Copper bracelets are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they come with a whole host of healing benefits. From helping soothe the aches and pains of arthritis to calming the mind and even creating stronger links with astral beings - it’s no surprise that this ancient element is a much-needed mineral for our bodies. Part of the amazing allure of copper is its golden red color and sweet shine. Keeping your copper looking bright and fresh takes a little TLC, as it can be a metal that tarnishes easily. Keeping your copper clean isn’t just about the visuals but will also help prolong its lifespan and ensure that it keeps ticking at a higher level of healing as dirt and grime can get in the way of its precious energy.
The Science of Copper Oxidation and Tarnishing
Copper can be considered a sensitive metal in the fact that its chemical makeup likes to mingle with other natural elements like oxygen, sweat, natural body oils, and moisture. This reaction causes copper oxidation and leads to patina forming on the surface of the copper. Patina is a change in the surface, and in copper's case, it often takes on a green film or a tarnished dull brown or black appearance. If you think about other metals like iron - patina works on copper in the same way that rust works on iron - a natural reaction when oxygen meets the atoms present in metal and water. When wearing a copper bracelet, this chemical reaction can leave a green patina on the skin. While this isn’t harmful at all, it is beneficial to keep your copper clean so that you slow down the oxidation process and tarnishing, and your bracelet stays bright and beautiful.
How to Clean a Copper Bracelet: Simple Tips and Tricks
Cleaning your copper bracelet doesn’t have to be a chore - there are plenty of quick, simple, and effective homemade methods that can bring your copper bracelet back to its brilliant shine. From easy salt and lemon solutions to commercial cleaners, your copper cleaning methods will depend on how tarnished your bracelet already is. We go over some of the most common tricks and techniques for keeping copper free from tarnish.
Step 1: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution
Lemon Juice and Salt Solution - A store cupboard staple - sprinkle some salt onto a half-cut lemon and then rub your copper bracelet with the lemon. The acidic element of the lemon and the abrasive nature of salt gets to work on removing burnished bits and tarnished stains.
Vinegar and Salt Solution - Vinegar and salt is another acidic/abrasive combination that can easily work to remove stains and keep your copper sparkly. White vinegar also works as a disinfectant, so it has the added bonus of killing off grime and bacteria. All you need to do is add a tablespoon of salt to a cup of white vinegar.
Baking Soda and Water Solution - Baking soda is another magic ingredient that can bring brightness back to your copper jewelry. Use a little water and baking soda to create a paste - if you want to add some buff and shine, you can also add a dash of lemon juice.
Step 2: Clean Your Copper Bracelet
Dip a Soft Cloth in the Cleaning Solution - make sure you use a soft cloth when cleaning your copper bracelet as you want to avoid any gritty materials or abrasive materials that can scratch the surface of your piece.
Gently Rub the Bracelet - gently rub your bracelet using circular motions if possible to ensure whatever cleaning solution you have chosen is evenly spread across the surface. You can also leave the solution for a few minutes on the bracelet so it has time to sink in and work its cleaning magic.
Rinse with Water - thoroughly rinse your copper bracelet to ensure all traces of the cleaning solution are washed away.
Dry with a Soft Cloth - buff your copper piece dry with a soft cloth to bring it back to a radiant shine.
Step 3: Polish Your Copper Bracelet
Use a Copper Polish Cream - you can pick up a copper polishing cream from any jeweler or online. Make sure that you pick a cream that is specifically made with copper in mind.
Apply Cream on a Soft Cloth - put a small amount of the cream on a soft cloth or sponge. Again make sure that the sponge or cloth is designed for polishing a soft metal like copper so that it doesn’t leave scratches or marks on the surface.
Rub the Bracelet Gently - use a gentle circular motion to rub the cream onto the bracelet and keep rubbing until you notice the tarnish starts to fade or the bracelet start to change color and shine.
Rinse with Water - rinse your bracelet with warm water (not hot) to remove any traces of the polishing cream.
Dry with a Soft Cloth - use a soft dry cloth to dry your copper bracelet properly, and again, make sure it's a jewelry polishing cloth designed for buffing and polishing soft metal so that it doesn’t scratch the surface.
Tips for Maintaining Your Copper Bracelet
Avoid Exposure to Moisture and Chemicals - if you want to keep your copper bracelet bright and shiny, do all you can to limit its exposure to chemicals and water to slow down the oxidation process. This means taking your bracelet off when swimming and showering or when working out if you are prone to sweating.
