Warm and bright, and loaded with healing properties, copper jewelry has been around for centuries. Famed for soothing joints and muscle aches, copper can also help combat the visual signs of aging, improve cardiovascular health, and balance emotions. As your copper cares for you, it's also important to care for your copper jewelry. Regular cleaning doesn't just keep this pretty metal shiny - it also helps reduce the effects of oxidation, which can impact the striking aesthetic on the surface of copper jewelry. We look at all the best ways to clean your copper jewelry and sketch out the pros and cons of each method.
Why You Should Clean Your Copper Jewelry
Keeping that orange copper shine on your jewelry not only keeps it glowing with that unique reddish gold coloring but also reduces the imprint of copper tarnish. Copper is quicker to tarnish than gold or sterling silver because of the oxidation process. As copper reacts to everything from sweat to chlorine and the chemicals in lotions and even your own skin, this exposure can cause your copper jewelry to tarnish, turn black, and leave your skin green after wearing. While all of this is normal copper behavior, it does mean that if you want to keep your beautiful copper jewelry bright, you need to lend a little TLC to keep it clean. Cleaning your copper jewelry regularly will bring it back to life, deliver that delightful shine, and remove blackness and any build-up of dirt, debris, leftover lotions, etc that may add to the green layer of natural patina being left on your skin. Cleaning copper jewelry is easy and can be done with a whole host of home products.
How To Clean Copper Jewelry
It's important to take good care of your copper jewelry with regular cleaning. Even if your copper piece has a stubborn tarnish, it can be saved and returned to its original shine with some simple home remedies and cupboard staple cleaning products. There are many methods for cleaning copper - from simple saltwater solutions to even pulling out the ketchup bottle or creating home cleaning solutions with natural ingredients; we have a host of ideas to help you bring your jewelry back to life.
How To Clean Copper Jewelry With Vinegar
Vinegar is a firm favorite when it comes to home cleaning, and white vinegar also lends itself well to copper too. Even though vinegar is acidic, it's mildly acidic, meaning it works as a disinfectant and will easily remove grime and debris without damaging your favorite piece of copper jewelry. Place your copper jewelry in a bowl of vinegar and allow it to soak for 15 minutes. Add table salt to the bowl to bring out even more polish and shine. Afterward, you should rinse it thoroughly and then pat dry and buff it to a shine with a soft cloth.
- simple method
- affordable materials
- avoid using vinegar if your copper pieces have gemstones
- can have a strong scent
Cleaning with Baking Soda and lemon juice
If vinegar is a little intense to your senses, you can also opt for lemon juice and baking soda. Fresh and fragrant lemon is known for its ability to slice through dirt and can bring a beautiful bright shine to your copper surface. It also has the added benefit of being a great disinfectant too. Baking soda is also a savvy choice if you want to bring a brand-new luster to your tired-looking copper pieces. To clean with this method, mix the lemon juice with baking soda until you have a baking soda paste. Use this paste and a soft toothbrush to scrub your copper jewelry before rinsing thoroughly and using a dry cloth to bring it to a shine. You can also add lemon juice and soda to a bowl and leave your pieces to soak for a few hours to remove more stubborn stains and tarnish marks.
- great for stubborn marks
- has an attractive aroma
- avoid using this method if your copper pieces have gemstones
Use Soapy Water for Light Cleaning
One of the simplest methods for light cleaning when it comes to your copper pieces is to use clean water and a gentle soap solution. Just a few drops of a sensitive dish soap solution is all it takes to keep your copper pieces cleansed from body oils and daily dirt. Use a soft cloth, soap, and warm water to gently cleanse your pieces, or if you want a more thorough clean, you can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush for a gentle scrub. Use a clean cloth to buff.
- simplest method
- low cost
- may not work on heavier grime
Lemon Juice and Salt
Bring the acidic element of lemon juice with the scouring power of salt in this simple cleansing mix. You can rid your precious pieces of stubborn marks and grime by sprinkling some table salt onto a freshly half-cut lemon and rubbing it against your copper jewelry. Rinse thoroughly afterward, pat dry, and use a jewelry polishing cloth to bring out some extra sparkle and shine.
