Mother Earth Living

Copper Care

Copper pots and pans rarely require special attention, but sometimes a work-a-day pot longs to shine.
By Ken Hoyt
September/October 2008
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A simple combination of salt and lemon juice scours copper pots clean.

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Bright and Shiny Copper Cleaner

This technique also removes cooked-on food residue without the use of toxic chemicals.

•1 cup kosher salt
•1 lemon, halved

1Pour salt into an open dish. Dip the cut side of the lemon directly into the salt to develop a nice crust, about 1⁄8-inch-thick.

Scrub the copper surface with the salted end of the lemon in a circular motion. Re-dip the lemon half to add abrasive salt as needed. Squeeze the lemon a little when the surface gets dry. 

Rinse well, then wash and dry.

Amazing Deglazing

Chefs use the caramelized bits of food to add color and flavor to sauces; it’s called deglazing. You can borrow that classic culinary technique for cleaning.

•1⁄2 cup distilled white vinegar
•1 cup warm or hot water
•1⁄2 cup kosher salt

Remove cooked food from pan. Add water and vinegar. Cover with lid and return to burner. Bring liquid to a boil, then turn off burner. Leave covered pot on the stove until water and vinegar cool.

Pour off liquid. The majority of the food particles should pour off with the water or easily wipe away. Use salt as a scouring powder if needed. Rinse well.

Easy Does It 

Avoid using gritty powders or abrasive scouring pads on copper surfaces. Constant abrasion can damage a surface or make it more difficult to clean.

If you need a little scour power, choose a gentle option such as a nylon sponge with a scouring surface. Freshen the sponge occasionally by throwing it in your dishwasher with your regular load. 

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