Store in a Dry Place - when not wearing your copper bracelet, you may also want to keep it safe in a dry place. Consider keeping it inside a jewelry box or other jewelry airtight container so it's not exposed to fluctuating temperatures and other elements.
Clean Regularly - regular cleaning of your copper piece will also help keep it looking bright but will also extend its life span and reduce the potential of a green layer of patina on the surface of copper jewelry. You can also think about creating a protective barrier on your copper surface by painting the inside of the bracelet with clear nail polish or by opting for a lacquer finish.
Safety Precautions When Cleaning Copper Bracelets
Take special care when cleaning your copper items, especially if using chemical cleaners. Make sure that you wear gloves to protect your skin, ventilate the space, and try not to inhale too much of the commercial copper cleaner. Most homemade cleaning remedies are safe, although if you have sensitive skin, you may also want to wear gloves when using these. Another safety factor when cleaning your tarnished copper bracelet is making sure only to use microfiber cloths, soft sponges, and a soft toothbrush for cleaning rather than cloths and sponges with abrasive surfaces, as this could cause damage and scratches on the copper surface.
Identifying and Caring for Different Types of Copper Bracelets
There are different types of copper bracelets out there, and you may need to tweak your care routines to suit them. Here are some simple tips for caring for different kinds of copper.
Pure copper - if you have a pure copper bracelet, it will be very shiny and bright and comes free of any plating or coating. Over time it will naturally tarnish, but you can keep it shiny with regular gentle cleaning (with homemade solutions), and this can help keep it looking pure and polished.
Copper-plated - copper-plated pieces have the appearance of copper thanks to a thin layer of red gold metal being applied to stainless steel or another material. To avoid stripping back the plating, you will want to clean this piece of copper jewelry with simple non-abrasive techniques like soapy water.
Treated copper-treated copper jewelry will have a protective layer to prevent the patina from turning your skin green. It could be a lacquer, polish, or wax, and again, like plated copper, it will need careful and gentle cleaning - preferably with mildly soapy warm water and dry cloth.
Conclusion: Keep Your Copper Bracelet Looking Brand New
Copper has a beautiful shine, and part of its gorgeous look comes from that sunset gleam. Keeping your copper bracelet clean and honoring its original shine is simple and just requires a little TLC. By keeping your copper clean, not only will you keep it looking good, but you help to extend its lifespan and can enjoy copper-on-skin contact for all its healing benefits. Whether you choose a copper cleaning process from household ingredients or a more industrial approach, caring for your copper keeps that shiny appearance and amazing energy.
What is the easiest way to clean a copper bracelet?
One of the easiest ways to clean copper bracelets is with soapy water and a clean, dry cloth. If you have stubborn tarnish or tough stains, you can also use common household items like lemon and salt, salt and vinegar, or baking soda paste.
How do you remove tarnish from a copper bracelet?
There are several ways of removing tarnish from a copper bracelet. Depending on the rate of tarnish, you can use half a lemon and table salt, vinegar and salt, and baking soda and water. For tough stains and deep tarnishing, you can use Worcestershire sauce or a layer of ketchup or tomato sauce.
Can you wash a copper bracelet?
You can wash copper jewelry pieces in water with mild dish soap as long as you dry them thoroughly afterward with a clean cloth. Limiting your copper bracelets' exposure to moisture and water can slow down the oxidation process and prevent the green residue from staining the skin.
Can You Use Toothpaste to Clean a Copper Bracelet?
Yes, you can clean copper with toothpaste. A very small amount of toothpaste on copper has been said to help polish tarnished metal. Rub a small amount of toothpaste onto the item, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse with cold water and buff with a dry cloth until it reaches that bright shine.
Can You Clean a Copper Bracelet with a Polishing Cloth?
Yes, you can clean a copper bracelet with a polishing cloth. You can either use the polishing cloth to buff it back to a shine at the end of a clean, or you can dip the polishing cloth in copper tarnish cleaner or cleaning paste and use this on the bracelet if it has stubborn marks.
Can You Wear a Copper Bracelet in Water?
It's always best if you avoid wearing a copper bracelet in water as moisture can speed up the oxidation process and lead to the copper tarnishing or leaving a copper patina on the skin. Remove your bracelet when in swimming pools, showering, and doing anything that could cause excess sweating.