- easy ingredients
- pleasant aroma
- avoid this method if your copper pieces have gemstones
Salt is an amazing cleaning agent and one of the most common household products. Salt works on many different kinds of metals, and copper is one of them. Even a tablespoon of salt can be enough to rid your jewelry of tough tarnishes and stains. Add salt to warm water and put it on the stove until the salt dissolves. Then take it off the stove and add your jewelry to the salt solution for a few minutes. You can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to rub away any grime. Rinse with water and use a microfiber cloth to bring your copper back to a lush rosy luster.
- easy method
- uses everyday household ingredients
- may not work on really tough stains
Worcestershire sauce is a great kitchen staple that you can use to clean and shine your copper jewelry. This condiment is made up of vinegar and salt (similar to ketchup), so these are two savvy ingredients for bringing shine to your copper pieces. To use Worcestershire sauce as a cleaning agent - cover your copper jewelry and let it sit for a few minutes. This gives time for the ingredients to lend their acidic properties and sink into tough stains and tarnish. Use a cloth to scrub any tricky areas. Wash thoroughly afterward and buff dry.
- good at removing discoloration
- can be messy
As tomato ketchup calls on the two main ingredients of vinegar and salt (not to mention the acidic element of tomatoes), it makes for a great home cleaning product alongside being one of the most popular condiments out there. Ketchup is a secret weapon for cleaning copper and is also great for bringing back sparkle and shine to silver jewelry. Cover your copper jewelry with a layer of ketchup and let it sit for a few minutes so the ingredients can work, dissolving the layer of copper oxide. Use a cloth to rub any black or tarnished areas, and then rinse with water, pat dry, and buff to a shine.
- a kitchen staple
- great at restoring shine
- not the cleanest job
- can have a strong scent
Lacquered vs. Unlacquered
A lacquer finish on your copper jewelry can be useful in helping prevent copper patina from leaving a green tinge when it reacts with human skin. It can also be a good way of slowing down the process of tarnishing and keeping your copper jewelry shiny. However, after time, even lacquered copper can become dull. Polishing your lacquered jewelry can help bring back the shine, although you shouldn't opt for methods that are as heavy as when you clean unlacquered jewelry, as you may end up scrubbing away the lacquer. With lacquered jewelry, you can simply use a polishing cloth.
Why Is Copper Used In Jewelry?
Copper is a popular choice for jewelry because of its unique coloring, range of healing properties, and wide availability. It's an easy metal that doesn't always break the bank. People love it for its positive impact on the body but also because it has spiritual significance and can serve as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual. Copper is clever and necessary for the body. As a balancer of emotions and a conductor of energy, wearing a copper item can infuse you with energy and meaning.
Are There Any Health Benefits?
Wearing copper jewelry has many health benefits, which is why it's a celebrated metal. Here are some benefits for body, mind, and soul that copper brings to the table...
- anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce aches and pains in the body
- helps build a strong immune system
- encourages the body to absorb iron
- is a conductor of energy
- can prevent the visual signs of aging
- can strengthen your bio aura
How do I get my copper jewelry to shine again?
If you want to bring the shine back to your copper jewelry, you can use a range of methods using household basics. Baking soda, lemon or saltwater soak, ketchup, and even vinegar can clean the tarnish from your copper products and make them sparkling new.
What is the best way to clean a copper bracelet?
Lemon, salt, lemon, and baking powder are among the most effective ways to clean a copper bracelet. If you want a gentle clean, you can also opt for warm water and soap or go down the saltwater route. A deeper clean can call for ketchup or vinegar to help buff back to shine.
How do you clean badly tarnished copper?
Lemon juice and baking soda, and a toothbrush are good ways of cleaning badly tarnished copper. You can also use ketchup as it has a strong acidity and the presence of salt and vinegar, which can remove tough stains.
How do you clean oxidized copper jewelry?
You can clean oxidized copper jewelry by making a thin paste of vinegar and salt, applying it to your copper pieces, and letting it sit for 15 minutes up to one hour, depending on how tarnished your piece is. Afterward, buff it with a microfiber cloth to bring it back to a beautiful shine.