How to Clean a Copper Sink

Last Updated On May 26, 2022
How to Clean a Copper Sink

Do you have an attractive copper sink but don’t know the best way to clean it? Copper sinks look great, but you need the right products and tools to keep them looking great for as long as possible. 

Luckily, it’s not too difficult to properly clean your copper sink when you have the right knowledge. 

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • What you need to know about cleaning copper sinks
  • How to clean a copper sink
  • Supplies you’ll need to clean a copper sink

What's In This Guide?

      What You Need to Know About Cleaning Copper Sinks

      Copper sinks should consist of 99% copper and 1% zinc. Copper also has a gauge rating that indicates the thickness of the material. 

      Copper sinks are strong and long-lasting. They’re also rather attractive when you care for them properly. 

      Aesthetically, a copper kitchen sink adds luxury and style. Copper kitchen sinks also match copper cookware. 

      A copper bathroom once again adds to the luxury of the room, and it helps to match the nearby kitchen. 

      Copper Compared to Other Materials

      Stainless steel sinks are much lighter and less durable. Porcelain cracks much more easily. 

      However, copper costs more than most other materials. It also requires more maintenance than other materials and won’t hold up to a harsh chemical or abrasive cleaner. Copper sink care begins by using the right products to maintain its finish. 

      You can clean a stainless steel sink with just about any cleanser and any scouring pads, but the same materials can damage your copper sink.

      did you know How to Clean a Copper Sink

      How To Clean a Copper Sink (5 Steps)

      Step One: Prep

      When you clean copper, start by prepping your copper sink. 

      Remove all unnecessary items from the bathroom vanity around the sink as well as under the sink. 

      Make a point to avoid activating the faucet handles. You can even find the shutoff valve if the faucet tends to turn on when you don’t necessarily want it to. 

      Step Two: Clean with a Gentle Dish Soap or Vinegar 

      At this time, you should start cleaning the copper sink with a mild soap, such as dish soap, or some vinegar. 

      You should do this roughly once a week whether the sink exists in a high traffic or low traffic part of the house. 

      Clean absolutely every inch of the sink both on the inside and outside (under the cabinet as well) using a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap or white vinegar. You can find a copper cleaner on the market, but you can make more use of other options as well. 

      If the stains seem particularly stubborn or already have a copper patina or “tarnish,” you can use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to create a chemical reaction that will enhance the cleaning power of your cleanser. 

      Always use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Steel wool can cause scratches in the material that can become very difficult to remove. 

      While you’re at it, you should clean your copper faucet and the copper hardware in the room with the copper sink. 

      Here are some products on Amazon to consider:

      Flitz Tarnish Remover

      Sinkology Copper Cleaner with Non-Scratch Scrubber

      Wright’s Copper Cream (Traditional Product)

      Step Three: Dry Surface Thoroughly

      It’s imperative to dry the surface of your copper sink thoroughly. If you allow water or cleansers to evaporate from the sink naturally, it can create water stains.  

      If you don’t like the look of your copper sink at this point, you can take some additional steps to bring your copper sink back to life. 

      Step Four: Sand Harsh Stains

      In the worst-case scenarios, you may need to use sandpaper to remove stubborn hard water stains. 

      Use fine sandpaper so that you don’t create too much damage to the material, but you should anticipate scratches when you finish.

      Step Five: Wax

      The wax prevents oxygen from getting into the copper material of your sink. The process of corrosion requires oxygen. A wax coating slows down the process. 

      A wax coating also creates a shiny finish that increases the sink’s aesthetic appeal. 

      You can always buy a renaissance wax or carnauba wax at Home Depot or Amazon, or you can create your own effective wax coating using the following ingredients:

      • Microcrystalline wax – 100 g
      • Polyethylene wax – 25 g 
      • White spirits (vodka) – 250 ml

      If anything goes wrong while applying the coating, remember that you can always use acetone to remove the wax. 

      This is a popular copper sink wax and polish, here.

      Step Six: Apply Polish

      You can find a copper polish that will restore the original copper finish of your sink, even if the material has muted a bit over time. 

      You will only need to apply polish once every couple of years. 

      How to Clean a Hammered Copper Sink

      A hammered copper sink tends to conceal damage better than other types of finishes, and it is less likely to dent. 

      How to Clean a Copper Sink That Turned Green

      Minerals build up on the copper sink over time. The sink may react to the minerals in an effort to protect itself from corrosion through oxidization that creates a protective coating known as patina, but it can cause the copper material to turn green.  

      Supplies You’ll Need to Clean a Copper Sink

      Ready to clean your copper sink?

      Get the following supplies to clean your copper sink properly:

      • Microfiber cloth
      • Gentle dish soap
      • Wax
      • Sandpaper
      • Copper polish

      Need to clean bronze? See this post.

      FAQs For Cleaning Copper Sinks

      Are copper sinks hard to maintain?

      Copper sinks may not be as easy to maintain as a stainless steel sink or matte sink, but it’s manageable with regular cleaning. 

      What is the best way to clean a copper sink?

      The best way to clean a copper sink is to keep up with it regularly. 

      How do you make a copper sink look new?

      If you want to make your copper sink look new, you need to keep up on it from the very beginning by cleaning it and waxing it regularly. 

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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