Why Does Vinegar Clean Copper?

How did the salt and vinegar clean the pennies? Table salt and vinegar, a mild acid, dissolve copper oxide when combined. With salt and lemon or orange juice—both of which are acids—you may also clean your pennies.

What alters copper does vinegar do?


An oxidation process, commonly known as a reaction between copper and oxygen, is the focus of this chemical experiment.

What you’ll need for this experiment is

  • pennies
  • a mat or dish
  • clear vinegar
  • toilet paper

This experiment’s setup is quite easy. You should double line your cookie sheet or bowl with paper towels. Put your pennies on the paper towel after that. Once the paper towels the pennies are sitting on are totally saturated, pour vinegar over them.

Then we wait! With this experiment, you will require some patience. Even though the vinegar will make it smell a little, it’s preferable to wait several hours to a few days to see the best results. Every few hours, have your pupils conduct observations to note any changes they notice.

Copper is used to make pennies. Copper reacts with oxygen to generate copper oxide molecules, which are what gives pennies their dingy appearance. The copper oxide on the pennies can be broken up and revealed by pouring vinegar over them. The penny turns green when it dries and is exposed to air due to a chemical reaction! The substance in green is known as malachite.

You might notice that not every penny changes color to green. Typically, the age of your pennies is a factor in this. Before 1982, copper was used to make pennies. Since just 2.5% copper and a zinc coating were used in their construction after 1982, fewer copper molecules are exposed to cause this reaction.

The Statue of Liberty is the most well-known illustration of this chemical process. Due to the outside being constructed of copper, the monument was a dull brown tint when it arrived in New York in the late 1800s. The statue’s entire body gradually turned malachite green as the copper reacted with the air over time.

Vinegar can it be used to clean copper?

Here’s a tried-and-true method for cleaning copper using vinegar. Make a thick paste by combining 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup flour, and enough vinegar. Rub the paste onto the copper’s surface with a soft cloth. Buff the copper object to a brilliant sheen.

Why does vinegar work best to clean pennies?

In addition to forming the blue copper(II) ion, which is soluble in water, when vinegar (a weak solution of acetic acid) and table salt (sodium chloride) are combined, they also aid in dissolving copper oxide. The penny regains its shine!

In vinegar, does copper change color?

Since we are aware of the chemical processes that give copper patina its various hues, we have the ability to control the color and rate of patination. People who produce copper jewelry and cookware frequently practice fake patina creation. You may learn how to patina copper by using the following advice.

On larger pieces of furniture like bathtubs, tables, and range hoods, creating a continuous pattern of faux patina is more difficult than it is for jewelry. It is ideal to choose a piece of copper for large objects that has been professionally industrially patinated.

For each of the ensuing techniques, the patina will get stronger the longer it is exposed to the homemade chemical mixture. Before applying a treatment to your prized copper items, be sure to test the treatment’s effectiveness on little items like coins and pennies.

Keep track of the amounts of each chemical that were combined so that you can change the potency or effect of your homemade patination combination to achieve the desired result. To determine when to stop the incubation period, test the procedure to see how quickly the patina forms.

Make sure you follow the safety instructions while handling any domestic cleaning chemical. Children under 18 should be under adult supervision. Household cleaning products can irritate the lungs, skin, nose, and eyes. Ingesting them might also be harmful.

Incubate with Hot Crushed Boiled Eggs

The hot cooked egg technique works well for giving copper a tan-colored patina. A resealable plastic bag or container is used to break hard-boiled eggs while they are still hot. Depending on the desired level of brown patina, the copper is then put into the bag and sealed for a short period of time or for several hours. The brown hue gets darker the longer it takes to incubate. While this procedure works well for small copper objects, it is challenging to handle larger objects.

Use Miracle-Gro

An great copper oxidizer is Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer. Mix Miracle-Gro with three parts water to make a solution that you may spray or wipe on the copper to give it a blue patina. Combine one part Miracle-Gro with three parts red wine vinegar to create a green patina. Within 30 minutes a patina will start to form, and after 24 hours it will become permanent.

