In terms of its value, copper is an underrated metal when compared to silver and gold, yet it is an extremely versatile metal that has excellent durability and malleability — making it a popular choice for jewelry, such as bracelets. Unfortunately, copper loses its luster and gets tarnished over time. It reacts with external factors such as oxygen, moisture, other chemicals, and even human skin that can corrode the copper. This causes the development of a green layer on the metal’s surface called a copper patina. So, if your copper bracelet needs a refresh, you’re in luck because below we show you everything you need to know for how to clean your copper bracelet!
Let’s get to it...
Sealing a Copper Bracelet
Lacquer is typically applied onto the surface of copper jewelry to prevent corrosion or tarnishing from external factors. However, placing lacquer can make the jewelry dull-looking and less shiny. Fortunately, you can just polish it with a fine cloth to get its shine back.
Many jewelers sell copper pieces sealed with a polymer coating, but you can purchase a commercial copper sealer if yours isn’t. You can also use nail polish or car wax since they also lacquer copper and prevent it from tarnishing - doing this also helps prevent getting a patina.
Cleaning Your Copper Bracelet
- Bracelets with gemstones aren’t hard to clean, but they are tricky because gemstones have differentcleaningrequirements. If there are gemstones on your copper bracelet, the best way to do this is to work around them.
- Using acidic substances can also damage the gemstones, so be sure to consider this before trying out the suggestions below.
- Always consult with your jeweler if you need to clean your copper jewelry. While some of the substances suggested here are great for removing tarnish, copper should never be soaked in them.
Lacquered VS Unlacquered
Cleaning a Lacquered Copper Bracelet
If your copper bracelet already has a lacquer finish, it will be a long time until you start seeing traces of tarnish. Eventually, you will notice that it will get dull if it isn’t cleaned properly. But you can prevent this using a polishing cloth to clean your copper bracelet periodically. Polishing can help restore the shine it had but don’t overdo it— overpolishing can rub some of the lacquer off. Cleaning your copper bracelets once every two months is ideal, and remember that you need a polishing cloth specifically for copper since other types may not be effective.
If your bracelet is so dirty that polishing doesn’t help, try cleaning it using warm, soapy water with a lint-free cloth. Gently rub your bracelet using the cloth and dry it afterward.
Cleaning an Unlacquered Copper Bracelet
Tip 1: Using Lemon Juice and Salt
Using a mildly acidic substance like lemon juice removes mineral deposits from your bracelet, and the salt is the abrasive that rubs it off. You can use a glass container that has lemon juice with a bit of salt— soak your bracelet for 10 minutes, then rinse it with warm water before drying it off with a microfiber cloth to give it back its shine.
Tip 2: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
You can make a cleaning paste with acidic and abrasive components by adding equal parts of baking soda and lemon juice. Use this paste to gently clean the bracelet by rubbing it with a cloth, an old toothbrush, or your fingers. Once it’s as clean as can be, give it a rinse and dry it off with a soft cloth.
Tip 3: Lemons and Limes
For this method, start by cutting a lime or lemon in half. Sprinkle one half with salt and rub it all over the tarnished areas of your bracelet until it’s clean. Rub the piece using the rough side of a sponge, and finish it off with a beeswax polish for a longer shine.
Tip 4: Ketchup
This method works best on small areas that have tarnish. Rub a thin to moderate layer of ketchup over the tarnished areas of your bracelet and let it sit for 15 minutes. When ready, rub it with a non-scratch pad and wash it off completely.
Tip 5: Salt and Vinegar
You can simply pour salt along with white vinegar over your copper bracelet, and then rub it to remove tarnished areas. Then, simply rinse it off and polish using a soft, dry cloth. Alternatively, you can place one tablespoon of salt and one cup of vinegar into a pot— fill it with water, and then place the bracelet inside. Wait for it to come to a boil for all the tarnish to come off, then wash it with water and soap once it’s cool.
Tip 6: Vinegar, Salt, and Flour
Mix one tablespoon of salt and one cup of white vinegar in a bowl, then gradually add flour and mix until it forms a paste. Now, apply the paste to your bracelet and rub it over the tarnished areas. Let it sit from 15 minutes to an hour and rinse with warm water—polish as needed.
Tip 7: Lemon Juice Dip
You can also make a lemon juice dip with some salt (make sure to use a ceramic bowl). Let your bracelet sit in the mixture for 5-10 mins, scrub it with a cloth or an old toothbrush, rinse it with water, and then dry with a soft cloth
Tip 8: Jewelry Polishing Cloth
After you've finished cleaning your copper bracelet using any of the tips above, it's best to polish it using a jewelry polishing cloth. Always use a polishing cloth made specifically for copper.
