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How To Clean Copper Pans

September 30, 2015

Copper pots and pans might well be the supermodels of the kitchenware world.

With their glossy, deep orange hue, even the thin patina that forms on copper pans as they age is gorgeous. But just like any beautiful cover model this magnificent metal can be high maintenance, and cleaning copper pots and pans can be a huge pain.

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to get your copper kettles, Moscow Mule mugs, and pots and pans sparkling clean. As weird as it sounds, a bit of ketchup on a dishrag will do the trick. Buff the surface, and rinse the pot off with warm water.

The reason why this condiment can serve double duty as a cleaning product comes down a reaction between copper and oxygen. When copper looks dirty, it’s really just a thin layer of copper oxide on the surface of the pan. The acid (from tomatoes and vinegar) in the ketchup breaks up this oxidation, and reveals the shiny surface of the copper.

If you need a bit more scrubbing power, try mixing some sea salt into the ketchup. Just be sure to use a soft dishcloth, and avoid any harsh, synthetic materials—you don’t want to permanently scratch the surface of your pans.

Photo credit: Gabriel (Gabi) Bucataru via Stocksy

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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