How to Clean Copper Jewelry? – Step by Step Guide

Copper has been used to make jewelry for thousands of years. Its warm tone, durability, and availability make it one of the most sought-after materials for jewelry compared to other more expensive options, such as silver or gold. It is also believed to have healing properties that help soothe pain and reduce inflammation. 

However, compared to other materials, it is also more prone to getting tarnished or discolored over time and losing its shine forming greenish layers on the copper surface (patina). It is one of the major drawbacks of copper as it reacts with external factors such as oxygen, sulfides, humidity, dust, chlorine, and even human skin. 

The good news is, as easy as it is for copper to get tarnished, cleaning copper jewelry is just as easy and can be done with basic household products. This article will show how you can easily clean and maintain copper jewelry. So let’s get to it. 

Ways to Clean Copper Jewelry

Copper jewelry is usually available in two conditions. Lacquered and unlacquered. 

Lacquered

Copper is often lacquered or sealed with a polymer coating to prevent oxidation and exposure to other factors, thus making them last longer. It gives copper a lighter color and makes it look shinier. The downside is that the shine fades over time, making the jewelry look dull and damaged.

You can prevent it by polishing the jewelry with a polishing cloth. This will help your jewelry find its glow again. Find a polishing cloth specific for copper for the most effectiveness, and don’t do it too often or too much, as it can remove the lacquer completely and risk damaging it. Cleaning once every 2 to 3 months is ideal. 

Unlacquered 

Unlacquered copper jewelry is more prone to getting tarnished and damaged since they have no protective layers to shield them from external factors. 

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That’s why cleaning and maintaining them is important. And now, I’m going to tell you how you can clean your copper jewelry easily with common household ingredients. 

Methods: How to Clean Copper Jewelry

Easy DIY Method to clean copper jewelry

Okay then, Let’s get to cleaning! So, for copper jewelry, we have found several home remedies that work quite well. Copper is an easy material to clean. As long as the dirt isn’t too old or too settled, you can get it off one way or the other. Here are some of the best methods we have tried and loved.

Lemon Juice And Salt

The acidic nature of lemon juice combined with salt acts as a natural abrasive and helps clean the dirt and oxidation without being too harsh on the surface. You can use any kind of salt, and it works perfectly. 

Squeeze half a lemon, add one tablespoon of salt, and mix it thoroughly. Let the jewelry sit in the solution for 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the level of dirt and oxidation. Gently clean it with a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt or grime. If your jewelry has any gemstones, work around them to prevent contact. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth to get rid of all the moisture before storing it in a dry place. 

Vinegar And Salt

Vinegar is another natural stain remover. Mix vinegar with salt and place the jewelry in it for 10-20 minutes. Then rub the dirt off with a cloth, rinse with warm water and dry it. 

If there is too much dirt or oxidation on the jewelry, you can place the jewelry in the solution and bring it to a boil in medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrub off all the rough edges. Then rinse it with warm water and dry it thoroughly to get a new and shiny look. 

Vinegar, Salt, And Flour

It is one of the best ways to clean copper jewelry. Take vinegar in a small bowl, add one tablespoon of salt and then add some flour to make a cleaning paste. Apply it to the jewelry. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, gently scrub off any tarnish or dirt, gently rinse, and then remove all the moisture. 

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Baking Soda And Lemon Juice

Take lemon juice and water, mix them with 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and make a solution. Dip your copper jewelry in the solution and leave it overnight. Once all the dirt and grime are gone, rinse thoroughly with water and dry it properly. 

You can make an alternative paste with equal amounts of baking soda and lemon juice and rub the paste on the surface of the jewelry with a soft toothbrush to clean all the dirt. Once all the dirt is gone, rinse and dry with a soft cloth. 

The paste works better for less stubborn dirt.

Tomato Ketchup

Ketchup is an excellent cleanser for jewelry. You simply put some tomato ketchup on your copper jewelry and gently rub it with your hand or use a toothbrush or cloth to remove the dirt. 

Rinse it thoroughly with clean water, dry it with cloth or air, and then store it in a dry place. 

Jewelry Polishing Cloth

Jewelry polishing cloths are an excellent choice for cleaning your jewelry without causing any damage. Polish your jewelry with the cloth and ensure you get rid of all the dirt and tarnish. And then, wipe the jewelry with a clean, dry piece of cloth to get rid of any moisture. Make sure you use a cloth polish designed specifically for copper material since the other ones have been less effective in our experience.

Industrial Copper Cleaners

If your copper jewelry is heavily tarnished and none of these methods work for you, you can buy a commercial cleanser for copper. But, of course, we’d recommend trying out all the methods before you opt for a heavy-duty chemical solution.

Soak your copper in the solution or dip a clean cloth in the cleaning solution and rub your jewelry gently. Then rinse and dry as usual. 

Pro tip: For gentle cleaning, you can also use soap and water, toothpaste, rubbish alcohol, coke, salt water, etc. 

Related Post : How to clean stainless steel jewelry

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Precautions to Take while Cleaning Copper Jewelry

When you have jewelry, especially made from copper material, cleaning will be part of your maintenance routine sooner or later. Trust me; it gets better as you go. So, keep at it. But that doesn’t mean it has to be rocket science. Here are some precautions to warn you on what not to do-

  1. Avoid gemstones while cleaning your copper jewelry to avoid damage. 
  2. Use acidic substances if your jewelry has any gemstones on them. 
  3. Don’t soak your copper jewelry too long in the solution, as it might damage the metal or the design. 
  4. Avoid storing them in a moist or open space, as it fastens the oxidation process. 
  5. Remove your jewelry before going into the swimming pool or getting soaked in the rain, as that might rust or tarnish them. 
  6. Don’t use rough toothbrushes or abrasives as they might damage the material. Always pat dry with a soft clean cloth.
  7. Store your jewelry in a dry, airtight space to avoid tarnish and ensure its longevity. 
  8. Apply sealant to your copper jewelry to get a shinier look and to protect it from external factors. You can lacquer or apply a polymer coating to make your jewelry look new and last longer. 

FAQs

  1. Why does copper Jewelry stain my skin?
  • Copper jewelry can react with sweat, lotion, and other products on your skin, oxidize and create a green type of “film” on the jewelry, which can transfer and stain your skin. However, it is not harmful to your skin in any way. You can simply wash your skin with soap and water to remove the stain. 
  1. Is copper Jewelry harmful? 
  • Although there is no scientific proof that copper affects pain or healing, they are not harmful or has any major side effects on your body. 
  1. Which is the best way to clean Copper Jewelry? 
  • Salt, vinegar, and flour method. 

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