Tip 9: Commercial Industrial Copper Cleaners
If these at-home methods don't work because your copper bracelet is heavily tarnished, then you'll need to use a commercial cleaner designed for copper jewelry. Simply dip a microfiber cloth in the solution and use it to rub your bracelet gently. Then rinse and dry your bracelet afterward.
How to Deal with Copper Stains
There are times when copper can leave a green residue on your skin. This happens because the chemical reaction between copper and your perspiration creates copper chelates— which are pieces of copper stuck on the surface of your skin. While pure copper can't be absorbed through the skin, copper chelates can be. However, the human body regulates the amount of copper in the body, so the excess copper turns your skin green.
Thankfully, absorbing copper isn't harmful to us — the body needs copper, and some even wear them to avoid copper deficiency. Copper is also an antifungal and antimicrobial metal and doesn't irritate or harm our skin. This green staining that copper leaves on your skin isn't permanent and can be washed off with soap and water.
How to Polish Your Copper Jewelry
Polishing your copper jewelry works best when you use a jewelry polish cloth specially made for copper pieces. These will be much more effective to use compared to ones that are made just for gold or silver. To polish your jewelry, simply put on your favorite Netflix show and put in a little elbow grease. It may take a little time so be patient and be gentle with your pieces.
How to Store Your Copper Jewelry
Make sure that all your copper pieces are thoroughly dried before storing them in an airtight container — exposure to moisture and air is what causes copper tarnish. Always look for a cool and dry area when storing your copper.
You can place them in a Ziploc bag or any other airtight bags to further reduce your jewelry’s interaction with air. You can also store your jewelry with anti-tarnish paper that absorbs pollutants that can corrode your copper. Doing these steps will slow down their rate of tarnish.
It's also best to avoid wearing copper jewelry when swimming in pools or using household detergents that contain chlorine because it may damage copper jewelry. Furthermore, body oils also cause your copper pieces to tarnish over time, so it's important to keep them clean and polished.
How to Wear Your Copper Bracelet
As mentioned above, parts of your skin in contact with copper can affect its color. If this concerns you, simply apply clear nail polish in the areas that come into contact with your skin— but don't forget to keep the nail polish away from any gemstones.
Again, don't wear your copper pieces in places like the shower or the pool— since chemicals in the water may damage your bracelet. Also, always remove your copper jewelry when washing dishes or doing activities around the house to prevent it from getting damaged.
That’s everything you need to know about how to clean a copper bracelet or any other piece of copper jewelry for that matter. If you're looking for a new bracelet, you'll be in for a treat at Lexie Jordan Fine Jewelry. Cheryl Roberts, the designer, takes pride in personally selecting the resource materials and minerals for all jewelry. While we work mostly with golds, silver, and platinum, we are always adding to our collection of fine bracelets
Salt, vinegar and flour combine to create chemistry to polish copper. Mix together one-quarter cup salt and one-quarter cup flour, then add enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Rub that paste on the copper surface and gently buff it using a microfiber cloth until it shines; wash and dry thoroughly.How do you make copper bright and shiny again? ›
Mix 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup flour and enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Use a soft cloth to rub the paste on the surface of the copper. Buff the copper item until it shines. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.How do you clean a copper chain bracelet? ›
- Mix water, a bit of lemon juice, and a tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl.
- Soak your copper jewelry in this solution for a few hours or overnight.
- Rinse the jewelry thoroughly with water the next day.
- Buff the jewelry with a soft toothbrush to remove stains or tarnish.
Wax coating, lemon juice solutions, and lacquer spray are common options. On small copper items, the former are feasible ways to prevent copper from tarnishing. The best approach for large copper items, however, is to apply a lacquer coating annually to sufficiently protect and preserve the copper sheen.What should you not clean copper with? ›
Here's What Not To Do
Clean unfinished copper with bleach, which can lead to pitting or pockmarks. Scrub with anything too abrasive, whether it's a stiff brush, steel wool, or harsh ingredient. Leave unfinished copper wet, which can speed up the oxidation process.
