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Copper is one classic cookware material that has a reputation for its ability to conduct heat and electricity. It's this quality of even heating and re activeness to temperature that makes it such an impressive metal for cooking.
There are a lot more ways that copper stays at the opposite end of the conduction and heat-retention spectrum as cast iron that makes these two very different, yet complementary, materials for cooking.
Copper heats quickly and evenly, but it drops the heat just as fast. This responsiveness gives it an agility that can be very useful for delicate meals like fish as well as sauces, caramel, and chocolate.
If you remove a copper pan containing a delicate sauce from the heat and its temperature will lose rapidly, thus it resists the sauce getting overcooked or broken from exposure to the retained heat in the metal.
Basically, one of the reasons you bought copper cookware is because of its stunning look. Therefore, you do not want that look to go away that quickly. If so, then you need to maintain your copper pans and pots carefully.
As much as beneficial copper pans are, they can also be poisonous if you treat them the wrong way. Most of the copper pans are coated with another metal like (aluminum, stainless steel) to prevent food from coming into contact with copper.
To some extent, these coatings can break down and let copper dissolve in food, which can be toxic.
Cleaning copper cookware is a crucial part of your kitchen routine. By recognizing the importance of cleaning copper pots and pans, you can reap the benefits of your copper kitchenware for years to come.
Want to know what is the best way to clean copper cookware and maintain them? Then read the following guideline step by step in just fine minutes.
How to clean copper pots and pans:
This method applies to regular use and cleaning. It is free from any hassle, and you can be done in under a minute or two.
1. Clean the cookware with Dish Soap
First of all, you need to give it a gentle wash. To get started, rinse the pan thoroughly and take off any dirt or food stuck in.
Get your copper wet with dish soap and warm water. Then take a soft sponge and rub it gently to get it all off of the pan. Copper cookware is generally lined with stainless steel or aluminum. This initial cleaning is gentle enough for both materials.
After rinsing the soapy water off the pan, wipe out the extra water of your cookware. This will help reduce water stain.
Lastly, let the cookware dry properly to ensure there is no water left. This part is necessary to reduce oxidation and make sure a long lifespan of your pots and pans.
2. Polishing Copper Pots and Pans Regularly to avoid Tarnishing
(How to clean old copper pots)
Tarnishing refers to a way in which some metals change color when they are exposed to the air. Copper tarnish occurs in a multi-stage process. At first, it gives the metal a deep red color. For the next stage, it gets a black hue, and finally, the sea-green patina made famous by the Statue of Liberty.
Although Copper tarnish seems to be a feature on architectural structures, it is such an eyesore on copper pots and pans. But not to worry, there are ways you can remove this tarnish.
So the layer of corrosion that occurs on copper is an entirely normal reaction. To prevent tarnish from your cookware, we suggest polishing copper every six months with some special cleaner suited to your cookware.
Now, you can buy some fancy ones from your local supermarket, or you can make a homemade mixture by yourself in less than 5 minutes, with ingredients you have right in your kitchen.
Here we discuss six different polishing methods for you to keep your copper cookware shiny and new. Plus these methods will cover for how to clean old copper pots that have been tarnished already.
Method 1: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
This citrus fruit is a lifesaver for many activities in our life. When it comes to cleaning, this multipurpose fruit works like a charm. And by combining this lemon juice with baking soda, you have got your own cleaning cocktail to save your favorite copper pans.
2. Baking Soda
3. Soft cloth or sponge
4. Microfiber cloth
- Firstly, combine several teaspoons of lemon juice and 1 or 2 tablespoons (Depends on the dimension of your pans) of baking soda together. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply and scrub the mixture onto the surface of your cookware and buff in a circular motion.
- Very soon, you’ll notice the dirt/ stain will start to disappear.
- For the final step, polish your copper pan using a clean, soft microfiber cloth.
Method 2: Ketchup
Did you know ketchup is more than just a sauce that generally tastes great with French fries or chicken nuggets? yes, it has other benefits, and Miles said: "You know what many people don't know... is that it's (ketchup) also a really good moisturizer." In fact, ketchup or salsa may help you change dull copper pots and pans into great ones at any time.
