Cleaning Lacquered Copper

How to Clean Lacquered Copper

There’s no precious metal quite like copper.

Copper’s colors range from a beautiful pink shade to orange and a warm dark brown.

Nearly all jewelry, home decor, and decorative kitchen copper has a protective coating of lacquer that resists tarnishing.

You can tell whether or not your copper is lacquered by its color. The lacquer is similar in appearance to clear nail polish.

If your copper just looks dusty and grimy, rather than tarnished, then it is probably lacquered.

Cleaning Dirty Copper:

If your copper is dirty and grimy and you can easily give it a quick cleaning

You should never scrub lacquered pieces, or use harsh cleaning solutions, because it can damage the protective coating.

Only use warm water and a mild soap to clean it. Lacquered copper will stay shiny and beautiful for years with only basic cleaning.

Cleaning Solution Recipe

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 TBL mild dishwashing detergent

Cleaning Process

  • Spray your cleaning solution onto the piece
  • If heavily soiled allow to sit for a few minutes
  • Wipe the item with a clean washcloth to remove dirt, grime and smudges
  • Rinse completely with clean water
  • Dry completely with a soft cloth

Cleaning Tarnish From Lacquered Copper:

If the lacquer is scratched, damaged or has tarnish under the finish, you may want to remove it completely in order to enjoy the items original beauty.

Some older copper pieces look splotchy because the lacquer is coming off and it needs to be removed completely and reapplied.

It’s not a good idea to place lacquered copper items near the stove or in the bathrooms. When they are exposed to steam or moisture, they can tarnish under the protective coating. In this case the lacquer will need to be removed completely so you can remove the tarnish and then reapply.

Once the lacquer is removed, the copper will be exposed to the elements and will begin to tarnish just as other bare copper items do.

Lacquer Removal Solution Recipe:

  • 1 gallon of boiling water
  • 1 cups of baking soda

Removal Process:

  • Combine the baking soda and water in a pot and heat until it boils
  • Use tongs and carefully immerse the item in the cleaning solution
  • The lacquer should start peeling off, or you will see white scummy material floating on the surface of the water.
  • Remove the item from the water and begin polishing it immediately to remove any remaining lacquer.

You may have to repeat this process a few times to remove all of it completely.

Tough Removal Problems:

Sometimes lacquer may be difficult to remove completely. Because lacquer is similar to nail polish you can also use acetone (finger nail polish remover) to remove it.

Lacquer thinner, available from home improvement stores can also help.

Similar Articles

How to Clean, Disinfect and Sanitize Surfaces in the Home

Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing Surfaces in the Home. Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing Surfaces In every home there are dozens of surfaces that need to be cleaned. Some of these surfaces are cleaned as they are used; such...
Read More

How to Deal with a Sloppy Roommate

Tips and Ideas for Handling a Messy Roommate.Cleaning and Organizing Tips for Roommates No matter where you are in life – college, the business world, divorced, just getting out on your own, etc. – you may have...
Read More

How to Clean Ceiling Fan Blades

Creative Way to Clean the Blades on a Ceiling Fan.Cleaning the Blades on a Ceiling Fan This is often a chore that often gets overlooked. I’ve made the mistake of not cleaning mine, only to have dust...
Read More

How to Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

Cleaning the Vacuum Cleaner.Cleaning Your Vacuum Cleaner We use our vacuum cleaners often to keep the floors in our home clean, but, when do we think of cleaning the vacuum itself? We often neglect our important cleaning...
Read More

How to Clean Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

How to Clean, Remove Stains, and Maintain Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles.Cleaning Ceramic and Porcelain Tiled Surfaces For centuries, ceramic and porcelain tiles have been used because of their durability and beauty. Although ceramic tiles are more commonly...
Read More