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How to Clean Copperware with Bar Keepers Friend

October 13, 2021

There’s a simple answer to why you can’t get your copper cookware clean, and we’ll share it with you in just a minute. There’s nothing like polished copper to make a kitchen look warm and inviting. Unfortunately, stained, and tarnished copper cookware isn’t as attractive.

The number one enemy of all things copper is tarnish, a chemical reaction between the metal and oxygen or sulfur dioxide. The chemical reaction creates a layer of corrosion on top of the copper which dulls the sheen and makes it look dirty.

However, copperware has another enemy. It’s food stains. On a positive note, unlike iron or steel, copper doesn’t rust, but it can become discolored over time.

Most copper cookware is lined with a protective layer, usually made of tin or stainless steel. This is because when food comes into direct contact with copper, it can pick up particles of metal, which, when ingested, can be poisonous.

Since most copper cookware is lined, you’ll want a cleanser that’s safe for both the copper surface and the lining. Bar Keepers Friend to the rescue. But first….

Do a Spot Test

Bar Keepers Friend shouldn’t damage quality copper, but it’s always a good idea to test the cleanser on a small area first (because some products marketed as copperware may be a mix of metals). Wet a spot on the copperware and add a slight amount of Bar Keepers Friend. Use a wet sponge to lightly cleanse the area, rinse, and check for any dullness or scratches.

How to Get Your Copper Cookware Clean 

What You’ll Need 

  1. Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser
  2. Soft non-abrasive sponge
  3. Soft cloth
  4. Water

How to Clean Your Cooper Cookware 

  • To clean your copper pots and pans, first wet the items. You can do this in the sink. Use a soft sponge to spread the water over the entire surface.
  • Mix water with the powder until it becomes a paste. Use the soft sponge to spread the paste over the entire surface.
  • Let it sit for one minute. Letting it sit longer doesn’t make it cleaner, and it can stain the copper if left on too long.
  • Rinse the copper pot, pan, kettle, or cup thoroughly.
  • If stains are still visible, repeat the process.
  • Polish with a soft cloth (microfiber works great)

How to Keep Your Copper Cookware Clean

Like I said, there’s nothing like polished copper to make a kitchen look warm and inviting. So, now that your copper cookware is bright and shiny, I’m sure you want to keep it that way.

Don’t Let Food Stains Fester. As soon as you finish cooking, soak your copper cookware in warm soapy water for 15 minutes, and then wipe it clean with a soft sponge, cloth, or paper towel.

Never put your copper away wet. Be sure your copper cookware is completely dry before putting it away. Moisture acts as a catalyst to speed up the tarnishing process.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. As soon as you see the beginnings of tarnish, follow the cleaning procedure above. Don’t wait until it turns to a blue-green patina which might look good on the Statue of Liberty but not on your pots and pans!

Pro Tip: Never preheat copper cookware. Copper cookware heated without water, food, or oil in them, will degrade the lining. Copper cookware is at its best cooking low and slow.

You Can Get Your Copper Cookware Clean!

Not only can you get your tarnished and food-stained copper pots and pans clean and shiny, but it’s not that difficult. You might even say that cleaning copper with BKF is easy peasy!

About the Author

Randy Clark - Headshot

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends (after COVID-19) he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management.

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