A Simple, Cheap Way To Clean Tarnished Copper

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When I created my 17 in 17 list, one of the things I wanted to tackle was a cute little copper tea kettle that my grandmother gave me a while back (thanks, Nan!). It sits on display on my stove, but it’s very tarnished. I’ve polished it once before, but I couldn’t remember how I did it, so I set out to learn how to clean it once and for all.



My mom suggested I try soaking it in white vinegar and salt “until it’s clean”. That seemed too easy, but it was worth a try. I already had what I needed in the pantry, it wasn’t going to take much effort, and if it didn’t work I was out a whopping $2.

I grabbed the salt and white vinegar and found a pot big enough to fit the kettle.



I dumped roughly 1/3 cup salt a little more than half of the gallon of vinegar and into the pot with the tea kettle, so that the kettle was completely submerged.



I let it soak for about 4 hours because it was so tarnished. But to see what kind of difference it made, I submerged half of the lid as a little experiment. This was what it looked like after a half hour:


After the soak I scrubbed a few details (where the handle attaches, the spout, the lip around the bottom) with a small soft brush to remove any gunk in the crevices. I rinsed it with the vinegar solution and wiped it down with a clean rag. There are still a lot of imperfections, but the tea kettle is about 40 years old, so it’s going to have lots of quirks and character that will never wipe away.


So, I crossed off an item on my 17 in 17 checklist, and the whole process was much easier (and cheaper!) than I expected! Added bonus: now that I wrote a blog post about it, I won’t have to worry about forgetting how I did it!