How to Clean a Copper Sink and Restore Its Patina

Copper is a fascinating metal that has a reputation for being temperamental. However, this reputation is somewhat unfair. Copper has what is known as a ‘living finish’, meaning that its color will change naturally over time – imagine a shiny penny darkening and developing a deep patina with age.

Copper sinks develop a patina quickly because they are used so regularly, but it is very likely that they will stain and the patina will peel off. None of these copper sink color changes are a cause for concern; Changes in the patina do not indicate damage to the sink. That’s just the nature of copper.

Werner Straube

How often do you clean a copper sink?

When it comes to how often a copper sink needs to be cleaned, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that cleaning a copper sink is as easy as washing dishes. The bad news is that you have to do it often – at least daily – to keep the sink looking its best.

Copper sinks should be cleaned daily with mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth or sponge. In addition, the sink should be rinsed after each use to remove acidic or oily residues that can alter the copper patina. To avoid mineral staining in the water supply, dry the sink after each use.

What to avoid when cleaning a copper sink

When it comes to caring for a copper sink, it’s important to know what Not make. Cleaning a copper sink is just as easy as cleaning it, but using the wrong cleaning supplies or tools can cause irreversible damage to this beautiful metal.

Avoid the following when cleaning or maintaining a copper sink:

  • Abrasive cleaning products, including scouring powders and cleaning creams
  • Chlorine bleach and products that contain bleach as an ingredient
  • Drain openers and other products that contain harsh chemicals
  • steel wool, scouring pads and scrubbing brushes
  • Avoid leaving food or dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, especially oily foods and citrus or other acidic foods (tomatoes and tomato products such as ketchup, lemons, limes, pickles, etc.).
  • Avoid leaving residue from cosmetics and personal care products like toothpaste and shaving cream in the sink

How to clean a copper sink

Regular cleaning will help keep a copper sink looking beautiful for years, whether raw or painted.

what you will need

  • Mild detergent
  • Non-abrasive sponge or tea towel
  • Microfiber or cotton cloth

Step 1: Rinse the sink

Rinse the sink with warm or hot water to remove any particles or debris on the sink surface.

Step 2: Wipe down the sink

Use a mild liquid dish soap and a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth to wipe the entire inside of the sink. Pay special attention to the rim as food and liquids can splash and get stuck, damaging the surface.

Step 3: Rinse and dry

Rinse off soap residue with warm or hot water. Then use a microfiber or cotton cloth to thoroughly dry the sink and faucets.

Tria Giovanni

Troubleshooting common issues with copper sinks

It’s inevitable that at some point your copper sink will be exposed to something that will peel off its patina. The first thing you must do is stave off any panic by remembering that changes in the appearance of copper are part of its natural beauty and that over time the rich tones of the copper patina will reappear.

However, there are some steps you can take to reverse the discoloration or peeling of the copper patina.

1. Dishes or food that will damage the finish

While it’s recommended not to leave dishes or food in a copper sink, the reality is that a sink is a commodity, and dishes, utensils, leftovers, and more will be left in it over the course of regular daily use.

Since it’s not particularly realistic to completely ban plates and food from a kitchen sink, use a floor grid to keep things off the copper surface. Likewise, a sponge holder will help keep sponges and other cleaning implements, such as dishwashing sticks, from coming into direct contact with the copper.

2. Bright spots

Light spots caused by the patina peeling off appear when the copper has been exposed to some acid, such as a slice of lemon or a dollop of tomato sauce. These are inevitable and should be considered part of copper sink ownership and not a cause for concern

If light spots appear, wipe away the substance that caused the color change and let nature take its course – the patina will return over time. To speed up the process, clean the sink with mild soap and water, then use a stiff, nylon-bristle brush to gently scrub the edges of the light-colored stain to wear it down and blend the surrounding patina.

3. Green spots or discoloration

Green spotting or discoloration on copper, known as verdigris, occurs naturally and is not harmful to the metal. Verdigris, a buildup of minerals, can be caused by prolonged exposure to moisture and some soaps.

To prevent verdigris, wipe down a copper sink after each use to prevent water from pooling and to ensure no soap residue is left on the surface. Pay special attention to the drain, faucets, and other fixtures where water tends to linger and cause discoloration.

If verdigris appears, simply wipe it off with a microfiber or cotton cloth. Additional pressure can be applied with a fingernail, but avoid scraping verdigris off a copper surface with something more abrasive. If more abrasive power is needed to remove verdigris, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the copper with a sponge in a circular motion before rinsing.

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