Acidic substances react with the surface of copper, causing it to tarnish and corrode almost instantly. This corrosion is highly soluble, leading to the presence of toxic copper salts in the food. This is why it is not recommended to use copper vessels for foods high in acidity, such as milk, wine, or vinegar.Can you clean copper with toothpaste? ›
For copper pots that are heavily tarnished, rub on the toothpaste and let it work for a few minutes before wiping away the tarnish. Rinse in hot water and shine with a dry cloth.How do you get copper back to its original color? ›
If you don't have any lemon juice, distilled white vinegar or ketchup works very well to polish copper. Vinegar contains acetic acid (ketchup contains vinegar as well as citric acid in the tomatoes) that reacts with copper tarnish and breaks its bond with the copper.How can you tell if something is real copper? ›
"Just like real silver, copper is only very slightly magnetic," Martin says. "You can conduct the same magnet test by placing a magnet on the surface of the item. If the magnet sticks, you can make sure that the item isn't copper." Small magnets are also easy for you to bring to the flea market or antique shop.How do you clean a pure copper bracelet? ›
Vinegar and Salt Method
Pour white vinegar and salt over copper bracelet and rub in to remove all tarnish. Rinse off and polish with a soft, dry cloth.
A simple homemade copper cleaner to banish tarnish can be made by combining lemon juice with baking soda and stirring until mixed completely. Once mixed, apply to the copper surface and buff in a circular motion using a soft and clean cloth. Rinse and dry.Is wearing a copper bracelet good for your health? ›
Copper bracelets are thought to help ease the aches and pains of stiff and sore joints. The as-yet limited research has yielded some evidence to support their use in medicine, but even more studies have emerged advising that they have no clinical impact.What can I use to clean my copper bracelet? ›
Mix one tablespoon of salt and one cup of white vinegar in a bowl, then gradually add flour and mix until it forms a paste. Now, apply the paste to your bracelet and rub it over the tarnished areas. Let it sit from 15 minutes to an hour and rinse with warm water—polish as needed.How long does a copper bracelet last? ›
One of the biggest perks of copper bracelets is how long they last. According to some proponents, will only need to replace your bracelet after two years of continued use for optimal effect, but this can be extended if you are not a constant wearer.What happens when you soak copper in vinegar? ›
What happens when you put copper in vinegar? The combination of the acetic acid (vinegar) and sodium chloride (table salt) dissolves copper oxide and makes the copper shiny again.What happens when vinegar touches copper? ›
When the vinegar and salt dissolve the copper-oxide layer, they make it easier for the copper atoms to join oxygen from the air and chlorine from the salt to make a blue-green compound called malachite.What vinegar is best for cleaning copper? ›
- Place all your copper and brass in the bucket.
- Add a tablespoon of table salt.
- Add enough white vinegar to cover your metal.
- Give the bucket a light shake, and let your bucket stand for about 20 minutes.
- Remove your metal and dry (inside and out) with a Bounty Paper Towels.
Fill a spray bottle with 1 pint of white vinegar and add 3 tablespoons of table salt. Spray solution liberally on copper or brass. Put it aside and forget it allowing it to set for a while, then simply rub clean.Does salt water ruin copper? ›
Copper is one of the least resistant metals to salt-related corrosion. Over time, copper pipes will turn bluish-green with exposure and eventually crumble away. Galvanized steel and cast iron are more resistant to saltwater corrosion, but exposure over time can still cause damage.Does vinegar and baking soda clean copper? ›
Be sure to have the following ingredients on hand, says Reichert, to remove and prevent tarnish and polish up copper pieces: baking soda, lemon juice, salt, vinegar, ketchup, baby oil, orange juice (as an alternative), and baking soda.
Copper can tarnish, however. Some people choose to let Mother Nature create a green patina, but we know others prefer to maintain the shine of copper. We suggest you use a natural copper cleaning solution of water, peroxide, and citric acid to remove dirt from your cupola.Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean copper? ›
Apple Cider vinegar is even great to use for polishing silver, bronze and copper. For sanitizing and reusing jars, so that they don't end up in a landfill, disinfect with a 1 to 1 ratio of vinegar and warm soapy water and scrub well.Does rubbing alcohol clean copper? ›
Copper surfaces have natural antimicrobial properties
However, if you'd prefer not to wait that long between cleanings, the soap and water method detailed above will work effectively. Copper can also be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol, though the disinfectant has the potential to cause oxidation on raw surfaces.
Restore that bright sheen by soaking the copper bottom in a pan filled with Coke for about an hour. The acid in the Coke makes the copper look shiny and new—without scrubbing. This cleaning trick works on plenty of other household copper accents as well.What takes oxidation off of copper? ›
Baking Soda, Salt, Vinegar, & Flour Paste
While there are several different concoctions you can use for cleaning oxidation, a light solvent or gentle acidic solution with an abrasive or coarse agent is best for removing oxidation.
Copper and arthritis
Sellers claim that tiny amounts of copper rub off the bracelet onto the skin, which absorbs it into the body. They claim the copper helps regrow joint cartilage that has been lost because of arthritis, which helps cure the ailment and relieves pain.
