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How to keep your Copper Beautiful

Some health-conscious people buy copper jewelry, especially bracelets, for the purported healing properties that result from the direct contact of copper with their skin.  They welcome the green discoloration of their skin as evidence that the copper is working. Most people who like to wear copper do not care about having an occasional green stain.  However, for many people who wear copper jewelry purely for adornment, skin discoloration is often an unwelcome occurrence.  Fortunately, it can be minimized or even prevented by the simple introduction of a barrier between the copper and the skin.

Some people love the deep rich look of vintage copper while others like the bright shiny bronze look of clean copper.


Keep cooper in a cool, dry place. If possible, store in an anti-tarnish pouch, box or cloth. If you have none of these, use a tightly sealing plastic bag to keep air from contacting the copper items. Adding a strip of anti-tarnish paper can also slow down tarnish.


How to Solve the Problem 

  1. Clean the piece of jewelry by either washing with soap and water, or by wiping with rubbing alcohol. Dry immediately and thoroughly.

  2. Coat either the entire piece or just those areas that touch your skin with one of the following:

    • A layer of clear nail polish. (although a simple and popular remedy, the polish will wear off over time, and will need to be reapplied periodically)

    • A sprayed-on coat of a clear acrylic lacquer (ultra-violet-stable)

    • Car wax, applied and buffed according to the container's instructions.

  3. Coating your jewelry with one of these barriers has the added advantage of protecting the jewelry from tarnishing, or at least slowing down the process.

  4. Of course, you can minimize skin discoloration by wearing the offending piece for only a short time.

  5. Clean or polish copper to the desired sheen, clean off any residue and apply ProtectaClear or Everbrite to protect the copper from tarnish and corrosion. Copper with patina can be protected from fading and tarnish. If you want to stop the patina at a certain point, you can seal in the color of the copper at any point.

  6. Lemon Juice

  • Lay a cloth on your kitchen counter, one that you don’t mind getting dirty.

  • Place your copper item in a glass or ceramic bowl on the cloth.

  • Squirt lemon juice over the item.

  • Move the item in the liquid so that all surfaces have a chance to react with the lemon juice.

  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the lemon juice in the crevices.

  • Rinse.

  • Wash with warm water and soap, using your toothbrush again if necessary.

  • Dry

  • Salt & Vinegar Soak Salt & Vinegar Soak Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of vinegar to 2 quarts of boiling water.

  • Remove the pot from the heat.

  • Dip the copper item in the liquid, rinse and dry.

    7. Lemon Juice Salt Paste

  • Mix lemon juice and salt together until you have a paste which you can use for deep cleaning.

  • Apply with a cloth or toothbrush as appropriate.

  • Rinse

  • Dry

  • To make a paste that you can apply and leave on an item for a deeper cleanse, you can make a thicker paste by adding some flour to the above lemon-salt paste.

  • Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce have been noted to be excellent copper cleaners but more expensive than the home preparations above.

  • To maintain the shine, you can buff a copper piece with an anti-tarnish cloth.

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