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Antique Copper Kettle Tarnish Removal Tips

Updated on November 23, 2015
Tarnished copper has a brown  hue that covers all or most of the well-known  "orange" color.
Tarnished copper has a brown hue that covers all or most of the well-known "orange" color.

There Is An Easier Way!

It may be an unspoken rule in your house, when the weather starts to get cold as the late fall and early winter holidays are approaching, certain things (besides the food) need to be prepared. They include your copper kettle and other copper kitchen items. The dull and ugly tarnish that has covered the copper over the last year needs to be removed!

It’s truly a thankless task and is often very time consuming. And if, one year, you skip doing it, something just isn’t quite right with the holiday celebrations. I even hear this sentiment albeit quietly, from a very "Grinchy" individual in my family.

Of course, your holidays can still be very special. But, with these simple tips, you can make them them “shine” more!

There are lots of tarnish remover techniques and products out there. Surprisingly, not many work that well. Through a lot of trial and error, I have discovered specific products and techniques that can actually make quick work of this. And, the results are outstanding!


The four key things you'll need.
The four key things you'll need.

There are five steps:

1. Purchase:

  • one bottle of Tarn-X (for silver, platinum, copper…)
  • one container of Wright’s Copper Cream
  • a roll of Bounty paper towels (or other ones that are thick/absorbent)
  • a small & soft jewelry brush

Here We Go!

2. Gather all your pieces of copper which you wish to remove tarnish from and put them next to the kitchen sink.

Note: anything that has a clear coat or lacquer of any kind should not be touched. The process described here could actually remove all or part of the clear coat/lacquer. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for those items which often is to simply dust them and/or perhaps wash with soap and water. The good news is, there really shouldn’t be any tarnish building up on them, because the metal surface is being protected from the air by the clear coat/lacquer.

3. Clean the pieces with soap and water, and dry.

Do you really have to do this step? Well, I guess you don't. But it really does make a difference. Any grime that may be on your copper prevents the solutions we are going to use next from working as well.

4. One piece at a time:

  • Heat up the copper with hot water from the tap.
  • Rinse out Wright’s sponge.
  • Use Wright’s sponge to get a little Wright’s Cream.
  • Wipe the cream on the copper item.
    • Use a circular motion and stay with one area until you see the tarnish is gone.

      Repeat the 4 bullets above until the entire item is free of tarnish (Note: if some tarnish is still present in tight spots, leave it alone. Step 5 below should take care of it and very quickly).
  • Rinse.
  • Towel dry.

Tight  spots require a 5th step.
Tight spots require a 5th step.

There May Be One More Step

5. For any piece that has tarnish remaining in a very tight or small area:

  • Soak small piece of paper towel in Tarn-X solution.
  • Place Tarn-X soaked towel over spot that is tarnished and gently rub.
  • If tarnished spot persists, dip jewelry brush in Tarn-x and scrub spot.
  • Rinse.
  • Towel dry.

The final result.
The final result.

That's It!

Each of these steps are critical. And, they take very little time. You’d be surprised about just how much longer tarnish removal can take when you use other products and methods. I estimate that they can easily take two to three times longer. And, the result is not typically as good (some tarnish remains).

Have fun shining! And, don't be surprised if over the holidays, you detect a slightly agreeable look come over the face of a "Grinch" in your life!

Our Antique Copper Kettle With Its Tarnish Removed

All set for the holidays and the guests coming over!
All set for the holidays and the guests coming over!

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