How to Clean Copper Wire Scraps


There really is only one reason to clean off copper wire scraps, and that's to recycle it for a bit of cash. Most recyclers require that the copper you bring in for recycling be clean of insulation or grit and grime -- though not overly so, obviously. It doesn't have to sparkle in the sunlight, just be clean enough to recycle properly. Because of this, it's fairly simple to clean copper wire.

Things You'll Need

  • fine-grit sandpaper
  • Wire stripper or utility knife.
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Small container
  • Use your wire stripper or utility knife to peel away any bits of insulation from the copper wire. Place the newly-stripped wire into a pile and discard the insulation.

  • Place several bits of copper wire onto a sheet of fine-grit sandpaper, then place a second sheet of sandpaper, grit-side down, over the wire.

  • Rub the wire between the two pieces of sandpaper vigorously. This will help remove most of the oxidation or grit and grime from the copper wire.

  • Place the copper wire aside in a container, then repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you have scrubbed all your copper wire scraps.

  • Pour about a half-cup of vinegar into a small container and add a teaspoon of salt. Mix this around a bit, then put the copper scraps into the solution. The acid in the vinegar will eat away at any oxidation or other grime that your sandpaper missed.

  • Leave the copper in the vinegar solution for as long as is needed to remove any remaining tarnish from the scraps.

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