How to remove copper stains?

Copper stains have a bluish-green staining on bathroom fixtures and tubs. When you find copper stains on your fittings in the bathroom, the water that flows in your copper piping may possibly have an incorrect pH where it is too acidic – not suitable for human consumption and not ideal for the plumbing. Until you figure out the source of the copper stains, some methods can help remove copper stains. Read further to learn ways on how to remove copper stains effectively.

Methods on how to remove copper stains on different surfaces

Let us now take a look at the methods on how to remove copper stains on various surfaces.

Tile, fiberglass and cast-iron fixtures

  • Moisten the area before cleaning.
  • Prepare a paste mixture by combining oxalic acid, cream of tartar and chlorine-based cleanser with water.
  • Dab the paste on the site. Leave in place for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Brush the site using an abrasive-backed sponge. Rinse off and repeat if necessary until the stain vanishes. This might require a little effort on your part to eliminate the bluish-green stain from the surface of the fixture.

Granite and marble

  • Dry the granite or marble surface thoroughly.
  • Prepare a paste-like mixture by combining household ammonia and whiting powder or talc powder. 
  • Scoop up the paste-like mixture using a spatula and dab over the stain, coating it at least ¼ to ½ inch thick.
  • Cover the site with a sheet of plastic and tape. Apply the tape around the edges of the plastic. Make sure that the plastic sheet is wider than the pasted area. 
  • Leave the poultice in place for 24-48 hours. The ammonia should draw out the discoloration into the paste. 
  • Repeat the process as often as need until the area is clean.
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Important facts about copper

There are several essential facts that you need to know about copper. 

Why and how does copper change color?

Copper possesses excellent resistance to atmospheric corrosion. It becomes covered naturally with an oxide film, altering its color to dark brown or black under normal atmospheric conditions, particularly with copper fixtures. Over time, a green patina forms on copper in outdoor conditions with varying intensity depending on where and how the surface was exposed. In the long run, copper does not require technical maintenance, unlike paint. 

Can staining be prevented?

Proper care must be observed when you have copper fixtures near cement, mortar, stone, marble or other porous materials. Copper runoff might result in a bluish stain. These stains can be prevented by sloping copper surfaces away from gutters, materials and drip edge as well as utilizing longer overhangs. 

How do you remove oxidation from copper?

When copper is exposed to water or even air, it can discolor over time or tarnish. Let us take a look at some of the items that you can use to remove oxidation from copper. 

  • Flour, vinegar, and salt. Prepare a paste-like mixture by combining ¼ salt, 1/5 cup flour, and vinegar. With a soft cloth, rub the paste on the copper surface. Buff until it shines. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry. 
  • Lemon juice and baking soda. Combine lemon juice and baking soda. Apply on the copper surface and buff with a cloth. Rinse with water and dry. 
  • Ketchup. The acid content in ketchup can clean grime off copper surfaces. Apply a thin coat of ketchup and buff until it shines. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • Vinegar and salt. Prepare a solution by mixing salt in vinegar. With a cloth, soak into the solution and buff on the copper surface. Rinse and dry thoroughly. 
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What is the best chemical to clean copper?

When cleaning copper, there are several items that you can use. The good news is that these are readily found in your house. 

  • Acetic acid. This is a widely used chemical that you can use to clean copper, typically found in vinegar. Although it is a weak acid, it works well in cleaning stains, tarnish and oxidized residue on copper surfaces. When using vinegar, it is usually combined with baking soda, salt, or tartar to create a paste. It will ensure a shiny, smooth surface of copper materials. 
  • Citric acid. This is an organic acid that can be used to clean copper and can get rid of oxidized copper elements. Lemon is the ideal source. You can mix the juice with baking soda to create a paste or cut it in half and utilized as a sponge together with salt to rub away stains. 
  • Acetone. As an organic compound, it is typically used as a solvent. It is the main ingredient in nail polish removers. It rapidly evaporates so it should be applied quickly on the copper surface when cleaning. If the copper item is submerged in this chemical, the oxidized particles will be stripped away. 
  • Tartaric acid. This is often mixed with acetic acid to create a paste that can be used to clean copper stains or blemishes. 
  • Hydrochloric or muriatic acid. These are strong acids and can corrode oxidized elements and other materials. Although not widely used in cleaning copper, they are effective in removing stains. 

Does ketchup clean copper?

Ketchup is one of the favorite condiments that can be utilized for more than dipping French fries. Remember that ketchup has various uses around the house including polishing copper kitchenware. 

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Almost all ketchup contains vinegar. The acetic acid that is present in vinegar functions as a mild cleaner that can cut through grime. 

Copper pans, pots, and kettles can easily tarnish. Simply apply a layer of ketchup over the copper and let it work for up to 10 minutes. Scrub with a soft towel and rinse thoroughly. In case the smear is quite thick, sprinkle a thick coating of salt over the ketchup before polishing. The mild abrasive action of the salt will help get rid of the tarnish.

Final thoughts

When dealing with copper stains, you must be familiar with the appropriate cleaning techniques and products to use. Dealing with the stains is a breeze with the help of the techniques on how to remove copper stains.

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