How to clean dirty copper pipe tubing to make it bright and shiny

Written by marisa swanson
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How to clean dirty copper pipe tubing to make it bright and shiny
Apply cleaning solution to copper pipes. (Getty Creative)

Copper is used in many applications. From currency and piping to cookware and sculpture, it is among the most versatile of metals. Unfortunately, as copper is exposed to air and water, it gets dirty and stained. A patina develops on the copper that prevents its golden, shiny colour from showing through. Patinas have different looks to them and can range from a light green to a brownish colour. Cleaning copper can be done in more than one way, safely and easily with average household items. There are cleaning solutions you can make, depending on the severity of the tarnish, to make your copper look new again.

Things you need

  • Small bowl
  • Rinse water
  • Soft cloths
  • Beeswax
  • Solution for mild tarnish:
  • 18 ml (1 tbsp) vinegar
  • 18 ml (1 tbsp) salt
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) flour paste
  • Solution for severe tarnish:
  • 18 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 18 ml (1 tbsp) salt
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) tomato paste

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  1. 1

    Wash your pipes with warm water and dry thoroughly. Apply a small amount of your cleaning solution (either the severe or light tarnish version) to a soft cloth.

  2. 2

    Rub the solution briskly into the copper. This will take some elbow grease depending on how bad the stains are.

  3. 3

    Rinse away the cleaning solution with clean water. Dry the pipes thoroughly using a clean, soft cloth.

  4. 4

    Polish with a soft cloth and beeswax to get a lasting shine.

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