Care for copper and brass

Brass and copper are some of the most stylish metals that can be found in the home, and both are sure to add an elegant touch to the décor in any room of the house. Whether you have copper cookware in the kitchen or statement pendant lighting in your living area, not only will it look sophisticated, but you are also guaranteed a long-lasting product.

There are a number of ways to make sure that your brass and copper homeware are kept in the best possible condition, and here we’ve put together a guide to help you look after your products in the correct manner.

How often should I clean brass and copper?

The surrounding air will cause brass and copper to tarnish over time, so it is important that you keep on top of this. Therefore, it is recommended that you dust brass and copper regularly and clean thoroughly every three months. Also, in order to protect them further, items which are not used for cooking can also be sprayed with a protective lacquer following cleaning.

Which products should I use to clean brass and copper?

There are many commercial products that can be used to clean brass and copper, such as Brasso and Town Talk Polish. However, there are also a number of natural ways which we detail below.

Ketchup

Tomato ketchup

The acid in tomatoes works wonders on brass and copper, so using tomato puree or ketchup is a great alternative to chemical products and one that you will also most likely already have at home in your fridge. Using a rag, cover the surface of your item with a tomato product of your choice and let it sit for a few minutes, before washing it off with soap and water.

Lemon

Lemons

Similarly, lemon juice also works very well with a sprinkling of coarse salt, which can be applied with a soft brush. Another method is to cut a lemon in half, and sprinkle table salt on the cut side of one half. You can then use the lemon as the applicator, while the salt acts as a mild abrasive. It is also possible to add non-iodized corn-starch into the mix, making sure to add enough lemon juice in order for the formula to create a paste-like consistency.

Baking soda

Baking soda

Not only useful for making bread rise, baking soda is also a fantastic cleaning ingredient for shining brass and copper when paired with lemon juice. Using equal parts of both, you can rub away the tarnished spots with a soft cloth like magic, restoring your item to its best.

Vinegar

Vinegar

White vinegar and flour, two more ingredients which can be found in your kitchen cupboards, also make a brilliant cleaning product when mixed together with salt. Paste onto the stain you wish to remove and leave for between 15 and 60 minutes, before removing with soap and water.

How should I store brass and copper?

As mentioned above, brass and copper are affected by the air, which can cause patina to develop. However, some prefer an aged look, for example when decorating a room with brass door knobs. For those who don’t, there isn’t much that can be done to items on display, other than regular cleaning and using a protective lacquer. However, those with copper or brass jewellery can keep this in a plastic zipper bag in order to prevent tarnishing when not being worn.

Tarnished copper

Other tips

When cleaning your brass or copper, it is essential that you always use natural cloths such as cotton, as synthetic ones can scratch the metal. You will also need to dry the items thoroughly, as any residual water could mean that the metal tarnishes quicker. Although only applicable to copper cookware, you should also avoid putting these items in a dishwasher, opting to wash by hand instead with the methods detailed above.

Image Credit: cobalt123, jeffreyw, Rob Bertholf, Kate Ter Haar, Jessica Spengler, Seldom Scene Photography, (Flickr.com)