how to clean copper jewelry

How to Clean Copper Jewelry (Six DIY Techniques)

Copper jewelry is attractive, durable and has links to an array of health benefits. Scientific research associates copper with antimicrobial and antifungal properties, both of which facilitate the treatment of skin diseases.

On the downside, it is unlike other metals. It gets oxidized easily and begins to tarnish. The change in appearance takes away the shine and appeal of the reddish-brown metal thereby rendering jewelry useless. Such a situation can be avoided by learning how clean copper jewelry.

How to clean Copper Jewelry

Cleaning copper jewelry is not a one way affair. There are numerous DIY methods. However, the approach you choose should depend on how badly your collection is tarnished, the readily available cleaning supplies and the level of cleaning that you intend to achieve.

Method 1: Jewelry Polishing Cloth

If wearing copper jewelry is a regular part of your dressing routine, then its best that you go for a copper jewelry polishing cloth. These readily available cleaners are jewelry savers. They remove every day dirt and can last for years. All you need is to simply wipe your jewelry thoroughly as often as needed, and store appropriately. If the cloth begins to turn black, continue using it for as long as it gets the job done.

Method 2: Lemon and Salt

If your jewelry is tarnished and requires a bit of more work, this is one of the best methods to go for. The cleaning supplies are regular household items and you will get the job done in less than five minutes.

how to clean copper jewelry

What You Need

  • Lemon/lime
  • Iodized salt
  • Microfiber cloth


Step 1: Cut lemon into half and salt the cut side of one half. Rub it against the surface of the tarnished jewelry until it is clean. You might need to use more than one lemon depending on the kind of tarnish you need to remove and the size of jewelry collection.

Step 2: Rinse the jewelry with running water and dry off with a microfiber cloth.

Alternatively, squeeze out enough lemon juice in bowl and add salt. Soak your jewelry in the mixture for about 3 minutes and use a non-scratch cloth to clean thoroughly. Rinse with running water and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

Method 3: Vinegar and Salt

With this method, you can use vinegar alone or make a solution of vinegar and salt.

What You Need

  • White Vinegar
  • Iodized salt (Optional)


Step 1: Put enough vinegar to cover your jewelry in a plastic bowl and add a dash of salt.

Step 2: Place your jewelry in the solution and let soak for 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: Clean gently with a non-scratch cloth.

Step 4: Rinse with running water to get rid of the distinct smell of vinegar and use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry.

Method 4: Vinegar, Flour and Salt

Use this method to restore the shine and sparkle of your copper and brass jewelry.

What You Need

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth


Step 1: Mix equal portions of flour and salt in a plastic or glass bowl and add enough white vinegar to form a paste.

Step 2: Cover your jewelry with the paste and let rest for at least 1 hour.

Step 3: Clean thoroughly with warm water and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

Step 4: Repeat the procedure if you notice some traces of tarnish.

Method 5: Ketchup

The ketchup method is excellent for cleaning copper jewelry that is decorated with gemstones. Gems are highly delicate and should not be subjected to any of the above home cleaning agents.

how to clean copper jewelry

What You Need

  • Ketchup
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth


Step 1: Cover your copper jewelry with ketchup except for the area(s) that is decorated with gemstones.

Step 2: Clean gently with a toothbrush.

Step 3: Rinse the cleaned areas with cold or warm water and use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry.

Method 6: Baking Soda, Salt and Lemon Juice

Just like with many other things, baking soda is an excellent cleaner for copper jewelry.

What You Need

  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Lemon Juice
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Plastic Bowl


Step 1: Mix equal parts of baking soda and salt in a bowl

Step 2: Add enough lemon juice to form a paste

Step 3: Use your hands, a soft toothbrush or a non-scratch cloth to rub the paste on the jewelry.

Step 4: Let sit for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly with running water.

Step 5: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry.

Method 7: Use Commercial Cleaners

If you are not in a position to go through the struggle of DIY methods, consider investing in a commercial copper jewelry cleaner. A reputable brand should serve your interests well without destroying the quality of your jewelry.

Tips for Maintaining Copper Jewelry

Maintaining copper jewelry will allow it to last longer without losing its shine and sparkle.

  • Avoid mixing your copper jewelry with the rest of your collection. Some metals can easily react and loose their original appearance when they come into contact with other materials.
  • Wipe your jewelry well after every use. Worn jewelry comes into contact with sweat and body lotions. It is important to wipe off these substances to prevent quickened tarnishing.
  • Keep copper jewelry away from moisture and other substances that can contribute to discoloration and tarnishing.
  • Do not wait until your copper jewelry develops patina. Invest in a good cleaning routine once in a while for durability purposes.

Why Does Copper Jewelry Turn Skin Green?

It is normal for copper jewelry to turn the skin green after prolonged wear because of oxidation. The color change has nothing to do with a harmful effect or an allergic reaction. You can apply a thin layer of colorless nail polish on your jewelry prevent this reaction. However, it is important to note that this impacts the quality of the jewelry in a negative way once it begins to chip off. A better method is to coat the jewelry with a car or jewelry wax.

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