How to Clean a Copper Sink

Copper sink and mirror

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Showcasing a copper sink in a kitchen or bathroom adds the warmth of natural materials and a stylish flair. As one of the naturally occurring earth minerals, copper has a living finish that, if unlacquered, will continue to change and become more unique with age. Along with the beauty of the natural patina, untreated copper sinks also provide anti-microbial qualities not found in stainless steel or porcelain. Many microorganisms cannot survive on a copper sink for more than a few hours.

Whether the sink is raw copper that will develop a natural patina, pre-treated copper with a developed patina, or shiny lacquered copper, the care is simple if you stay away from harmful cleaners.

How Often to Clean a Copper Sink

Just as any kitchen or bathroom sink that is used daily, a copper sink should be cleaned daily. If you live in an area with hard water, the minerals in the water will leave water spots on the surface of the sink. To prevent the spotting, dry the sink completely after every use.

If you have a shiny lacquered copper sink and want to maintain the look, the lacquer will eventually be worn away. The sink will need to be relacquered or polished with a copper cleaner and waxed with carnauba wax or specialized copper wax regularly. The frequency for the need to wax depends upon how often the sink is used.

Tips

  • Do not leave acidic foods like tomato sauce, ketchup, citrus juice, citrus peels, pickles or, even, toothpaste and cosmetics, sitting on the surface of the sink for extended periods.
  • Do not leave cleaning tools or dirty dishes in the sink.
  • If your sink has a smooth, highly polished finish, use a dishwashing mat in the bottom to prevent pots and pans from marring the surface.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals, polishes, and cleaning supplies.
  • Apply wax at least every six weeks to maintain a bright finish.

How to Clean a Copper Sink

Every copper sink should be routinely cleaned the same way no matter the type of finish.

What You Need

Supplies

  • Warm or hot water
  • Dishwashing liquid without added bleach

Tools

  • Sponge or cotton dishwashing cloth
  • Microfiber or lint-free cotton dishcloth
  1. Rinse Thoroughly

    After every use, rinse the sink thoroughly to remove any bits of food or beauty products that may be clinging to the surface. It is particularly important to rinse away anything acidic that can affect the patina.

  2. Wipe Down With Dishwashing Soap and Water

    All you need for cleaning is a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap on a sponge or dishcloth. Remember to wipe under any countertop rims that may have splatters underneath that can damage the finish.

  3. Tackle Tough Stains

    For any stuck-on food or difficult to remove stains, make a paste with baking soda and a few drops of water on a sponge. The baking soda paste will also help remove green spots (commonly called verdigris) that may appear around fixtures where the copper is exposed to moisture for too long. This is simply a mineral build-up that can be prevented by drying the area after every use.

  4. Rinse and Dry

After cleaning, give the sink a final rinse with warm water and use a lint-free cloth to dry the sink and fixtures.

What Not to Use to Clean a Copper Sink

As you can see, cleaning a copper sink is very simple. It is more important to learn what not to do and the products you should not use on copper.

Supplies and Tools to Never Use on Copper

  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Harsh chemicals such as bleach
  • Drain openers
  • Steel wool
  • Harsh scrubbing pads

How to Maintain a Bright Copper Finish

If you have chosen to have a bright copper finish for your sink instead of allowing the natural patina to blossom over time, you will need to clean and wax the sink regularly to maintain the shine. Raw copper will begin to turn dark very quickly. Think about how quickly a new copper penny begins to darken.

If you want a shiny copper sink, choose a lacquered finish from the manufacturer. Even with careful cleaning, the lacquer will eventually begin to wear away. When you notice the copper beginning to darken or discolor, use a polish specified for copper to clean the sink.

When the shine has returned, coat the sink with Carnauba wax or a specialized copper wax and buff to the original shine. This should be done at least every six weeks. You can also have a metal expert reapply a lacquer onto the copper.