Soaking in White Vinegar and Salt, Sawdust or Potato Chips

A blue or green patina can be produced by soaking copper in white vinegar and salt. You might also bury the copper in sawdust or potato chips that have been crushed and soaked in white vinegar. The patina gets darker the longer the copper is buried.

Expose Copper to Saltwater and Ammonia Vapors

After misting the copper with a salt water solution, put it in a container with non-detergent ammonia. The copper should be elevated above the ammonia liquid rather than touching it.

Ammonia fumes will be captured by the tightly shut container and come into contact with the copper as a result. Wear safety goggles, gloves, and protective clothing when handling ammonia, and keep water nearby in case you need to wash the substance off of yourself. Additionally, avoid sniffing ammonia and utilize ammonia outside or in a well-ventilated area of the house.

How to Naturally Influence the Color of Patina

It is possible to leave the patina to develop naturally without using chemicals. A patina will develop on copper if it is exposed to the elements outside. There is fog, rain, snow, and heat outside. Opening the windows will alter the temperature and humidity in the space, which will have an impact on any copper things there.

You can place copper furniture on purpose near sources of heat and moisture, such the back of the refrigerator or the area in the kitchen close to the stove. Copper will be exposed to natural heat if it is left next to a window where it will receive lots of sunshine.

Sealing the Patina to Keep Your Desired Color

Because the patina created by artificial means is quickly removed with a brush, it needs to be sealed to be preserved over time. Wax, lacquer, or a specially formulated chemical mixture can be used as sealants. Numerous brands of sealants for preserving patina are sold at jewelry-making and craft stores.

Since air molecules and copper interact chemically to generate patina, blocking air from reaching the copper will limit further patina formation. Applying a sealer can help retain the patina you prefer and stop it from deteriorating further.

Get Advice on Including Copper Furnishings to Your Home Dcor

CopperSmith’s professionals are standing by to offer guidance on how to create copper furnishings that are ideally specific to your wants and home. We stand by our money-back guarantee because we think only the best products and services should be offered. We can give you samples of our copper patinas so you can see and feel our copper exactly how it looks and feels.

Our knowledgeable designers will guide you through the steps and available choices, eliminating any uncertainty from the planning and purchasing process. You may easily purchase the furniture that will be the ideal fit for any place and function thanks to our knowledge and experience.

How long should copper be soaked in vinegar?


  • Put the bucket with all of your brass and copper in it.
  • Salt the mixture with a tablespoon.
  • Give your metal enough white vinegar to coat it.
  • After giving the bucket a brief shake, let it stand for roughly 20 minutes.
  • Remove your metal and use a Bounty paper towel to dry it both inside and out.

What is the ideal copper cleaner?

Copper cleaning and copper polishing are two distinct processes. After cleaning your copper, give it a shine boost with a homemade polishing solution you can make using kitchen staples. A chemical reaction between salt, vinegar, and wheat polishes copper.

  • 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup vinegar should be combined to form a thick paste.
  • After applying the paste and using a microfiber towel to gently buff the copper surface until it sparkles, properly wash and dry it.
  • Now that you know how to polish copper with this solution, keep doing it to keep it looking glossy.

Which vinegar is best for cleaning copper?

Combine 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar (or more acidic lemon juice) with 1 tablespoon of salt and just enough flour to make a thin paste. Apply the paste to the copper’s surface and use a cloth or scouring sponge to remove the tarnish.

How do you know whether something is indeed made of copper?

Here’s how to distinguish between brass and copper. Examine the hue in good white light to distinguish copper from brass, which is an alloy of various metals. Like a penny, real copper should have a reddish-brown color. Items made of brass typically have a yellowish tint. You are most likely working with brass if your object is yellow, orange-yellow, or perhaps has grayish undertones.

How can copper oxidize be stopped?

Apply a protective coating to the copper object to stop further fading. Apply beeswax or carnauba wax to the item. Apply the wax-coated soft cloth to the copper surface after dipping it in it. Use a fresh, soft cloth to buff.

Coca-Cola cleans coins, right?

Do you know the average number of times a coin is traded? The typical U.S. quarter is in use for 30 years. That could indicate that the money in your piggy bank has been accessed by thousands of people. Every time you search among your car seats for cash, you’re essentially touching a public restroom because your money has more germs on it than a toilet seat.

