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How To Clean Copper Jewelry

how to clean copper jewelry

Copper is a durable and beautiful metal that’s been used for years. It’s a popular and versatile metal often used in the jewelry industry. However, over time, copper can tarnish because of exposure to the air, but also humidity. Luckily, this metal is easy to clean at home with different household products. Read on to discover how to clean copper jewelry and keep it shiny.

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Why is my copper jewelry tarnishing

Did you get a beautiful piece of copper jewelry that has lost its shine and turned black? your copper just tarnished.

Like most metals, copper can tarnish over time. Knowing what causes copper to tarnish can definitely help you stop the process. The air around us is one of the main factors that cause copper jewelry to tarnish. The ions in the metal react to the ions in oxygen, which causes a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of corrosion (tarnish).

Other factors include humidity, human touch, dust, and even harsh chemicals such as perfumes that can cause your copper jewelry to tarnish. 

Do you like copper jewelry? Check out my handmade crystal jewelry in the shop!

crafty explorer copper necklace electroformed

How can I prevent my copper jewelry from tarnishing

Tarnish is inevitable, but there are several things you can do prevent to slow down the process. First, you should make sure your jewelry is always dry. Indeed, exposure to air and moisture can cause copper to tarnish quickly. Always store your copper jewelry in a cool, dry place.

For example, you could keep your jewelry in a ziplock bag, which will drastically reduce the interaction of copper with air and will protect it from getting wet. 

I always recommend avoiding contact with strong chemicals or perfume. Try to keep your copper jewelry dry and clean. Don’t worry if your copper tarnishes though, it’s very easy to bring it back to shine. 

If you really don’t want your copper to tarnish, you could apply a coat of clear lacquer or nail polish on it. This will keep your copper from interacting with the atmosphere. Personally, I don’t coat my jewelry with nail polish, because it gives it a shiny gloss.

How to seal your copper jewelry

Copper jewelry is usually sealed with wax to protect it from tarnishing and staining your skin. As you probably know, sometimes copper can turn your skin green. To prevent that, I seal my jewelry with Renaissance wax. It’s not a permanent seal though, and the wax needs to be applied often to keep my copper jewelry from tarnishing.pastedGraphic.png However, it can prevent or minimize the copper from developing a patina.

copper bee jewelry crafty explorer

How to clean copper jewelry

There are several ways you can clean your copper jewelry, but I will just list the ones I personally use for my jewelry. SO, here are three good ways to clean your copper jewelry at home:

1. Wax

I use Renaissance Wax to seal my jewelry, but you can also use it to clean it. Even if you seal copper, your jewelry can become dull and tarnish over time. With renaissance wax, you can remove this dullness and bring your jewelry back to its original shine. All you have to do is give them a quick polish with a polishing cloth and a little bit of wax. You can do this as often as you wish, but if you keep your copper jewelry in a box, you shouldn’t have to do it very often. 

2. Lemon juice and salt

Lemon juice and salt is probably the most popular homemade recipe to clean copper jewelry. Use some lemon juice to wet your copper and then sprinkle some table salt on top. Then, rub the surface of your jewelry with a cloth. 

Alternatively, you can sprinkle the salt directly half a lemon, and rub it on your copper jewelry. You should see your copper start shining again. If your jewelry has crystals, don’t put lemon and salt on them.

3. Salt and vinegar

To clean your copper with vinegar, you can simply pour vinegar in a cup and submerge your jewelry in it. You can leave it to soak for 15-20 minutes. Once you take it out, your copper should be sparkling clean. You can rinse it with water and dry it with a paper towel or a cloth. 

If your jewelry has crystals and gemstones on it, you should definitely skip this method of cleaning. The acid from the vinegar can damage your stones. 

4. Commercial copper cleaner

If you have highly tarnished copper jewelry items, I recommend using a commercial copper cleaner. All you have to do is rub your pace with a soft cloth until your copper shines again. 

Some commercial copper cleaners are very strong and could end up scratching your jewelry. For this reason, I definitely recommend a commercial cleaner made for cleaning copper specifically. I have used Wright’s copper cleaner in the past and really loved it. You can find it on Amazon

5. Baking soda and lemon juice

You can also use baking soda and lemon juice to clean your copper jewelry. Mix both in equal amounts until you obtain a paste. Then, rub this paste on your copper jewelry using a cloth. You can also use a toothbrush for a deeper clean. Once your copper is shinny again, rinse the paste and dry thoroughly. 

Can I clean my copper jewelry with Ketchup? 

This might be surprising for most people, but you can actually clean copper jewelry with ketchup. And it’s great because most of us have ketchup at home! The reason why you can clean copper jewelry with ketchup is that it contains salt and vinegar. These two ingredients can be used to clean tarnished copper. If you want to clean your jewelry with ketchup, simply pour a da of ketchup onto a soft cloth and rub it on your jewelry. Then, rinse it and dry your jewelry thoroughly. 

ketchup for cleaning copper jewelry

How to store copper jewelry

To prevent your copper jewelry from tarnishing, one of the best things to do is to store it properly. Here are some of my best tips on how to store your copper jewelry:

  • Make sure your copper is dry before you store it anywhere. Moisture can make your jewelry tarnish faster.
  • Keep your jewelry in a ziplock bag (like a ziplock bag). It will reduce contact with air.
  • Always keep your copper in a cool, dry place. 
  • Don’t expose your copper jewelry to harsh chemicals such as household detergents.
  • Avoid wearing your copper jewelry under the shower or at the swimming pool. Copper doesn’t like to get wet. 

If you follow these simple guidelines, you should be able to keep your copper jewelry shiny for a very long time! But even if they tarnish, you can use one of the tricks I gave you above to make it look as good as new.

Bottom line

Cleaning your copper jewelry is pretty easy once you know how to do it. There’s no need to buy expensive products, you can just do it at home. My best tip is to use Renaissance Wax, especially if you’re jewelry has gemstones on it. If you don’t have much at home and your jewelry is just copper, you can try using some Ketchup! How do you clean your copper jewelry? Let me know in the comments below! 

Don’t forget to check out my copper jewelry in the shop!

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