A little amount of ketchup can make a world of difference in your copper pots and pans. It is such an excellent cleaner that help you improve the appearance of your copper pots and pans instantly.
3. Kitchen towel
- Cover your copper pan with a layer of ketchup evenly and rub it across the surface. The acidity of the ketchup helps to clean off tarnish and polish the pot.
- Let the sauce stay on the pan for around one or two minutes.
- Then wipe it off with a soft sponge and rinse your cookware.
- Finally, wipe your cookware using a soft and dry towel and let it dry properly. Results of this method will totally amaze you. This simple process will restore your copper pots and pans to a new-like condition!
Method 3: Lemon and Salt
Again, we will use this blessing called lemon for cleaning our copper cookware other than making some lemonade. This time we will use an ingredient that is available in every house in this world, salt.
- soft cloth
- Cut a lemon and squeeze the juice of it into a bowl. Add salt to the juice to create a paste that is thick enough to get stick to the pan.
- Pour the paste on the pan and Rub evenly. If your utensil is already tarnished, then continue rubbing and see the magic. The tarnish will be removed within minutes.
- Rinse your pan thoroughly and wipe with a soft or microfiber cloth.
- Finally, buff it with another clean and dry cloth, using circular motions, till the copper glows. Keep it in your mind, more buffing adds more shine to the finish.
Method 4: Vinegar and Salt
Vinegar is one of the all-purpose kitchen items that makes an excellent metal polish and cleaning agent. It is close to a perfect substitute for lemon for cleaning and cooking.
3. Microfiber cloth
- Combine one part vinegar and one part salt and create a paste using vinegar and salt.
- Pour the paste on the pan and Rub evenly. If your cookware is already tarnished, then continue rubbing and see the magic. The tarnish will be removed within minutes.
- Rinse your pan thoroughly and wipe with a soft or microfiber cloth.
- Finally, buff it with another clean and dry cloth, using circular motions, till the copper glows. Do not forget, the more you polish, the shinier the finish gets.
Method 5: Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar
Maybe cream of tartar isn't high on your list of spices that you use every day, but this one can really save your pans. The cream of tartar can be combined with lemon juice to make a fine paste used to clean copper that works quickly.
1. Cream of tartar
2. Lemon juice
3. Microfiber cloth
- Mix the cream of tartar and lemon juice together. Now make a paste that is thin enough to apply onto your copper pots and pans smoothly but remains thick enough to stick to your cookware.
- Apply the paste to your copper pots or pans using a soft clean cloth and let this one stay for like 5 minutes.
- Finally, clean your pots and pans with warm soapy water, then rinse and dry, and you'll discover a shiny like-new piece of cookware.
Method 6: Fresh Lemon and Table Salt
For this process, you'll need half of a lemon and some table salt. You will also need a bit of elbow grease. In this cleaning technique, the two of them together make for a killer combination that's hard to beat. But this solution is specially used for cleaning stubborn copper-ware stains.
1. Fresh Lemon
2. Table Salt
3. Dish soap
4. Warm water
5. soft cloth
- Simply cut a lemon in half and apply table salt to the cut section.
- Pour some salt onto a plate, sea salt is best, but any fine table salt will do the work. Next, dip the freshly cut lemon into the salt to scrub the dirt and stains off your copper cookware.
- Rub the lemon on the surface (using the salted side of the lemon half.) Add more salt if needed. The salt will provide an abrasive action to scrub off and remove the stains while the lemon juice has a mild acidic content that helps clean most surfaces of any materials.
- Finally, sink your copper-ware in warm soapy water, then rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. Your copper cookware with a gleam, and you'll be delighted with the outcome!
How to clean burnt copper pots
There are times when you accidentally burn your favorite copper pan. It is essential to know that the inside bottom of some copper cookware is made with materials like aluminum or stainless steel. And most of them are coated with a nonstick surface to ensure the metals do not come off and mix with food.
If your copper pot’s inside bottom is surfaced with nonstick coating, then you can follow this method to save your burnt pots or pans. This method is an excellent solution to how to clean copper bottom pots when burnt.
Homemade cleaning cocktail to clean a nonstick burnt copper pan
This home remedy is quite useful when it comes to cleaning nonstick cookware. Without much effort, the result you get will amaze you surely.