Is there a right way to clean old coins?

Bring out the coin collection you had when you were young. Some of those priceless coins can have patina, the green or brown film that is frequently seen on gold coins, darkening them. Rare coins can lose value if the patina is removed because little metal fragments can be etched away during a thorough cleaning procedure. Even seasoned coin specialists concur that cleaning antique coins is strongly discouraged.

Because the resale value is better and it is more realistic for coins to clearly display their age, some coin collectors prefer their coins to keep their natural patina. It’s okay and preferable to keep the cleaning solution out of the rare 1943 copper penny.

Can you clean everyday coins?

Thankfully, cleaning your regular change won’t make them less valuable. Throughout much of their existence, coins are found in cash registers, couch cushions, pockets, purses, and even wishing wells. They pick up pathogens from touching each other, and oxidation and debris can accumulate on the surface. Fortunately, there are lots of stuff in your refrigerator and cleaning supplies that are great for cleaning coins.

How to clean coins with baking soda

Supplies required:

  • two jugs
  • Water
  • bread soda
  • outdated brushes
  • soft fabric

Put all of your coins in one basin, then top it down with cold water to completely submerge the coins. Add roughly 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the other bowl. Scrub the coins by dipping the toothbrush into the dish of baking soda. The metal won’t be scratched by the baking soda and it should remove any dirt and grime. The coins should be carefully washed in water and dried with a soft cloth.

How to clean coins with Coke

Who would have guessed that your favorite drink would be an effective cleaner? Yes, that Coke you enjoy sipping by the poolside may also be used to clean coins. The oxides that cause corrosion and tarnish can be removed by Coca-phosphoric Cola’s acid.

  • one dish
  • Coca-Cola can

Fill the basin with Coke after adding your coins. Check to see if the corrosion has been removed after letting the coins soak in the soda for about 5 minutes. Return the coins to the bowl for up to 15 minutes if they still feel filthy. The soda can dissolve the metals if let to sit for much longer than 15 minutes. Thoroughly wet the coins with water, then pat dry with a soft cloth.

How to clean coins with hydrogen peroxide

Have you ever received change from a cashier and grimaced at how greasy and dirty the coins felt? That can be fixed using hydrogen peroxide. The coins will be sterilized and their years of accumulated filth will be removed by hydrogen peroxide.

hydroxyl radicals

Pour enough hydrogen peroxide over the coins in the dish to completely cover them. Give the coins a 24-hour soak. After giving them a good rinse, dry them with a cloth.

How to clean coins with vinegar

Although vinegar has a strong odor, its high acidity is excellent for cleaning and shining money. Coins’ natural sheen can shine when they are free of rust, grime, and grease.

clear vinegar

Put your coins in a dish, then cover them with white vinegar. Give the coins at least 30 minutes, but not more than overnight, to soak. Take out the coins, then use the toothbrush to carefully remove the leftover material. Dry with a cloth after rinsing the dirt away with water.

How to clean coins with ketchup

Leave the ketchup off of your fries and hamburger. Did you know that it works well for cleaning coins? The acidic tomatoes and salt can dissolve the years’ worth of filth that has accumulated on your money.

Toasted ketchup

Put your coins in a basin and pour ketchup over them to cover. Give the coins at least 30 minutes, but not more than overnight, to soak. Take out the coins, then use the toothbrush to carefully remove the leftover material. Dry with a cloth after rinsing the dirt away with water.

How to clean coins with lemon juice

Make lemonade and an acidic concoction to clean your coins when life hands you lemons. That’s accurate. The acidity of lemons, like that of tomatoes, will dissolve grime. Because it will eliminate the brown oxidation that can diminish pennies’ copper sheen, this technique is ideal for them.

  • a pinch of salt
  • Lemon juice, 1/4 cup

Put the coins in a basin and cover with 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Give the coins at least five minutes to soak, but no more than fifteen. Take out the coins, then use the toothbrush to carefully remove the leftover material. Dry with a cloth after rinsing the dirt away with water.

Finding equipment and ingredients to clean your coins is not difficult. Don’t let dirt and bacteria travel on your coins. Use our hints and recommendations to keep them secure and spotless.