How to clean Copper Jewelry made with Crystals/Stones or All Copper
Tarnishing is caused by oxidation and occurs when the copper reacts with air.
CLEANING COPPER WITH GEMSTONES: THE DISH SOAP METHOD
This is probably the easiest and safest way to clean your copper jewelry with gemstones. The soap won’t hurt your copper or your gem.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO GET STARTED:
- Warm water
- Mild dish soap
- Towel (optional)
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Heat up some water either on the stove or in the microwave. The amount you’ll need depends on how many pieces of jewelry you want to clean, but in general, you shouldn’t need more than a cup or two.
Once the water is warm, separate it into two different bowls. It doesn’t have to be exact, just splitting it roughly in half is fine.
Mix a bit of dish soap into one of the bowls. Again, the amount will depend on how much jewelry you are planning to clean, but don’t get hung up on how much soap or water to add. Your only goal is to make the water slightly soapy so it will help clean your rings.
Just be aware that the more soap you add the more slippery your jewelry will be which could make it hard to hold.
WHEN EVERYTHING IS SET UP
Dip your toothbrush into the soapy water and scrub your copper jewelry, gemstone and all. Make sure you get any dirt or lotion sitting behind the gem or along its corners.
When you’re done scrubbing, dip the jewelry into your other bowl of warm water to rinse it off. Then pat it dry with a towel.
If you’re worried that a toothbrush might be too hard on your copper or gemstone, you can use a lint-free cloth instead.
CLEANING ALL COPPER JEWELRY
Fortunately, it is easy to clean copper jewelry with an acidic solution, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or ketchup. Below are several methods on how to clean copper jewelry and restore the gorgeous brilliant shine of copper.
- Lemon Juice.Place the jewelry in a small bowl and squeeze enough lemon juice to cover the copper jewelry. Sprinkle salt on the piece and leave it for about 20 minutes for the dirt to breakdown. Use your fingers or a soft cloth to rub the salt into the piece. You may use a soft brush to reach the crevices and edges of the jewelry. Rinse with water and dry the piece with a soft cloth.
- Vinegar. Fill a plastic or glass bowl with white vinegar and cover the piece of copper jewelry. Do not use a metal bowl. Sprinkle table salt on the jewelry and let it sit for a few minutes. Rub in the salt with your fingers, a cloth, or a toothbrush. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and rinse with water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
- Ketchup. Spread ketchup on the copper jewelry with your fingers, a cloth, or a toothbrush. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Do NOT use a commercial copper cleaner to clean your copper jewelry. The chemical is too harsh for jewelry and damage your jewelry.
When your copper is not in use, store in plastic bags to slow the tarnishing process and add anti-tarnish strips, if you like.
How to store copper
Before storing your copper, make sure that the copper jewelry has been dried thoroughly. Because exposure to air and moisture is what causes copper to tarnish, always store copper in a cool, dry area. Place the copper jewelry in an airtight bag, such as a plastic Ziploc bag, as this will reduce the interaction of the copper with air, slowing down the rate of tarnish. If you can find some, wrap your copper jewelry in anti-tarnish paper before you seal it away.