Cleaning Copper Pots

Joined Jun 9, 2001
Hello all. I djust got done with a party and I used small copper pots for the dips and sauces but when I came home to clean them, I cleaned them and noticed black spots and streaks on one of them but I don't know how to get them out.

I know copper needs to be cleaned and treated a special way but I am not sure how.

Any Ideas?
Joined Jan 30, 2002
When my old copper teakettle gets nasty looking, I get out a bottle of ketchup and "paint" the pot with ketchup, let sit for 5-10 min and then rub with the damp sponge (turning and rinsing the sponge frequently). It takes a bit of elbow greese, but works pretty well. I believe it's the acid in the tomatoes.
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I clean my copper bowl with Barkeeper's Friend. It comes out great.

Joined Nov 6, 2001
mix ,emon juice and salt...equal parts roughfly..and rub on copper great..



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Joined Oct 5, 2001
I have always used lemon and salt as well but have heard good things about Barkeepers Friend.
Joined Jan 3, 2002
I use Barkeeper's Friend on my stainless.
I use lemon and salt on my copper.
Both are easy to use and return the metal to a clean and shiny state.
Joined Oct 19, 2009
Its very easy! Use lime or vinegar and heat it and stir it!! Sure it will get off!! By the way have you heard of It really simplifies finding affordable cleaners. I used it to find them for my home and garden. Essentially, after I described what I needed on this site, I received several competitive bids from local cleaners. I liked the fact that I didn’t
have to call around and negotiate with each, and that they actually came to me.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
The black streaks are grease which has been heated to the point of welding itself to the copper.

You might want to start with something more gentle, but when you need some cleaning thuggery spray the pan with Easy-Off or a similar, caustic oven cleaner, let it sit for a while, then wash it off.

Some oven cleaners only work well when heated, if that's what you're using you'll have to put the pan in the oven for a little while. Ahh the sweet aroma of the fumes...

Note that you need to remove the oven cleaner completely before going to any sort of acidic cleaner.

The method isn't exactly "green," but it's beaucoup effective and requires far less scrubbing than BKF or the home made chemistry methods.

Speaking of which... Flour is a very gentle and very fine polishing agent. It's great for removing tarnish and leaving a glow behind, but it's not terribly effective against the tough stuff. Ditto, the salt/lemon method and its variants; not exactly strong, but a BIT more aggressive than flour.

BKF is good stuff, but still not what you'd call really strong, at least not without a lot of elbow grease. You should absolutely have some around the house for all sorts of things, including cleaning the stainless steel surfaces it's designed to clean. Worth a try before going to the poisons.

Hope this helps,
Joined Aug 7, 2008
The cans of Bar Keepers Friend I have are marked for Copper, brass, SS, tile, glass cook tops and porcelain. It also works well on enamled cast iron.
For any one shopping at Costco they are now have three packs but I'm not sure it is really any cheaper than Wally World.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
BKF is a fine grit abrasive mixed with a very mild, water soluble acid. It's good for anything that's good for; and not good for anything it is not.

It works well for light cleaning and polishing but has its limitations when it comes to heavy jobs. Unfortunately, there aren't any magical thug cleaning fairies in the those golden cardboard tubes.

I didn't mean to imply that it would only clean stainless, and am sorry as can be if my poorly expressed opinion on BKF's limitations caused anyone to feel his or her opinion was undervalued. They are all worthy of respect; each one a precious gem.

Joined Aug 7, 2008
That's really deep.
I just think we needed to clarify that BKF is good for a lot more than SS. I wasn't trying to make a statement. Lets not forget that by your own admission you get a little "cranky" over a simple typo.
No hurt feelings or thoughts of being "undervalued" here. :lol:
How about if I raise the :peace: flag.
Maybe we got off on the wrong foot. It may have even been my fault. I suck as a typist and I think I may have offended you initially when I was actually trying to agree with you. How about if I buy the coffee and we let the witty banter die. I'm certain we both have a lot in common and plenty of experience to share.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
You can buy the coffee if you let me buy the 12 year old, aged in casks sweetener.

Mmmmmmm sweetener,
Joined Aug 7, 2008
Works for me! We will be back in Hi in a little over a month so I plan to stock up on the Kona beans again.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
COPPERBRILL!!!!!!!! Leaves a great luster whereas BKF is an abrasive that leaves behind tiny microscratches.

I'm tellin' y'all to visit Rocky Mountain Retinning's website for further information concerning copper retinning and repolishing. The copperware they've retinned and polished for me has been sold but I stand 100% behind them, their quality of work, and their knowledge in repolishing copper. The utensils came back to me looking literally like new.

In the near future I'll have some before-and-after photos posted for your inspection.

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