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Home-made Natural Copper and Brass Cleaning Recipes

Environmentally Friendly - No Chemicals

There are many recipes for home-made brass cleaners. These can be not only less expensive than name brand cleaners but for those who do not want chemicals in their home, these can be a good alternative.

There are a lot of sites with recipes for metal cleaners on them but which ones work better? We have tested some of the home-made copper and brass cleaning recipes and here are some results with pictures.

There are lots of variations of vinegar and salt. The acid in the vinegar will clean brass and copper, some have flour or other ingredients to make a paste to keep the acid on the copper. Ketchup and Lemon juice are also acids and will clean copper and brass.

The Testing

We divided a piece of copper into areas which would be tested.

Copper Lid Tarnished Before Cleaning

On each section, we applied a home-made copper cleaner made from ingredients found around the house. The bottom section was left bare for a comparison. The left side is a paste of Lemon Juice and Cream of Tarter. The Upper section is Vinegar, Salt and Flour. The Right Side is Catsup.

Copper Test

We waited 30 minutes and rinsed off the cleaners.The little clean spot on the untreated area is a drop of lemon juice.

Copper Test at 30 Minutes

We reapplied the cleaners, waited another 30 minutes to give them all a fair chance and here are the results after 60 minutes of sitting with the cleaners sitting on them.

We were amazed at the difference. These cleaners were just put on and rinsed off with no scrubbing.

This top area was salt, flour and vinegar.

Copper cleaning methods test

Lemon & Cream of TarterKetchup

Bare - No Cleaners

If you know of a recipe not on our site that you would like to see tested and compared, please send it to us. We will be happy to include the recipe in our comparisons. Please use the form at the bottom of the page.

Are you tired of polishing your brass over and over? Once you have the metal clean, you can keep it looking like it is just freshly polished with Everbrite or ProtectaClear. We have NEW directions with pictures which shows you exactly how you can enjoy the beauty of your copper, brass, silver and other metal without all the work.

Click here to see how easy it is.


Here are the recipes we used and some additional ones as well.

Natural Brass Cleaner

1 pint vinegar
3 tablespoons salt

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add salt. Spray solution liberally on copper or brass. Let set for a while, then simply rub clean.

Copper Polish: Mix one teaspoon salt, one tablespoon flour and enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Rub paste on surface and let dry completely. Rinse in warm soapy water, buff with clean soft cloth.

Sprinkle the surface with lemon juice, shake salt all over it, then rub with a soft sponge.

Lemon juice
Baking soda or cream of tartar

Make a paste about the consistency of toothpaste. Rub onto brass or copper with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry.


Vinegar and Salt. If copper is tarnished, boil article in a pot of water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar for several hours. Wash with soap in hot water. Rinse and dry.
Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar. Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply, leave on for 5 minutes, and then wash in warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.
The first secret was ketchup. Ketchup is great for cleaning brass, even spaghetti sauce will clean copper effectively.
Cleaner for Brass: Make a paste of vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and corn meal. The corn meal helps make it easier to spread on an item and the vinegar /lemon juice and salt do the work.

To clean brass: Place item in a pan of tomato juice and wait until it shines. Or use a lemon wedge dipped in salt to gently scour the metal.


Once you have your brass clean, it will tarnish quickly unless protected. Seal and Protect your copper, brass and other metals with Everbrite or ProtectaClear.

EVERBRITE and ProtectaClear are natural looking, clear protective coatings which will seal and protect metal from tarnish, oxidation, corrosion, salt air and other damaging elements. Easy to apply. First, polish the metal to the desired finish, remove all contaminants then simply wipe, dip or spray on the clear, self leveling coating. Everbrite Coatings are not thick plastic coating which can detract from the beauty of the metal. EVERBRITE Coatings are very natural looking and will make the metal look like it is just polished. Everbrite Coatings are not a lacquer or urethane and will not chip, peel, crack or yellow.

Use Everbrite for exterior use because it has additional protection from the sun and the elements. Use ProtectaClear for interior use or for use on metals which get a lot of use like railings, bathroom fixtures, door hardware, etc..





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