How to Clean a Copper Sink

Cleaning a copper sink requires more delicate care than stainless steel, porcelain, or cast iron. But since all you need is dish soap and water, there’s no need to purchase special products.

Copper sinks have a “living patina,” meaning their appearance can darken over time. The patina acts as a barrier, protecting the copper from corrosion. Acidic substances, like ketchup and vinegar, can wear down the patina leaving your sink splotchy.

Clean copper sink

The best way to keep your copper sink in long-lasting condition is to clean it every day. But if you’re dealing with stains, we’ll also cover how to tackle those.

The Best Way to Clean a Copper Sink

Clean a copper sink the same way you hand wash a dish. First, wet the sink and rinse out any leftover food residue. Then use dish soap and a soft cloth to wipe down the copper. Rinse afterward and towel dry.

Clean your copper sink every time you use it to prevent stains and spots. Rinse the sink after doing dishes to wash away food residue.

How to Clean a Copper Sink that Turned Green

Copper sinks aren’t prone to many stains. But, if you leave acidic food in the sink, like tomato juice or lemons, the patina can strip, causing lighter streaks. The good news is the patina will redevelop.

The primary stain copper develops is called verdigris. Verdigris appears as green spots and is a build-up of minerals due to excess moisture or prolonged exposure to soap. Verdigris is also part of the sink’s patina, so bright shiny copper will show through when you remove these spots.

To remove these green spots from your sink, try wiping them off with a damp microfiber cloth. Treat the areas with a baking soda and water paste if wiping them doesn’t work.

To create a baking soda paste, dump a small amount of baking soda in a bowl and mix with water until a paste forms. Then, dip a damp microfiber rag or sponge in the paste. Use gentle pressure to scrub the green areas off the sink. After removal, rinse the sink and towel dry.

Cleaners You Shouldn’t Use on Copper

If you want to protect your sinks patina and keep the copper from showing scratches, avoid the following cleaners:

  • Bleach
  • Steel wool
  • Abrasive cream cleansers
  • Acidic cleaners
  • Drain cleaners

How to Prevent a Copper Sink from Having a Patina

While patinas are natural and can give copper an antique look, it’s not the style everyone likes. If you want to keep your copper sink shiny and bright, opt for a lacquered copper sink. The lacquer will protect it from darkening.

When the lacker wears down, you’ll need to wax the sink every six weeks.

You should still follow basic care instructions of cleaning the sink at least once per day with dish soap and water. 

Tips for Protecting Copper Sinks

  • Put a dish rack in the bottom of the sink. Doing this prevents food and dishes from coming in direct contact with the copper and stripping the patina.
  • Clean up acidic substances. If you notice a spot of ketchup or pasta sauce, wipe it away as soon as possible.
  • Wash the sink once per day. A simple wash with dish soap and water goes a long way in keeping it looking its best.
  • Don’t set bars of soap on the sink. Direct contact can cause green spots to form.

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