The Easiest Way to Clean Copper

How-to-clean-copper-easily at Copper is beautiful when it’s bright and shiny with that glorious pinkish tinge but when it’s dirty and dull it is not such a pretty sight.  


I have a copper wash tub that was my Grandma’s.  It was used to do laundry for her 8 children.  {I am so thankful to have a Maytag!} The tub has been soldered with metal added that was not copper and it has dings, scratches and dents all over it.  It’s my idea of beautiful!  I have had that washtub for longer than I can remember and I have tried, on several occasions, to clean it and shine it but I always got discouraged.  My arm would get tired from all the rubbing and buffing and I never quite finished the job.  Then I saw this tip to use ketchup…yep, ketchup to clean copper.  I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  It was Christmastime (do you see how long it takes me to actually do some of my posts!) and I wanted to use the copper tub to hold one of my Christmas trees but there was no way I was going to use it in its then current state.  I brought it from my sunroom into my laundry room and started slathering it with ketchup.  

How-to-clean-copper from Supplies:

1 or more bottles of ketchup

Sponge-type scrubber for any grooves or areas that are a little stubborn to clean 


1.  Slather a thick coating all over your copper surface.  

2.  Let the ketchup stay on the copper for several hours but don’t let it dry.


3.  While still wet rinse the copper and wipe dry!  You may need to reapply a second coat of ketchup to some of the areas and use a scrubber to get the tough portions clean.  

  Antique-copper-wash-tub from

That’s it! Doesn’t it look so much better after?  Not perfect but I still love it!


 And here it was as part of my Christmas decor. 

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  1. Pinning! I have an old copper boiler in storage that could use a little shine, to say the least. Yours looks great! How’s the color holding up these past 7 months? Do you think you need to wax it after cleaning it?
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day´s last blog post ..Creating a Coastal Vibe with DIY Paintings | Project Inspire{d} Link Party Week 76

    • It still looks perfect, Diane. It hasn’t tarnished at all. I have it in the house now so that may be part of the reason it’s holding up. When I had it in the sunroom it was exposed to changes in temperature and more moisture than I have in the house. I never thought of waxing it!!!! That’s a great idea.

  2. I would have never guessed ketchup! I was thinking baking soda since it’s used on everything else..thanks for sharing!
    Becky Fry´s last blog post ..Makeup by One Direction Reader Giveaway! #makeupby1D #thelookscollection #markwins

  3. Ketchup is the bomb! I love this tip Mary Beth. I bought a set of copper canisters back in the Spring and cleaned them up the same way. It’s pretty amazing how easy and awesome this worked.
    Therese @ Fresh Idea Studio´s last blog post ..Easy DIY footstool update with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®

  4. What a “great to know” tip! I’d love for you to share it at my Twirl & Take a Bow Party. Hope you can stop by at
    Leslie @ House on the Way´s last blog post ..Twirl & Take a Bow Party – #103

  5. Would not have known to do this without your blog! Thanks so much for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!
    Pam@over50feeling40´s last blog post ..Jenny Craig: Changes All Around!

  6. Janet olson says:

    Caught this on Monday Funday. I used ketchup on our copper boilder like yours. Do you have a cover? We were very lucky and ours has one. Anyway I’ve never seen the slather ketchup and let it sit a few hours. No wonder my apply and scrub did such a poor job! Thanks.

  7. Such a fabulous tip! Thank you for sharing. You are one of the fan favorites today at the Sunday Showcase from the Make it Pretty Monday part at The Dedicated House. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. Hope to see your prettiness again tomorrow at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse
    Kathryn Griffin @TheDedicatedHouse´s last blog post ..Sunday Showcase from Make it Pretty Monday

  8. I don’t have any copper in my house any more, but I will keep this in mind for when I do get some. Who would have thought it could be so easy!
    Jayne´s last blog post ..New to Us Couches