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Caring for Copper

Caring for Copper

A Guide to Maintaining Elegance and Functionality

Copper has long been admired for its warmth, beauty, and exceptional thermal conductivity, making it a favored material for both home goods and cookware. From stunning kitchen utensils to timeless decorative items, copper adds a touch of elegance and functionality to any space. That's why we especially love it for our English Copper Tea Kettle, Windsor Pan, and other kitchen tools and home decor. However, to keep its lustrous appearance and efficient performance, proper care is essential. In this guide, we'll delve into the art of caring for copper homegoods and cookware, ensuring they remain in pristine condition for years to come.

Understanding the Appeal of Copper

Before delving into care techniques, it's important to understand why copper is so highly prized. Beyond its stunning aesthetic, copper offers remarkable thermal conductivity. This means it heats up quickly and evenly, making it ideal for cookware as it prevents hotspots that can lead to uneven cooking. Additionally, the antibacterial properties of copper have made it a material of choice in kitchen utensils and surfaces.

Preventative Measures: Reducing Tarnish and Wear

  1. Hand Washing and Drying: Copper homegoods and cookware should be hand washed using mild soap and lukewarm water. Harsh detergents and dishwashers can strip away the protective patina and cause tarnishing. Gently scrub with a soft cloth or sponge to remove dirt or residue, and avoid abrasive materials that can scratch the surface.

  2. Immediate Drying: After washing, it's crucial to dry the copper immediately with a soft, clean cloth. Leaving water droplets on the surface can lead to water spots and stains.

  3. Avoid Abrasive Cleaners: Stay away from abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, and harsh chemicals, as they can scratch the surface and strip away the protective patina.

  4. Use Wooden or Silicone Utensils: When cooking with copper cookware, opt for wooden or silicone utensils. Metal utensils can cause scratches that not only mar the appearance but also potentially impact the performance of the cookware over time.

  5. Regular Polishing: To maintain the shiny appearance of your copper items, occasional polishing is necessary. A mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and salt or lemon juice and salt can serve as a gentle homemade polish. Apply the mixture with a soft cloth, gently rubbing in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Developing a Patina: The Beauty of Aging Copper

Copper naturally develops a patina over time due to exposure to air and moisture. This patina adds character and depth to copper items, creating a rich, aged appearance. While some people appreciate the patina, others prefer to keep their copper items shiny. If you wish to develop a patina, follow these steps:

  1. Exposure to Air: Allow your copper items to be exposed to air and humidity. Over time, the patina will develop, changing the color and texture of the copper.

  2. Accelerating Patina Formation: If you want to speed up the patina formation process, you can create a controlled environment. Place the copper item in a plastic bag with a sliced onion or potato. Seal the bag and leave it for a day or two. The natural gases released by the onion or potato will expedite the patina formation.

  3. Embracing the Patina: Once the patina develops, it's important to know that it's protecting the copper from further tarnishing. The patina forms a protective layer, reducing the need for frequent polishing.

Restoring Shine: Removing Patina and Tarnish

If you prefer to maintain the original shine of your copper items, removing the patina and tarnish is possible. Follow these steps for restoration:

  1. Cleaning Paste: Create a paste using equal parts of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply the paste to the tarnished areas and gently rub with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

  2. Commercial Copper Cleaners: There are also commercial copper cleaning products available that can effectively remove tarnish. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire item.

  3. Polishing: After removing tarnish, use a gentle copper polish to restore shine. Apply the polish according to the manufacturer's instructions, and buff the copper item with a soft cloth until it regains its luster.

Storing Copper Items

Proper storage plays a role in maintaining the quality of your copper homegoods and cookware:

  1. Dry Storage: Always ensure your copper items are completely dry before storing them. Moisture can lead to tarnishing and corrosion.

  2. Individual Wrapping: To prevent scratches and friction between copper items, wrap them individually in soft cloth or paper before storing them.

  3. Ventilation: Store copper items in a well-ventilated area. Avoid tightly sealed containers, as they can trap moisture and contribute to tarnishing.

Final Thoughts

Copper homegoods and cookware are not only functional but also works of art that can enhance the aesthetic of any space—from Measuring Scoops to a functional yet elegant Serving Tray. Caring for them properly allows you to enjoy their beauty and functionality for years to come. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your copper items maintain their elegance, shine, and performance, creating a timeless and welcoming atmosphere in your home.


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