How to Burnish Copper

Save

When copper reacts with oxygen in the air, it turns dull, dark and even green. This tarnish is called a patina. The patina covers only the surface of the metal and can be removed by burnishing, or polishing, which restores the copper's rosy color and shine. You can make your own polishing agents from weak household acids and salt, or buy a commercial copper cleaner. For heavily tarnished items, you can also use an abrasive scrubber, such as steel wool.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon juice or vinegar
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Copper cleaner
  • Grade 000 steel wool

Natural Polishing Agents

  • Make a paste of lemon juice, salt and flour in a bowl. You can replace lemon juice with vinegar for mild tarnish.

  • Dip a soft cloth into the paste and rub the copper with quick, circular motions.

  • Rinse off the paste with warm water when the color and shine have returned. Dry with a soft cloth.

Commercial Copper Cleaners

  • Put a small amount of copper cleaner onto a wet cloth.

  • Briskly rub the copper with the cloth.

  • Rinse off the cleaner when the patina is removed. Dry with a cloth.

Using Steel Wool

  • Evaluate the condition of the copper. Steel wool should only be used on heavily tarnished metal, as it creates small scratches in the metal.

  • Other People Are Reading

  • Select a grade 000 steel wool or finer. Wet the wool with warm water.

  • Rub the copper with brisk, circular motions until the patina is removed. Rinse the copper with warm water, and dry with a soft cloth.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Can You Paint Copper Plumbing?

    You can paint copper plumbing as long as you employ the proper preparation techniques. Copper is a nonporous, durable surface that is...

  • How to Clean Copper

    Copper is a beautiful metal. Its beauty, however, happens to be vulnerable to the effects of nature. Therefore, copper requires a high...

  • How to Burnish Metal

    Burnishing is the process of polishing metal to give it a smooth shiny finish. It is often used on soft metals such...

  • How to Burnish Wood

    Burnishing is a process applied to wood after the final coat of lacquer is allowed to dry. Burnishing is the blending of...

  • Using a Foiler in Copper Foiling

    Foilers are important tools for copper foiling. Learn how to use a foiler in this free video clip about using copper foiling...

  • Tarnish Prevention for Copper Jewelry

    Copper is a very popular metal that can be made into jewelry. Not only does its red-brown outer appearance make it aesthetically...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!