What Will Vinegar Do to Copper 2?
Copper is beautiful and useful, but it is prone to tarnishing. The good news is that there are many household items that will clean your copper items without exposing you to the harsh chemicals found in commercial tarnish removers and metal cleaners. Ketchup, baking soda, and vinegar are just a few of the natural things you can use to bring back your copper’s luster.
The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves the copper oxide that causes your copper to tarnish. You can also use lemon juice to clean your copper. Lemons contain a high concentration of acid, which will also clean copper. To make a cleaning solution using the juice of one lemon, add salt to create a paste. Then rub the mixture on your copper and leave it for about 10 minutes. Rinse well and dry the copper with a soft cloth.
If your copper is heavily tarnished, you may need to use a stronger acid to get it looking shiny again. One of the most effective solutions is hydrogen peroxide, but be aware that this cleaner will release toxic fumes. It is best to use this method outside or in a fume hood.
When your copper is clean and tarnish free, it is important to protect it from further tarnishing. You can prevent tarnishing by using a copper polishing compound or by applying a coat of clear lacquer to your piece. Be sure to read the label carefully on any polishing compound you purchase, as some can damage certain types of copper.
Vinegar is a safe and natural alternative to commercial tarnish removers, but it is still important to understand what will happen to your copper if you use the vinegar. When you apply vinegar to copper, it reacts with the copper and forms a chemical called copper acetate. The acetate is darker than the original copper, but it will protect your copper from further tarnishing for some time.
If you want your copper to look its best, it is a good idea to rinse and dry it after each use. Some people also like to wipe their copper pieces with a cloth dipped in olive oil, which helps keep the copper shiny. If you have copper that is sealed with an oil or a clear lacquer, do not use any of these methods to clean it, as they will damage the finish.
For the most durable and attractive copper, you should avoid using abrasive scouring pads or steel wool. These abrasive materials can scratch and pit the surface of your copper, making it dull and lifeless.
If you are interested in learning about the chemistry of copper, try this fun experiment with your children or students. Place some pennies in a glass of vinegar. Some of the pennies will become shiny and silvery, while others will remain dull and gray. The difference is due to the fact that different kinds of atoms can combine with each other to form molecules. For example, the copper atoms in the pennies can combine with oxygen atoms from the air to create copper oxide, which makes the penny look dull and dark.