How to Clean Copper Awnings

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Copper is unique as a metal. It has an unusual color that ranges from pink to bright orange, is conductive and is used in electrical wiring. Copper is also a soft metal and is easily bent and molded into distinctive shapes for jewelry and household items. But copper also tarnishes very easily, which some people consider more attractive than the fresh copper look. To maintain the bright, shiny look of your copper items, you need to wash and polish them to keep them looking new. Copper is not difficult to clean, but it does need to be maintained frequently. But the beauty of copper makes the extra effort worth it in the long run. The following information will help you take the best care possible of your copper awnings.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Water
  • Soap
  • 2 soft cloths
  • Tomato juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Rubber gloves
  • Begin by washing the awning with warm, soapy water. This should always be the first step in cleaning copper awnings. You will likely need some serious elbow grease in the process but this should get the initial dirt and grime off the copper surface. You will need to use a ladder to get up to the awning.

  • Clean an awning that has minor tarnish problems with a simple paste made with vinegar, salt and all-purpose flour. Mix all the ingredients equally to get a consistency similar to paste. Apply this paste with a soft cloth, then rinse the awning thoroughly with the garden hose and use a dry, soft cloth to buff the copper until it shines like new.

  • Clean an awning with severe tarnish by combining equal parts of salt and lemon juice. Make sure you only use real lemon juice for this. Rub the mixture onto the metal and rinse well. Once the copper has dried again, buff the metal with a soft cloth until it shines brightly.

  • Remove tarnish and stains from your copper awning by applying tomatoes or tomato-based products to the metal. The acidic juice will work wonders on the stains and tarnish. As mentioned before, scrub vigorously with the tomato juice and then rinse the awning clean. Buff it to a shine once it has dried.

  • Use commercial copper cleaners when you want the polishing job to last longer, as the commercial products quite often contain tarnish reduction and preventative ingredients. If your awning is lacquer-free, in other words, "natural", this will help you to not have to wash and polish your awning quite so often. You can use such products as Copper Glo Powder and Copper Glo Liquid cleansers. These can be purchased through www.barkeepersfriend.com. You can either order online or you can print out their order form and mail in your order.

Tips & Warnings

  • It will take a lot of muscle to clean your copper awnings. Make sure you have all your equipment handy before you begin.
  • Be careful while using a ladder to climb up on the roof of your home. Ladders can tip easily, especially if the soil is loose. Always have an assistant to help hold the ladder.
  • Make sure you wear gloves while cleaning your awning, especially when using chemical cleaners.

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