How to Clean a Copper Sink
Copper sinks are becoming popular fixtures in many of today’s homes. They're used primarily in kitchens, but copper sinks look great when used in bathrooms, as well.
These sinks shouldn’t be cleaned the same way you would scrub a stainless steel or porcelain sink because of their more delicate nature. Copper sinks have a unique way of developing a distinct patina over time that most homeowners don't want to disturb or get rid of. That doesn't mean you can't clean your copper sink thoroughly, and even often, if that’s your preference!
Here’s what you need to know to keep your copper sink in tip top shape. Following these guidelines will help you avoid scratches, dents, lost patina, and other common problems copper sink owners run into.
A Copper Sink Needs Special Care
Copper kitchen sinks are made from soft metal, but don’t let that description fool you. A copper sink is very durable and long-lasting. You can have and enjoy your copper sink for years to come, but you’ll need to take care of it the right way.
Using harsh chemicals in your sink or on the finish can result in color changes and other alterations to the overall appearance of the fixture. You also need to be aware of the kinds of dishes and utensils you routinely wash in your kitchen sink, and the types of foods you prepare there. Some sharp objects like chef’s knives are likely to gouge or scratch the sink. Dropping a heavy pot or pan into the basin can cause dents or other damage, too.
With the right copper sink care, your sink will stay looking great for a lifetime.
The patina on a copper sink is a unique property of copper and should be cleaned properly to maintain the appearance. Most homeowners prefer the patina to be even, and when the sink is cared for the right way, you’ll get the lovely patina look without a lot of trouble. If you clean your copper sink with the wrong materials or scrub too harshly, you may see a shiny copper spot where the patina has rubbed off. The patina will eventually fill back in, but it may look different from the rest of the sink for some time as the color evolves.
Some copper sink owners prefer to keep their sink shiny because they don't want the look of patina. Keep in mind: the sink will still naturally change color due to the unique properties of copper! You should expect natural color changes over time, but by caring for your copper sink correctly, you can minimize damage and prolong the lifespan.
A gorgeous copper sink can provide a striking contrast to the other elements in your kitchen or bathroom, and provide a stunning focal point for your interior design plan. The different types and styles of copper sinks can add to the overall look and feel of your living space and is truly a versatile design element.
Because a copper kitchen sink is an investment fixture for your home that adds to your home value, it should be maintained well. This is why it's important to know the best way to clean copper, so you can enjoy the quality and value of a beautiful copper sink in your home for a number of years.
Whether you think of your copper kitchen sink as an investment or you're just interested in the unique look, there are some excellent reasons to own copper sinks and take good care of them.
How to Clean a Copper Kitchen Sink
The best way to clean copper is with a copper-safe cleaner that's safe and effective for the metal and won't damage the surface. Copper cleaners aren't typically for daily use. It's more common that you will use a copper cleaner once a month to six weeks to give your copper an extra level of cleanliness and shine.
Your regular cleaning routine for a copper kitchen sink is so easy that it only requires 2 steps:
- Clean your sink with warm water and dish soap often using a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth. Avoid using steel wool pads and any sponges with a scrubbing pad component. If you prefer not to use dish soap, use either a special copper-safe cleaner or a dilution of white or apple cider vinegar.
- Dry the sink after you wash it to avoid spots and discoloration. This step is especially important after doing dishes as well, because allowing the sink to dry naturally will contribute to uneven patina.
If you have a hammered copper sink, drying the basin is especially important because water sits in the indentations and can cause them to get much darker than the surrounding metal. If you don't want that particular look for your sink, a quick wash, rinse, and dry each time you use it for dishes or meal preparation is a good idea.
Some people prefer to dry their copper sink every time they run water in it, but it's not a requirement unless you are extremely concerned about uneven patina.
How to Clean a Copper Bathroom Sink
Bathroom sinks made from copper can be treated pretty much the same way as a copper kitchen sink, but most likely you’ll need to clean them more frequently. Bathroom sinks encounter more use from hand-washing and morning/evening routines that leads to sitting water.
Chances are, your copper bathroom sink is also exposed to chemicals that copper kitchen sinks aren't. Think about how often your sink comes into contact with toothpaste, shaving cream, hairspray, makeup, and other common health and beauty products. To keep a copper sink looking great in your bathroom, using a copper cleaner regularly may be necessary.
To reduce the length of time chemical agents come into contact with the copper, you may choose to clean your copper sink each night before going to bed or even after each use (not including hand-washing), and dry it thoroughly. Such low-maintenance steps can keep your copper bathroom sink looking better for longer and reduce the need for regular deep cleanings.
Hammered Copper Sink Care
Hammered copper sinks, whether they're in the kitchen or the bathroom, require special care. Because they have indentations, hammered sinks hold water more easily than their smoother counterparts. That means they need more careful cleaning, so chemicals and food residue don't end up sitting in them.
The most important difference between smooth copper sinks and hammered copper sinks is that if you own a hammered sink you must make sure you are drying the surface properly. Hammered copper sinks are prone to collect sitting water in the indentations. Sitting water can quickly change the color of the copper just in those areas and give the sink a mottled appearance that isn’t popular with most sink owners.
A patina is more than just mottled discoloration in your hammered copper sink, and keeping a desirable patina can only come from the right kind of care for your copper sink.
Can You Use a Homemade Copper Cleaner?
One popular DIY homemade copper cleaner is apple cider vinegar or white vinegar mixed with flour and salt. It's very easy to use, keeps for a long time, and doesn't require any special handling. It's also gentle on the copper, so it's not going to take the patina off or leave scratches or marks like other potentially abrasive chemical cleaners might.
DIY Copper Cleaner
Spread your DIY cleaning paste on the copper sink surface and wipe down with a soft cloth. Rinse the surface and dry thoroughly.
Another popular option for cleaning copper sinks is baking soda. Baking soda is great to use on any stubborn stains you can’t quite get rid of. While baking soda does have abrasive properties, it is actually very mild when compared to store-bought cleaners that are used on stainless steel and porcelain sinks.