Copper is beautiful to look at, with its warm burnished color, and easy to use, because of its excellent heat conduction–but it is not maintenance free! The best way to keep your copper clean is to first of all, not let it get tarnished! There are chemical polishes you can use, but they may smell toxic and if you don’t feel comfortable using them, you can try the old fashioned, natural way to polish copper by using salt and lemon.
- Cut 1/3 off the end of a lemon and pour a very generous amount of salt onto the lemon.
- Scrub the copper piece with the salt-covered lemon, in circular motions, squeezing a bit of juice as you go, until all tarnish is gone. Reapply salt as needed. If you’re cleaning cookware with brass handles, this will clean the brass parts too.
- After the copper is polished, rinse with water and dry with a towel. You may also apply a light coat of olive oil and buff the copper to a warm glow.
Tip: Never store acidic foods such as fruits, salad dressings, or tomatoes in copper pots or pans, as the acid in these foods corrodes the copper and may produce toxic by-products.