Add half cup vinegar and one and a half cups water to your nonstick pan. The measurement might vary according to the width and depth of your pots and pans. But remember, whatever size of your cookware is, the ratio of vinegar and water should be 1:3.
boil the cocktail over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool; otherwise, you might end up getting your hands burnt along with your pan.
Wash the pan with warm water and scrub it with gentle dish soap and a microfiber cloth. Your burnt copper pan should be restored within a couple of minutes.
How to use and maintain copper pots and pans
1. Try skipping the dishwasher
We all know, for today’s busy life, it is a little hassle to wash dishes by hand. But it’s worth the few extra seconds’ post-meal preps.
Read your manufacturer’s care instructions carefully, as many cookware require different maintenance methods. Even though some brands say their products are dishwasher safe, most of the cases they happen to be nothing but a bluff.
Our advice is not to put your pans and pots in the dishwasher if you can manage some extra time. They last much longer when you clean them by hand.
Moreover, the nonstick coating can deteriorate faster under the high heat and rough conditions of the hands-off machine like a dishwasher. Your nonstick copper pan might say it is 'dishwasher-safe,' but hot temperatures and harsh detergents will break down the surface.
So try to skip the dishwasher as much as possible. But if you cannot do without it, then go for some quality products that can tolerate all the abuses. We reviewed the top ten red copper cookware just in case you are looking for some new copper cookware.
2. Clean your cookware immediately (as soon as possible)
Cleaning the pans right away makes most dirt to rinse right off. It is wise to clean your pans and pots as soon as possible to make the cleaning more comfortable and prevent unwanted stains.
For nonstick copper pans, the nonstick coating prevents most food from sticking, will also keep the majority of debris from doing so if you address it immediately. Use a gentle dish soap that is suitable for your nonstick copper pans. Wash the inner and outer part of the pots with soap and water, then scrub or wipe it with a microfiber cloth like usual.
3. Avoid harsh cleaners and metal scrubbers
Steel wool and those slightly-less-strong plastic scrubbing pads can harm your copper pans. Scratchy pads are not suitable for the delicate maintenance of your copper cookware. So, avoid using anything metal the inner and outer surfaces of your cookware. Try using microfiber cloths and soft sponges to clean copper pots and pans.
4. Use wooden spoon and delicate tools
Your copper cookware requires some sensitive care. That is why using metal utensils will clearly damage the pots and pans.
For cooking, use a smooth wooden spoon and rubber spatula on your copper cookware. This will prevent scratching and damaging your copper pots and pans.
5. Do not overdo the polishing
Polishing is a crucial part of the maintenance of your copper cookware. It prevents your pots and pans from getting tarnished and ensures long lasting shine. But as necessary as it is to polish your cookware, you should remember to follow a schedule.
It depends on how often you use your pans and pots actually. The heat accelerates some discoloration. But if unused then it takes a while for the oxidation to advance. On average, copper cookware should be polished after every six months (twice a year) to prevent tarnish.
6. Buff your copper cookware
Do you demand the best from your copper cookware? Then do not forget to buff your pans out with a dry and soft cloth. This lets you keep your copper pan shiny and looking new for so long.
You should buff copper cookware with soft and dry microfiber clothes after every wash. Buffing prevents your pans and pots from getting unwanted water stains.
7. Oil your nonstick copper pan up
Your nonstick copper cookware always improves with a little lubrication. Indeed, you don’t need to season your nonstick copper pans like cast iron. But rubbing a little bit of oil before and after using a nonstick pan can help protect the surface. One teaspoon to half tablespoon per dose should do.
8. Do not Skip Drying
Dry the utensils thoroughly and store them safely. If you're stacking the copper pans, among others, layer a dry, clean washcloth or dish towel (some reusable paper towels will do too) between each to avoid scratching and damaging the surface.
Final verdict on how to clean copper pots
In this article, we gave proper guidance on how to clean copper pots and pans. Copper cookware are mostly famous for sophisticated looks and appearance that attract everyone's eye. But cleaning copper pans is crucial if you want the best outcome from what you invest on your shiny copper cookware.
By following the steps written above, cleaning copper pots should be a piece of cake for you. Your cookware will thank you even after years of abuse if you follow these simple guidelines carefully. Happy Cleaning!