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Copper Sink Care (To Maintain Your Sink’s Patina)

Updated
Learn how to clean a copper sink so it shines like a penny.

Copper sinks are beautiful and unique sinks to own. The sinks have a warmth that other sinks don’t have. In addition, copper sinks change over time and grow more unique with age.

They also have antibacterial and anti-microbial properties to prevent illness in your family. However, to maintain and clean a copper sink, you must stay alert. Otherwise, your beautiful copper sink will tarnish and lose its shine.

The Best Way to Clean a Copper Sink

  1. Rinse all food particles from your copper sink.
  2. Put a few drops of dish soap on a soft sponge.
  3. Rub your sink with a soapy sponge.
  4. Use baking soda paste to scrub any stains or stuck food particles.
  5. Rinse your sink.
  6. Dry your sink thoroughly with a soft and dry microfiber cloth


Are Copper Sinks Hard to Maintain?

As copper sinks age, they develop a gloss or sheen on them called a patina. This green or brown film is produced by oxidation over a long period of time.

Some people enjoy the look of the patina and want to encourage its development. Others prefer the look of the untarnished and shiny copper.

Caring for a copper sink is simple as long as you avoid harsh cleansers. You will also need to clean it every day and dry the sink after each use, especially if you have water with a lot of minerals in it.

How to Clean a Copper Sink Daily

The best way to clean a copper sink is to give it a good wipe down every day with dish soap. You can also use a few cleansers to help remove stains and keep your sink shiny.

With Dish Soap

To clean your sink with dish soap, rinse your sink thoroughly. You’ll want to make sure that all food and particles are removed from your sink, especially anything that’s acidic.

Then you’ll put a squeeze of dish soap without bleach on a sponge or microfiber dishcloth. Wipe the sink down with a sponge and warm water. Make sure that you clean under the counter rims as well as clean the sides and bottom of the sink.

When you’ve finished wiping down your sink with dish soap, rinse it thoroughly.

Dry your sink with a clean, dry microfiber rag.

If there are tough stains or food particles that you’re having trouble removing, follow the instructions below on how to clean a copper sink with baking soda.

With Baking Soda

You can use baking soda to remove sink stains or food particles. Baking soda will also remove the green spots (or verdigris) that appear around fixtures that have been exposed to too much moisture and not dried properly. The best way to prevent the verdigris is to dry your sink after every use making sure that you thoroughly dry the area around the fixtures.

First, you will make a baking soda paste by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of water on a plate. If you have a new sink with no patina, you will need to use vinegar instead of water. The acid in the vinegar will help to maintain your shiny sink by removing any oxidized patina that’s developed.

Then use a sponge or microfiber cloth to put the paste on the stains. Wait a minute. Then scrub your sink gently with the sponge or cloth.

When finished, rinse your sink thoroughly. Dry with a clean and dry microfiber cloth.

With Bar Keepers Friend

Product Image of the Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser 21-Ounces (1-Pack)

Bar Keepers Friend can be used to clean your sink. First, rinse your sink so the sink is wet. Then make a paste using the Bar Keepers Friend.

Make the paste by placing a small amount of Bar Keepers Friend on a plate and then dribble a few drops of water on it. Mix. Keep adding water until you have a paste.

Use a soft sponge to spread the paste all over the sink and wait 1 minute. Don’t wait any longer as it may stain your sink. Then rinse your sink thoroughly.

Repeat if needed and then dry your sink using a dry microfiber cloth.

With Vinegar

You can also use vinegar to remove stains and discolorations on your sink. First mix 2 cups of vinegar with ½ cup of warm water. Then dip your sponge into the mixture before scrubbing at the stains and discolorations.

The vinegar will help to remove any tarnish and restore a shiny sink. So, repeat dipping your sponge and scrubbing until your sink is shiny.

Finish by rinsing and drying your sink thoroughly.

With Ketchup

You can also restore a sink using ketchup. Ketchup is made with vinegar and tomatoes, both of which are acidic. So ketchup will help to remove tarnish and debris from the copper.

It will also remove the patina from your sink, so test it first in a small area before using ketchup to clean your sink.

To clean your sink with ketchup, put some ketchup into a bowl. Then apply a generous amount of the ketchup to your sink by dipping a sponge into the bowl and spreading the ketchup all over your sink.

