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How to Care for Copper Mugs to keep them Shiny and Beautiful

copper Moscow Mules

When it comes to refreshing drinks, Moscow Mules continue to be one of the most popular choices among those who like organizing dinner parties at home. In this article we will learn how to care for copper mugs to make sure they stay shiny and beautiful for a long time.

First of all, it’s important to mention that this article focuses on mugs that are made of pure copper and have no lining. Just copper, nothing else. If you have a superior quality mug made of 100% copper, then this is the article you have been looking for,

Let’s begin by talking a little about copper, which is a soft malleable metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. This is why it is often used for electrical wiring, and in the context of cold drinks, it is used to make mugs that keep drinks colder for a longer time.

In fact, copper has been used for thousands of years. Back in the times of the Roman Empire, most copper was extracted from Cyprus. Because of this, the metal used to be known as “aes cyprium” which meant “metal of Cyprus” and later changed to “cuprum” which eventually led to the English word “copper.” Although copper has been used for more than 10,000 years by humanity, more than 95% of all copper ever mined has been extracted since 1900.

How to use Copper Mugs and clean them for everyday use

Let’s start by talking about the proper way to store your copper mugs. Preferably, store your them in a place that is cool and dry. Avoid warm and humid areas whenever possible to prevent tarnishing and to keep your Moscow mule mugs shiny for a longer time.

So, Why does Copper Tarnish?

Copper doesn’t react with water, but over time it reacts with atmospheric oxygen to form a thin layer of dark copper oxide, also known as patina which works as a thin protective layer that shields the underlying copper. When used at home for a certain time, copper mugs will start to have a brown color that resembles that of a penny.

However, if the copper is exposed to water constantly and it is not dried using a piece of cloth, the patina will eventually acquire a green / blue color. Although patina is not dangerous in any way, copper mugs look much better when they are clean and shiny. Let’s take a look at a few ideas to care for copper mugs and remove any tarnish they may develop over time.

Things to do and things to avoid

Do’s:

  • Do wash your copper mugs using tap water, mild soap and a soft kitchen sponge, making sure to dry them thoroughly using a soft cloth.
  • Do make sure to keep them in a cool dry place, and avoid storing them in places that are warm and humid whenever possible.

Dont’s:

  • Avoid washing your copper mugs in the dishwasher. The detergents used in dishwashers can be corrosive and damage the finish.
  • Avoid using abrasive tools or scourers to clean or wash your Moscow mule mug in order to avoid unnecessary dents and scratches. Remember copper is a relatively soft metal.
  • This is rather obvious, but make sure you avoid heating your copper mugs in the microwave. Metals should never be placed inside a microwave and that certainly includes copper.

Now, let’s take a look at a few natural copper cleaners you can make using common household items.

Natural Copper Cleaners

The old and effective salty lemon rub

This is what you will need:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 dry tablecloth
  • Tap water


First step: Get a slice of lemon and rub it on your copper mug.

Second step: Sprinkle a little salt on your mug.

Third step: Wait for 20 seconds to let it work.

Fourth step: Squeeze some lemon juice on the soft side of a kitchen sponge. You can also use a soft toothbrush if your mugs have intricate designs or textures.

Fifth step: Rub the salt gently to remove any tarnish that is present.

Sixth step: Rinse using tap water.

Seventh step: Dry thoroughly using a soft cloth.

This short video will give you a good idea of what the process looks like and how the copper will look at the end:


The simple “Ketchup Method”


This is what you will need:

  • 1 bottle of ketchup
  • 1 dry tablecloth
  • Tap water



First step: Pour some ketchup on your copper item. Cover all of it with a think layer.

Second step: Wait and let it sit still for 1 hour.

Third step: Rinse the ketchup off using tap water to get rid of all the ketchup.

Fourth step: Polish and dry thoroughly using a soft cloth.

This short tutorial will give show you what the overall process looks like:




How to remove mild tarnish from copper


This is what you will need:

  • Salt or baking soda
  • White wine vinegar
  • A soft kitchen sponge
  • Tap water
  • A soft dry cloth



First step: Sprinkle some salt on the copper mug

Second step: Pour some vinegar on the copper mug

Third step: Sprinkle a little more salt

Fourth step: Scrub using the soft side of a kitchen sponge till the tarnish goes away

Fifth step: Rinse using warm tap water

Sixth step: Dry thoroughly using a soft tablecloth



Here’s a great video made by DaveHax that shows the process step by step:





How to remove severe tarnish from copper

This is what you will need:

  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part salt
  • Tomato paste
  • Water
  • A soft dry cloth
  • A small bowl



First step: Wash your copper mug using warm water and dry it thoroughly using a tablecloth.

Second step: Apply a small amount of a lemon juice, salt and tomato paste mix.

Third step: Using the table cloth, rub the cleaning solution briskly onto your copper mug.

Fourth step: Rinse the copper mug using tap water to remove the cleaning solution.

Fifth step: Dry the copper mug thoroughly using a soft tablecloth.

Sixth step: Polish your copper mug using a dry cloth to make it extra shiny.



Finally, let’s take a quick look at a few copper cleaning products you can buy in case you prefer a ready made solution or have many copper mugs to clean.



Specialized Commercial copper cleaners you can buy:

Wright’s Copper Cream

This is an odor-free cream that rinses off easily and gets the job done every time. Wright’s Copper Cream usually comes in 2 sizes: an 8 oz container for about $7 and a 4 lb tub power users can buy for $13.

It even has a 4.5 star average rating on amazon. So, you can’t go wrong. If you want to bring your copper cleaning to a higher level, this product is worth a try. Here’s a good demo by Z1neZer0 Filmzz:





Twinkle Brass & Copper Cleaning Kit

This is another great product that has a 4.5 average rating on Amazon. Although it is often used on brass, it also works great for copper.

This short video made by Twinkle Polish Europe will give you a good idea of what you can expect from this great product:





Bar Keepers Friend

Here’s another classic that works great and has a 4.5 star average rating on Amazon. At less than 6 dollars for 12 oz of product, it turns out to be the least expensive cleaner in our small list.

This short video made by Cheriatthe2ndhalf will give you a good idea of how Bar Keepers Friend works (skip all the way to 1:10)



So, there you have it. Now you know how to care for copper mugs and you have a few options to keep them shiny all the time.

Our Gift set of 2 hammered copper Mugs made by hand in India is a popular gift and it is easy to keep shiny using the tips outlined in this article. This is what they look like: 

 

You can find them here: Set of 2 Hammered Copper Mugs

 


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