How to Clean Copper Pots

Do you know how to clean copper pots effectively? If you are like many, you love to cook with copper pots and pans because copper conducts heat so beautifully. You may also have copper pots and pans simply for display purposes.

Copper and Oxidation
Copper, like other metals, oxidizes when exposed to air. This can eventually lead to an attractive greenish patina that antique collectors cherish. However, having a patina isn't necessarily good for cooking. If the patina in uneven, the copper will conduct heat differently, which can lead to scorched food on the pans.

How to Clean Copper Pots
First, never use an abrasive scrubber on the bottom of your copper pans. Always use a soft cloth when cleaning or polishing.

If you like, you can purchase a copper cleaner/polisher and follow the product's directions to bring the copper pots back to a "shiny-new" appearance. However, there are "home remedies" that you also might try which can save you money. For example, pour a little baking soda onto a small plate. Take a slice of lemon and rub it in the soda. Wipe the slice on the copper, rinse the pot in water and then dry the pot using a soft cloth. You might also try making a paste with salt and lemon juice and applying the paste on the copper. Follow this with a rinse with water and a dry with that soft cloth.

By the way, you can have your patina and cook, too. You can always simply wash your pots in soapy water and go with it. In addition, you might try a mix of one-quarter cup of vinegar with two tablespoons of coarse salt to form a paste. Apply the paste to the copper, rinse with hot water and dry the pot. To treat heavy spots, wipe some catsup on the areas in question. After ten minutes, wash and dry the pot.


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Why does copper oxidize? Many metals change color when exposed to oxygen. This occurs when the metal loses one or more electrons, leading to corrosion. As an example, when iron oxidizes, the result is rust.

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