I love scouring antique shops and estate sales for the perfect additions to my home (or for my space at Mockingbird Manor). But often, when I find copper, brass, or silver treasures, they need a little TLC. Today, I’m sharing how to care for metals in your home. So if you love shopping second-hand but are unsure how to bring these items back to life, or you have family heirlooms packed away that you are scared to look at because you know you’ll need to tackle some tarnish, grab a cup of coffee and read on!
- Polishing copper pots and pans is recommended every six months. Before you start cleaning, check to see whether or not your copper is lacquered. If it is, only mild soap and water is recommended for cleaning.
- Rinse in warm water, then rub in a copper cleaner using a soft cloth, and rinse again.
- Always make sure to dry well with a soft cloth.
- If you want to try a DIY method, squeeze a little bit of ketchup on a rag and sprinkle with salt, using that in place of the copper cleaner.
- Always hand-wash, never the dishwasher.
- Solid brass pieces can have a vinegar and salt bath, but if it’s brass plate, it will take the finish off.
- An easy way to check and see whether or not your item is solid brass is with a magnet: solid brass is not magnetic, but brass-plated items may be.
- Microfiber cloth is always the first thing to try—if this works, you are done! More intense cleaning can damage brass, so you want to use it sparingly.
- There are brass cleaners on the market, but ketchup and lemon both make good DIY options.
- Don’t soak brass, always dry immediately, and never use this dishwasher.
- Storage: wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and or unbleached cotton fabric and stored in airtight containers or ziplock bags. Storing a piece of white chalk in the container with your silver can help cut down on tarnish (especially if you live somewhere humid).
- Tarnish: use cotton wool to apply silver dip or silver polish (make sure whatever you are using is meant for silver, not another metal). Dry thoroughly (don’t let it air dry—this can leave water spots), and then use a silver cloth to polish.
- Don’t over-clean (and never put in the dishwasher).
- Certain foods tarnish silver more quickly, so be sure to wash tableware as soon as possible after eating.
Do you have a favorite metal piece in your home? Or a question about cleaning I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments!