After much trial and tribulation and multiple attempts utilizing all sorts of natural and chemical cleaning formulas, my copper coffee pot is now perfect!
Since my last blog, I have received multiple suggestions from several sources on how to get my copper pot clean and shiny. After posting the question on my “Antiques Are Green” LinkedIn group, the cleaning options were endless from the many dealers and collectors of all things copper! Among the home remedies mentioned were vinegar, salt, lemon, ketchup (yup, ketchup-apparently not just for hotdogs anymore…), 0000 steel wool pads, Brillo pads, Chore Boy pads, Never Dull wadding or just put the damn thing in the dishwasher.
Also mentioned on LinkedIn were lacquer thinner or acetone (nail polish remover) and kerosene (really?!?), or having it dipped. Not sure what that means, but it conjured up images of my helpless coffee pot being immersed in a boiling, bubbling hot vat, and that made me sad. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…
Among the commercial polishes I could try were Siege, Wrights, MAAS, Liberty, Brasso, Twinkle, Silvo and Bar Keeper’s Friend. But I was hoping to keep it “green” clean, so I started out with the natural method, utilizing heated vinegar in a large pot.
Once I placed the pot in there, the bits of bubbling lacquer appeared floating on the surface. Yuck.
But it was working!
Or so I thought. Flipped it over and immersed the other end. This was the end result. Double Yuck.
I finally decided to go for the commercial products, and the one that was mentioned more than once was Bar Keeper’s Friend, which I found on the shelf of my local Home Depot for $1.48. I got some Brasso, too, just in case that didn’t work.
Make a soft paste of BKF and started wiping the pot with a sponge, instantly removing years of tarnish and varnish and dirt! In about 3 minutes time, my copper coffee pot, and even the brass handle, was gleaming and shiny and pretty! So the Bar Keeper’s Friend is now my friend as well! As a disclaimer, I am sure the other products mentioned would have worked just as well. But this is the one I saw first, and the Brasso was at the hearty recommendation of the Home Depot clerk. Who, BTW, could not have been more that 17- I am curious as to just how many copper pots he has cleaned?!? Since my Barkeeper’s Friend worked so well on the coffee pot, I grabbed a copper sconce I was planning on painting, but now it’s got a whole new shiny life as well! Then this plaque, which was so dark and tarnished, I couldn’t even tell what the picture was until I started cleaning it. As I was rubbing the bunny, I noticed a signature at the bottom and the date was 1502. So I stopped. Did a Google search and discovered that the Young Hare was painted by Albrecht Durer in 1502. You know when you’re watching ”Antiques Roadshow” and the expert says “gee, it’s too bad you cleaned this. It would have been worth a million dollars but now it’s ruined and worth about twenty bucks”? I’m pretty certain that this copper engraving by Albrecht Durer isn’t the real deal because it’s mounted on a backing that appears to be a more modern substance than what would have been available in the 1500′s, but the tag says made in Germany, so I’d better check it out before I ruin it! So there you have it, 2 weeks of work on a $1 copper pot that finally came clean with Bar Keeper’s Friend. Have a super sunshiny Sunday everyone! Susan