Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to clean copper pots for pennies

Lemon and salt ready to tackle dirty cooper bottom pot.
I'm always amazed when I look under my sink to see how much cleaning "stuff" I have purchased when none of that toxic stuff works as well as some cooking staples that I have in my cupboard.

One of the most fun items to clean is copper pots. The change is so dramatic. So, try some of these recipes and forgo the $25 price tag of copper cleaner.

Here are four different recipes for cleaning copper:
  1. Lemon juice and cream of tartar. Not everyone has cream of tartar in their cupboard, but if you ever want sugary icing to be creamier or beaten eggs to be fluffier, then you need some cream of tartar. In this copper cleaning recipe, you mix it with lemon juice (enough juice to make a paste) and slather it on your copper. Leave for 5 minutes and wash off with warm water.
  2. Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce onto a sponge and then sponge onto the copper surface. Just a couple of minutes wait should do the trick. Rinse off.
  3. Salt and Vinegar. Three tablespoons of salt mixed in a spray bottle of vinegar. Spritz onto the copper. Let sit 10-15 minutes. Scrub.
  4. Lemon and salt. Sprinkle the lemon on the pot or on the cut lemon. Scrub.
The reason that these recipes work is because the discoloration of copper is caused by copper atoms combining with oxygen to become copper oxide. Copper oxide dissolves in a weak acid and salt liquid. There are lots of cool experiments you can do with this concept.

Cleaning is really the application of the chemistry class you took in high school. The more you know about the material you are trying to clean, the more effective and easy your cleaning will be.

For more cleaning tips, check out my post on magic erasers.

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