfaces.
Dip a cloth in the solution and use it to clean the copper.
- Lemons are useful in cleaning for their acidity.
If you don't have lemon or lemon juice on hand, vinegar—which is also acidic—is a strong alternative.
White vinegar is more acidic than other vinegars, so if you have it, use it.
Combine a mixture of 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 salt, dip a cloth in the mixture, and use it to clean the copper.
3.Apply the salted lemon-half directly to the copper and scrub.
Scrub the entire surface of the utensil with the lemon until the copper is shiny again.
For really stubborn areas (for example, the bottom of the pot), leave the salt and lemon juice to sit for 10-30 minutes before rinsing
4.Rinse the utensil and dry it with a clean cloth.
Rinse first with warm, soapy water, then rinse again with just water.
Once you've rinsed, polish your utensil with a clean, dry washcloth.
Method 2：Making a DIY Copper Polish
1.Gather your ingredients.
You can make your own effective copper-cleaner by mixing several common household ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
You may also want to store some in a container so that you'll have it on hand for later use.
Begin by gathering:
· Powder detergent (any kind)
· White vinegar
· Lemon juice
2.Mix an equal amount of each ingredient in a small bowl.
Mix well, so that the dry ingredients are dissolved evenly.
There should be no clumps in the liquid by the time you're finished stirring.
- For a big batch, use 1 cup of each ingredient.
For smaller batches, 1/2 cup of each ingredient works well.
For one cleaning, you only need enough to cover the surface of your copper utensil.
- Most of these ingredients have workable alternatives.
If you don't have lemon juice, orange juice will do, while baking soda can be subbed in for powder detergent
3.Dab a nylon dish scrubber or soft sponge in the mixture and scrub.
This mixture is already more corrosive than other methods, so don't use too coarse a sponge to scrub the copper.
Using the soft side of the sponge will help you avoid scratching the metal.
- If you would rather leave your copper utensil to soak than rub it clean yourself, boil 3 cups of water and add in 1 cup vinegar and 1 tbsp salt.
Let the salt dissolve.
Leave the copper utensil in the water for 2-5 minutes.
4.Rinse and dry the copper utensil.
Make sure you've rinsed out any residual salt in the copper by holding the pot under water for at least a full minute.
Dry with a clean cloth.
Method 3：Cleaning with Worcestershire Sauce
1.Soak a soft sponge with three dollops of Worcestershire sauce.
Worcestershire sauce is made of primarily vinegar with other added flavors like anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, and garlic.
The fermented mixture and vinegar base make it an ideal substance for cleaning copper.
- As a more common alternative to Worcestershire sauce, many experts recommend ketchup—the acidity of the tomatoes helps combat grime.
But its effectiveness can vary.
Both ketchup and Worcestershire sauce are good for light-intensity stains, while more abrasive mixtures work well for high-intensity stains.
2.Rub the sponge over the surface of your copper utensil.
Try to cover as much of the surface with sauce as you can.
Then, let the sauce sit for 1-2 minutes.
3.Wipe off the sauce with a clean cloth and rinse your copper utensil.
Use a clean rag to wipe off the Worcestershire sauce.
Then, rinse the item in warm, soapy water; rinse thoroughly, or the utensil may retain the smell of the sauce!
Dry the copper item until its varnish is shiny again.
Method 4：Buying a Pre-Made Copper Cleaning Cream
1. Research which cream is right for your copper utensil.
- If you want your copper utensil to remain looking like-new, clean it with cream after every use.
If you want your copper utensil to develop a patina—a light layer of oil build-up on the inside of the pan which helps keep copper from seeping into the food you cook—use your cream only when the utensil is dirty.
2.Rinse the copper utensil before applying any cream.
Thoroughly wash your copper utensil in the sink under warm, soapless water.
3.Dip a cloth or soft sponge in the cleaning cream and rub.
With professional cleaning creams, a little goes a long way: you should use a dollop the size of a silver dollar.
Using the soft cloth, rub the cream all over the surface and interior of the pan.
Let sit for 30 seconds.
4.Rinse the copper utensil again.
In the sink under running water, wash off all the cream from the copper.
Use your hands to make sure all sides are rinsed thoroughly.
Then, dry with a clean rag.