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How to clean copper cookware

Copper pots and pans are wonderful for cooking, but over time they can develop tarnish. While tarnish doesn’t affect their performance, it’s not pretty. It’s worth mentioning that the tarnish patina actually protects the copper from corrosion. If you can live with the look of the tarnish, you may want to just leave it alone and continue cleaning your cookware normally.

But if you want to get rid of tarnish, here’s how to do it.

Cleaning copper cookware

  1. Wash your cookware in warm water and dry it completely.
  2. With a soft cloth, apply a homemade cleaning solution* to the tarnished areas, rubbing in brisk circles.
  3. Rinse the solution off with clean water.
  4. Dry it with a soft cloth, then buff it to bring back the original shine.

*The homemade solution you want to use depends on how bad the tarnish is.

  1. Mild tarnish: mix a tablespoon of salt with a cup of vinegar.
  2. Moderate tarnish: mix one part salt with one part lemon juice.
  3. Severe tarnish: use tomato paste or ketchup.

Never use abrasive cleansers or steel wool to clean copper.

How to avoid tarnish in the first place

Copper usually tarnishes due to being used to cook highly acidic foods. Fruits, tomato and vinegar should never be boiled in copper cookware.