You can leave the ketchup on the sink for 10-20 minutes before gently scrubbing it with a toothbrush or sponge until the tarnish is removed.

Rinse your sink thoroughly and dry it with a dry microfiber cloth.

With Copper Cleaner

You can also use a copper cleaner on your copper sink. Follow the instructions on the container. After you’ve cleaned your sink, wax it to maintain the shine.

How Do You Make a Copper Sink Look New?

If you leave acidic food on your copper sink too long, you’ll find that it has discolored your sink. The easiest way to fix this discoloration is to wash your sink with soap and water and then to give your sink some time. The copper patina will eventually return.

How to Fix Copper Sink Discoloration

For major stains and discoloration, try mixing a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water. Then use a sponge to scrub at the stain until it’s gone. Make sure that you rinse your sink well so the vinegar doesn’t wear away too much of your patina.

You can also put some baking soda on a toothbrush to scrub at the stain. Again, make sure that you rinse your sink well when you’ve finished.

A third solution is to mix ¼ cup of flour and a ¼ cup of salt. Then add enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Use a soft cloth to apply the paste to your copper sink and then buff it until it shines.

The vinegar will remove the patina that’s developed while the salt is a gentle abrasive that will remove the grime.

Remember to always dry your copper sink thoroughly when you’re finished to prevent discoloration from happening.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

Hard water stains or lime can be difficult to remove. Your best prevention is to make sure that you dry your sink thoroughly after each use. However, if you do end up with hard water stains, remember that lime is alkaline so acid will remove it.

Here are some different methods you can use to remove hard water stains. Be sure to test these solutions out in an inconspicuous area of your sink first.

Lemon and Salt Rub

Cut a lemon in half and put salt on the fleshy part of the lemon. Gently rub your copper sink with the lemon and salt until you’ve rubbed the entire sink. The lemon is a gentle acid that is safe for copper. Salt is a gentle abrasive that also won’t harm the copper.

Rinse your sink with warm water.

Make Baking Soda Paste

Make a baking soda paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part vinegar. Rub the paste onto all dull and chalky areas of your sink. Allow the paste to sit for a time.

Gently scrub with a soft sponge and then rinse your sink with warm water.

Maintaining a Copper Sink

A copper sink will lose its luster quickly as the copper sink turns dark. This is caused by the oxidation process that gives copper its patina. The two best ways to keep a copper sink from tarnishing are to apply a lacquer to the sink or to wax it.

Lacquered Sink

If you have a choice, choose a lacquered sink from the manufacturer. The lacquer will help to maintain the copper. As the lacquer wears away, you can wax the sink to maintain the shine or ask a metal expert to reapply the lacquer.

Wax Your Sink

The best way to maintain your copper sink is to wax it every 6 weeks using Carnauba wax or a specialized copper wax. Do this by applying the wax to your sink with a soft cloth. Then buff the sink until it shines.

Tips For Copper Sink Care

There are a few do’s and don’ts you can follow to help maintain your copper sink on a daily basis.

Do’s:

  • Wax your copper sink every 6 weeks to maintain the finish.
  • Do use a dishwashing mat to keep pots and pans from damaging the surface.

Don’ts:

  • Do not leave acidic foods in contact with the copper sink for extended periods of time.
  • Do not leave cleaning tools or dirty dishes in your sink.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals, polishes, or cleansers.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners, bleach, steel wool, or harsh scrubbing pads.
  • Do not use bleach.

FAQs

What is the Best Chemical to Clean Copper?

Acetic acid is probably the most common chemical used to clean copper. It’s readily available in the form of vinegar. It’s not a strong acid but works very well to clean copper especially in combination with baking soda or salt.

Does WD-40 Clean Copper?

Yes, you can use WD-40 to clean copper. Make sure that you clean and rinse your sink thoroughly before placing food products into your sink.

Will Bleach Damage a Copper Sink?

Yes, bleach will tarnish and damage the surface of your copper sink.

Copper Sink Care

Ultimately the best way to clean a copper sink is to maintain a daily routine. Wipe your copper sink out every day with warm water and a bit of dish soap on a sponge. Rinse it thoroughly and make sure you dry it well.

This will help you maintain and enjoy your copper sink for years.


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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.