Preventing Copper Tarnish

Ryan M. Grambart
Founder & CEO - CopperSmith
Ryan M. Grambart

Preventing Tarnish on Your Copper Furniture

If you’ve had precious metal furniture or accent items before, such as sterling silverware or gold-plated candlesticks, you’ve probably learned to worry about tarnishing. Therefore, if you’re thinking about buying copper furniture, such as a copper sink, a copper bathtub or a copper tabletop, you may be concerned about how to prevent your copper furniture from tarnishing. Protecting copper from tarnishing can be a doable task with the right tips in mind. Here’s what you need to know about preventing copper tarnish.

Copper’s “Living Finish”

The thing is, copper doesn’t actually tarnish. What it does is develop a patina that becomes richer and darker over time, and actually lends character to the copper piece. This quality of copper is what many experts refer to as copper’s “living finish,” and copper enthusiasts consider it very desirable.

Preventing Spot Patinas

Something that can happen to your copper furniture is spot patinas. Your copper will not necessarily patina evenly. This is fine, but having certain small areas that patina much more quickly than the rest may create a look that you do not want. To avoid this, be sure to keep your sink dry when you’re not using it. Wipe away any residual water droplets. Use pH-neutral soaps and cleansers with your sink and rinse well when you’re done using them.

Removing the Patina

removing patina from copper

Although many copper furniture owners find their patinas desirable, you may decide you prefer the copper’s initial shine. If you find yourself unhappy with your copper furniture’s patina, you can buff the sink with a copper polishing cream. Only use such a cream once or twice, as it can damage the copper itself if used excessively. To prevent the patina from returning, apply a clear lacquer to the sink’s surface. Be aware that once you do this, the patina will never come back. You have locked in the finish as it is. You’ll also need to use only pH-neutral, non-abrasive cleaners moving forward so as not to damage the lacquer.

How often should you clean a copper sink?

There is both good news and bad news when it comes to the frequency with which you need to clean a copper sink.

The good news is that the cleaning part is easy. It is no more difficult than washing a dish. The bad news is that it needs doing frequently to keep it looking it its best. By frequently, we mean at least once a day.

Like we said, though, cleaning it is easy. Simply clean it every day with mild soap, some warm water and a non abrasive sponge or soft cloth. As well as that, you need to rinse the sink off after every use, to get rid of any oily or acidic residue that can cause changes to t he patina of the copper. To prevent the copper sink from spotting because of minerals in the water supply, make  sure that you dry the sink every time it is used.

What not to do when cleaning a copper sink

When itcomes to looking after your copper sink and preventing copper tarninsh, it is important that you know what to avoid. It is a simple job, but using the wrong tools or cleaning agents can cause damage that cannot be undone to this stunning metal. 

These are the things to avoid when preventing copper tarnish on a copper sink:

  • Using cleaners that are abrasive, such as cream cleansers or scouring powders
  • Products that contain bleach as an ingredient and chlorine bleach
  • Products that contain harsh chemicals and drain openers
  • Abrasive scrubbing brushes, scrubbing pads and steel wool
  • Leaving dirty dishes and food in the kitchen sink. This is especially important if the foods are citrus, oily or otherwise acidic, such as tomatoes, ketchup, citrus fruits, pickled vegetables etc.
  • Leaving residue from personal care products and cosmetics like toothpaste and shaving cream.

How to clean a copper sink

Frequent cleaning will help you to prevent build up on your sink and keep it looking beautiful for years to come, whether you allow patina to build up or keeping the original color.

What you will need:

  • Microfiber or cotton cloth
  • Non abrasive sponge or cloth
  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water

Step one: Rinse the sink 

Using hot or warm water, rinse the sink out to get rid of any residue or particles on the copper sink surface.

Step two: Wipe the sink

Using a mild liquid dish soap and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge, give the whole of the inside of the sink a wiper over. Payclose attention to the rim of the sink, as this is where food and drinks that have been splattered can stick, which causes damage.

Step three: Rinse and dry

Rinse the soapy residue away using water that is hot or warm. Once you have done that, use a soft cotton or microfiber cloth to dry the sink and fixtures thoroughly.


Dealing with common copper sink probems

Inevitably, there will come a point where your copper sink will have some of it’s patina stripped. Don’t panic - this is part of it’s natural process, and over time the rich colors will return. However, there are some things that you can do to reverse this.

Food and dishes damaging the finish

Ideally, you should not leave food remnants or dishes in a copper sink. Let’s face it , though, it is a practical item and utensils, dishes and scraps of food will be put in it as a matter of daily use.

It is obviously unrealistic to not have any plates of food ever in a kitchen sink, so it is a good isea to use a bottom grid to keep things off the bottom and avoid damaging the copper surface. You can also use a sponge and cloth holder to keep cleaning tools from coming into direct contact with the copper when not in use.

 Bright spots

When the copper is exposed to something acidic, like tomato ketchup or lemon, it can cause the patina to strip, leaving bright spots. This is part and parcel of copper sink ownershi and is nothing to worry about. When it happens, wipe away the substance that has caused the change in color, and give it time. Patina will come back naturally, You can speed up the process, by cleaning the sink with warm water and mild dish soap, then use a stiff nylon brush around the edges of the bright spot to wear it away and blend it with the patina on the rest of the sink.

Green spots

Green spots on copper is known as verdigris. This is natural and does not harm the copper. It can be causes to prolonged exposure to moisture. To stop this from happening, wipe the sink after use to stop water from pooling and prevent any soap residue, especially around the drain, faucets and other fixtures. You can wipe away verdigris using a soft cotton cloth, or a gentle paste of baking soda and water.

CopperSmith and Your Copper Furniture’s Finish

CopperSmith is proud to sell many copper furniture products with a variety of breathtaking patinas that become more striking over time. However, we also recognize that some people prefer that their copper piece's finish continues to look bright and new as the day they purchased it. For this reason, we also offer copper furniture pieces that we coat with a special finish to lock in the piece's existing patina so that it will continue to look just the way you like it for years to come.

Now that you know the issues surrounding the finish of your copper furniture over time, it’s time to pick your favorite piece and let us bring it to your home! Preventing copper tarnish is easy to accomplish as long as you know what to look for. Check out all the great copper furniture options from CopperSmith and order yours today. Contact us online, call us at 1-88-431-4677 or email us at [email protected] for more information!

July 28, 2017