Copper is actually diamagnetic, which means magnets repel it rather than attract it. Metals that are permanently magnetic, such as iron, are ferromagnetic. So, no, your copper item won't stick to the refrigerator.What does wearing a copper bracelet mean? ›
Copper bracelets have been used as an ancient remedy to reduce the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The theory is based on the idea that the skin absorbs tiny particles of copper, helping regrow lost joint cartilage.How do I keep my copper bracelet from turning my wrist green? ›
Wearing copper jewelry can cause your skin to turn green due to chemical reactions. To prevent it coat your jewelry with clear nail polish and keep away from water.Why is my copper bracelet turning my wrist green? ›
When jewelry is made with copper, it can react with sweat, lotion, and other products on your skin and oxidize. When copper oxidizes, it goes through chemical reactions that create a green type of “film” on the jewelry, which then transfers to the skin.
Dish Detergent & Warm Water
The best homemade jewelry cleaning solution is a mixture of a few drops of Dawn dish detergent in warm, not hot, water. Let the piece sit in the solution for a few minutes, longer if it's very dirty, then gently scrub with a new, baby-size, soft toothbrush.
Yes! To clean your jewelry using isopropyl rubbing alcohol, fill a small bowl with it—just enough to fully cover the piece you wish you clean. Leave the jewelry to soak in the bowl for a few minutes. Alcohol dries completely clear on metal surfaces so there is no need to rinse it off with water.Do copper bracelets work for joint pain? ›
But studies confirm these treatments are ineffective for arthritis pain. According to studies published over the years, magnetic wrist straps and copper bracelets don't work on arthritis pain or stiffness. Placebo-controlled trials have been done in both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).Can copper bracelets make you tired? ›
Some bracelets may contain toxic metals such as lead. The common symptoms of lead toxicity may include low appetite, headaches, digestive problems, irritability, insomnia, lethargy, anemia and hypertension.Is copper bracelet good for blood pressure? ›
There are strong links between copper bracelets and a reduction in blood pressure. This, combined with a good diet and regular exercise, can contribute to reducing your risk of cardiovascular illnesses associated with high blood pressure.Can you wear copper everyday? ›
Some people have a terrible time with this, yet others can wear copper everyday and have no skin discoloration issues. - Copper simply reacts to our skin's chemistry - some of us have more acidic skin which is the culprit for copper skin discolorations.Which is better copper or magnetic bracelets? ›
Seventy rheumatoid arthritis patients with symptoms wore either copper, magnet, or placebo bracelets over a five-month period and reported on how they felt; they were also given blood tests to check inflammation levels. The results: Neither the copper nor the magnets were any more effective than the placebo.Who should not wear magnetic bracelets? ›
Despite the popularity of magnetic bracelets, science has largely disproven the effectiveness of such magnets in treating chronic pain, inflammation, disease, and general health deficiencies. Don't use magnets as a replacement for proper medical attention, and avoid them if you have a pacemaker or use an insulin pump.How do you clean badly tarnished copper? ›
Heat can help banish truly stubborn tarnish. Boil a cup of vinegar, a tablespoon of salt, and three cups of water in a large pot and add the copper item. Let it boil until the tarnish begins to come off, then remove the item, let it cool, polish, rinse, and dry.What is the fastest way to clean copper? ›
Try vinegar or ketchup.
"If you have a large copper item and you want to clean it quickly, boil three cups of water and add a cup of vinegar and one tablespoon or more of salt," says Reichert. Next, stir the mixture until the salt is dissolved and then place the copper item in the water.
Use of the Day: WD-40 helps to remove oxidation from copper pots. Clean with soap and water after.Can Coke clean copper? ›
Restore that bright sheen by soaking the copper bottom in a pan filled with Coke for about an hour. The acid in the Coke makes the copper look shiny and new—without scrubbing. This cleaning trick works on plenty of other household copper accents as well.
For copper pots that are heavily tarnished, rub on the toothpaste and let it work for a few minutes before wiping away the tarnish. Rinse in hot water and shine with a dry cloth.Can you clean copper with hydrogen peroxide? ›
Natural Recipe To Clean Copper & Silver Fantastically
Use a clean cloth, and then mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide with it to clean copper or silver. Make sure you wear gloves or your nails will get stain. Then you must also clean your nails with the same ingredients that you used to clean the copper or silver.
There is no problem with using isopropyl alcohol to clean off copper or aluminum.Can you clean copper with steel wool? ›
Regardless of the type of copper item you are cleaning, never use steel wool or an abrasive cleaning tool to remove dirt, grime or tarnish. Once the tarnish is gone, you can rub on some olive oil for a bright finish.