One of the least desirable household chores around our place is polishing copper pots. We possess about a dozen, from mignon to massive, and use them constantly. We’re a little lazy, however, when it comes to breaking out the Brasso Multipurpose Metal Polish. Polishing is hard, dirty, and arm-aching. And no matter how diligently we work at the task, the pots never take on a perfect shine. Well here’s a hint my husband discovered over the week-end: use common white vinegar rather than metal polish. No, not for rubbing; for boiling!
Onto the stove he placed a very large, very deep enamelled metal pot, the kind most people would use to make, say, industrial-strength-size amounts of soup or stew. Then he set one of our tarnished copper pots inside it, poured a gallon of white vinegar over it and added enough water until the pot was thoroughly covered with liquid. After that he turned on the stove, allowing the vinegar-and-water mixture to come to a merry boil until the tarnish came off, along with any grease deposits hidden in the joints of the handle, et cetera. As the liquid boiled down he simply added more water until the pot shone like a new penny and was ready to be rinsed and dried. He reused the vinegar-water mixture for every successive pot.
Of course when I got home the kitchen smelled like he had been canning pickles all day, but every one of those tarnished pots sparkled (a sampling is shown above). If you plan to do this, however, I’d advise opening a window.
NOTE: I discovered this nearly identical make-do copper-polishing solution online this afternoon at the Do It Yourself website: “If copper is tarnished, boil article in a pot of water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar for several hours. Wash with soap in hot water. Rinse and dry.”