The Easiest Way to Clean and Polish Copper Naturally With Just One Simple Ingredient 

Copper is beautiful when it’s bright and shiny with that glorious pinkish tinge but when it’s dirty, dull, and tarnished, it is not such a pretty sight.

How to clean copper - old copper boiler before cleaning

I have a copper wash tub that was my Grandma’s.  It was used to do laundry for her 8 children.  {I am so thankful to have a Maytag!}

The tub has been soldered with metal added that was not copper and it has dings, scratches, and dents all over it.  It’s my idea of beautiful!  

I have had that washtub for longer than I can remember and I have tried, on several occasions, to clean it and shine it but I always got discouraged.  

How To Clean Badly Oxidized Copper

I tried so many store bought cleaners and never found any of them to get the copper clean. My arm would get tired from all the rubbing and buffing but one day, when looking for natural ways to clean copper I saw this tip, ketchup.

Ketchup to Clean and Polish Copper?

I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  It was Christmastime (do you see how long it takes me to actually do some of my posts!) and I wanted to use the copper tub to hold one of my smaller Christmas trees but there was no way I was going to use it in its then-current state.  

I brought it from my sunroom, where is had it stored, into my laundry room and started slathering it with ketchup and when I say slathering, I mean slathering.

How-to-clean-copper from

How to Clean and Polish Copper Naturally

How to Clean and Polish Copper Naturally

Clean and polish copper naturally with this one easy-to-find and inexpensive store ingredient. It will even clean and shine old badly oxidized copper.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1.00


  • 1 or more bottles of ketchup
  • Sponge-type scrubber for any grooves or areas that are a little stubborn to clean


  • Just your hands and a sponge


How to clean and polish copper without harsh chemicals.

Slather a thick coating all over your copper surface.

Let the ketchup stay on the copper for several hours but don’t let it dry.

While still wet rinse the copper and wipe dry! You may need to reapply a second coat of ketchup to some of the areas and use a scrubber to get the tough portions clean.



Antique-copper-wash-tub from

That’s it! Doesn’t it look so much better after?  Not perfect but I still love it!


And here it was as part of my Christmas decor.

hugs, mb new logo March 2016
before and after picture of old oxidized copper cleaned with ketchup