Because they aren’t very common, knowing how to clean a copper sink is not common knowledge. Explore all the details of the benefits of copper sinks, proper copper sink care, various copper sink cleaners, and how cleaning copper sinks is easier than you’d think.
When we visited my friend’s house for the first time a few years ago, I remember checking out her copper sink in her kitchen and in her bathroom and thinking that they were pretty unique! I don’t think I’d ever seen someone who owned a copper sink before!
Her sink was extra special and Texan with large copper stars lining the inside and outside of them!
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I also remember her telling me how much she hated having a copper sink! It’s not clean, neat, shiny, and perfect like she likes the aesthetics in her home to be.
I have in the past figured out how to clean copper pots with vinegar and salt and even how to clean copper bottom pots with ketchup! Once I even figure out how to clean a burnt pot bottom that was also on a copper pot. But I didn’t know about cleaning copper contained elsewhere than my cookware.
So, I began researching copper cleaning and learned a ton about copper sinks in the process and how to clean a copper sink. I asked my friend Brittany if I could come to her house and do some experimenting on her copper sinks, and she gladly accepted my offer!
We made some various DIY conconctions, tried various copper cleaners, and so on.
But, first, let me share what I learned about copper sinks, cleaning them, and protecting.
Benefits of a Copper Sink
Like I said, I had never heard of a copper sink until a few years ago and I was curious why someone would want a copper sink over a stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic, or stone sink that are far more common to see in someone’s house.
According to World Copper Smith, the benefits of a copper sink are:
- Attractive (at least to some) with its warm and rustic color
- Easy to maintain (as long as you know what to avoid)
- Naturally antibacterial (bacteria dies off in just a few hours)
- Lower risk of staining and denting
- Durable as they do not rust or crack
- Develop attractive patina over time
- Increases home value
It is pretty awesome that they are tough and easy to take care of and therefore can last you years and years! Of course, that does mean they tend to be more expensive.
Cleaning Copper Sinks
Copper sinks are touted as being “easy to maintain” so cleaning them must be simple, right?
Yes and no.
When it comes to cleaning copper sinks, it really depends on what type of copper sink you have and your preference for either a dark patina copper look or the bright “rose gold” color look of raw copper.
A lacquered copper sink helps protect the sink’s pretty patina (or lack thereof) and helps it last a little longer. But, generally it is unnecessary and a lacquer prevents copper’s natural antimicrobial function from working as it should. If you like the natural browning process of your copper and its variances, don’t worry about waxing or lacquers.
But, if you like the current patina as it is now or desire that bright raw copper look, a lacquer or wax are important to keep on your sink. Plus, a lacquer or wax can help prevent water spots from forming.
If you are unsure if your copper is lacquered or not, you can do a little spot test. You can do this by applying some salt and vinegar to a small area and then rinse it off shortly thereafter. If it is noticeably brighter, then your sink is likely not lacquered.
If you love the natural patina of copper, then yes, cleaning a copper sink is super easy and only requires you to wipe it down with a soapy, non-abrasive sponge after you do your dishes.
If you love the bright almost pinkish look of naked copper and want to keep that color on your sink, you need to clean and wax your copper sink regularly and fight the natural patina that starts to happen with copper.
Copper Sink Care
When it comes to the proper car of copper sinks, there are some things to avoid touching (and staying on) or using on your copper sink, like:
- Acidic foods: lemons, tomatoes, BBQ sauce, ketchup, vinegar, etc
- Hard abrasive cleaners like Coment
- Steel wool
If you are cleaning something acidic in your sink, just make sure to keep the water running and it shouldn’t be a problem.
Generally, it is best to clean pots and pans right away, rather than letting them sit in your sink, as sometimes the metals react to each other and cause some scratching.
To prevent this, you can purchase a kitchen sink bottom grid.
When cleaning in your sinks use:
- Mild, non-abrasive cleaning sponges and brushes
- Dish soap
It’s also helpful to dry copper sinks promptly after use, especially if you have hard water. This will help prevent any green spots from forming. You can also pick up a magnet sponge holder to keep sponges and brushes off the sink and drying properly.
How to Clean a Copper Sink
When it comes to daily cleaning, all you need to do is clear the sink of dishes, and then wet a sponge with water a dab of dish soap and scrub the inside of your sink. Rinse with clear water. Then dry.
It will disinfect itself and patina how it chooses.
If you get a stain on your copper sink for some reason, you can scrub it out with a little baking soda and water paste and a non-scratch scrub brush or sponge. It might be left a little shiny, but it will brown again in a few days and be stain free.
Copper Surface Wax
To keep a patina from developing or drastically changing, you will need to apply a coating of wax regularly. It should be replaced whenever water stops beading inside the sink.
When it comes to what copper wax to use, a Carnauba wax or specialized copper waxes are your best bet. These include:
- Turtle Wax
- Sinkology Copper Armor Care Kit
- Premier Copper Copper Sink Wax Protectant
- Renaissance Wax Polish
Copper Sink Cleaners
If you want to clean copper so it will shine and remove the patina, there are specially made copper cleaners like the following:
- Wright’s Copper Cream and Cleaner
- Brasso Matal Polish and Cleaner
- Weiman Silver Polish and Cleaner
- Bar Keepers Friend
- Twinkle Brass and Copper Cleaning Kit
However, you can use everyday household cleaning ingredients to clean your copper. In fact, one of the best copper cleaners is vinegar and salt, something everyone has in their home.
My friend and I used a variety of copper cleaners and DIY cleaners. Our conclusion was that the best was vinegar and salt. The hard part about vinegar and salt though is getting it to adhere to all of the surfaces of a big kitchen sink, which can move it down from the first choice of copper cleaners for cleaning a copper sink. We used a spray cleaning vinegar and spread the salt as best we could.
However, the liquid Bar Keepers Friend was convenient to use so we ended up using that to finish up the job, along with the vinegar and salt. We also tested some barbecue sauce (she didn’t have any ketchup), Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner, and weird and varied mixtures of baking soda, vinegar, flour, salt, etc that didn’t really work.
With ANY of the copper cleaners you use, I highly recommend letting it sit for quiet a while before scrubbing. The longer it sits the more and better it works to remove the copper tarnish, right before you eyes, without scrubbing!
After we removed as much tarnish as we could (in the time we had), we dried it really well and used a dusting spray as we didn’t currently have a wax on hand which would have been WAY better to use and you should if you want it to stay shiny and patina free. My friend LOVES the rose gold colored copper, the raw copper look as it’s “shiny and pretty.”
For her, because it’s a lot of work to remove the copper patina and clean a copper sink and wax it, she doesn’t like her sink.
But, that’s her opinion! There are still many benefits to it, and keeping it shiny doesn’t have to take forever.
I hope this helps!
Check out these other great kitchen cleaning tutorials:
- A simple and effective way to clean burnt Le Creuset dutch oven
- Easiest way to clean your microwave with vinegar
- 17 Ways to use baking soda to clean your kitchen
- How to properly load a dishwasher
- Best way to clean a glass cooktop
- The best way to clean oven racks
- How to remove mildew odor on kitchen dishcloths