How To Clean Copper Jewelry

Knowing how to clean copper jewelry will help you preserve the beauty of your pieces without the expense of having to bring them to a professional cleaner. Read on for tips on how to take care of and clean the copper jewelry in your collection.

To clean copper jewelry, you will need:

  • Water
  • A non-metallic container
  • Salt
  • A weak acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice)
  • Ketchup (optional)
  • A jewelry-polishing cloth (optional)
  1. Make the mixture. In order to clean your copper jewelry, mix the water, weak acid and salt in the non-metallic container. Don't use a metallic container, because the same chemical reaction that removes the copper oxide from your copper jewelry can affect the container.
  2. Place your jewelry in the container. Alternatively, if you have any concerns about how the mixture will affect your copper jewelry, dip a cloth in the mixture and wipe the jewelry with it (you may need to leave out the water to do this). Clean your copper jewelry until all traces of copper oxide are gone.
  3. Rinse your copper jewelry thoroughly. Don't forget this step! A compound called malachite can form on copper cleaned in this mixture, turning your copper jewelry a blue-green color if you don't rinse it right away. Make sure that your jewelry is fully dried after rinsing.

Note that ketchup can also be used to clean your copper jewelry. Ketchup is, after all, a combination of acids and salt. Use a jewelry-polishing cloth to polish around gemstones or non-copper metals that are part of your copper jewelry. As with all valuable items, take care when cleaning your copper jewelry, especially if there is a possibility that your jewelry might be made of an alloy (more than one type of metal). Different types of metal respond in different ways to cleaning solutions. In addition, you should not use the cleaning solution on any gemstones set in the copper piece. If it is a very important piece, consider asking a professional about cleaning your copper jewelry.

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