Copper kitchen utensils have been extremely popular over the years for their superb heat-conductivity, durability, and their hygienic and anti-corrosive qualities. And although in recent years, more modern materials, such as stainless steel, have become highly sought-after, copper kettles remain popular for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their classic, stylish look.

However, copper is a finicky metal.

If neglected, copper kettles will tarnish and turn an unsightly shade of gray-green. This means that it is very important that you learn how to properly clean your tea pot and other copper utensils.

Keeping your copper kettle clean will go a long way to ensure that it stays in tip-top condition for a long time.

How Do You Clean A Copper Kettle?

To clean your copper kettle use a solution of equal parts of white vinegar, cooking salt, and fresh lemon juice. Mix into a small container, until all of the salt has dissolved, then use a soft clean cloth to rub the mixture over the surface of the copper kettle. 

Make sure that you use a gentle circular motion to cover the entire surface of the kettle. Afterward, take your copper kettle and place it under warm running water to rinse the acidic solution from the surface.

Finally, use a separate dry cloth to wipe the kettle dry.

It’s as easy as that.

But the vinegar, salt, and lemon method is far from the only method available to clean dirty or tarnished copper kettles. Follow me below to learn a few more tricks.

Clean copper kettles on a shelf

Other Simple Methods To Clean Your Copper Kettle

Despite its characteristic bright shine, copper continuously deteriorates over time, leading to a tarnished surface. This greenish/blackish layer is due to the rapid oxidation of the copper molecules as they come into contact with oxygen.

This oxidized layer is considered toxic, so it is important that you remove it as soon as you see it begin to form.

The Ketchup Method

This method to clean copper kettles sounds like a joke, but it is actually very effective and easy to apply. All you need is some plain store-bought ketchup sauce and a soft-bristled paintbrush.

Take your small brush and use it to smear ketchup all over the copper kettle. After you have applied an even layer of ketchup over the entire surface of the kettle, place a timer for at least 30 minutes and wait.

After thirty minutes have passed, the acetic acid in the ketchup will chemically react with the tarnished copper molecules on the surface of the kettle and begin to dissolve them.

You can simply wash off the ketchup residue with some warm soapy water, and rub it dry with a clean, soft rag. The result should be a bright and revitalized copper shine.

The Buttermilk Method

Pure buttermilk mixed in equal parts with table salt is another effective mixture that can help you clean and restore your old copper kettle.

As the ketchup method above, take your buttermilk and salt mixture and cover the entire surface of your copper kettle, making sure to get into every little nook and cranny. Gently rub the mixture into the metal surface to allow the acids in the milk to break down any visible blemishes.

The recommended wait for the buttermilk method is about 1 hour to get the most shine. After this time has passed, use a clean towel to wipe away the buttermilk residue. This also serves to further restore shine to the kettle.

Finally, use warm water to rinse the buttermilk off the copper surface, and rub dry with a clean cloth.


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While we love using natural home remedies for all of our cleaning, there is no denying the polishing ability of commercial cleaners. No metal cleaner is as trusted and well-known as Brasso

For over 100 years people have been using No products found. (on Amazon) for its ability to clean metals, remove tarnish, and leave them with a beautiful shiny finish. Even if you prefer the natural methods, you should still have a bottle of Brasso in your pantry for when you need that extra cleaning power.

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Final Thoughts On Cleaning a Copper Kettle

Copper is a fantastic material to use in the kitchen. It has several properties that make it ideal, but it also has a few downsides.

A shiny clean copper tea kettle

Copper kettles take advantage of the various properties of copper to excel at what they do. However, they also fall victim to the shiny metal’s most prominent weaknesses. 

Therefore, you must learn how to quickly and easily service your copper kettle, as this will help you extend the life of your kettle as well as protect you from the potential adverse side effects of ingesting copper tarnish.

Last update on 2024-05-01 at 10:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API