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Removing coatings from copper cookware

I would like information on removing protective coatings from copper cookware, so it may be used functionally as opposed to decoration only. I tried acetone [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)], which worked but would take forever. I understand there is some solution of household products in which the cookware can be boiled to remove the coating. I appreciate any information anyone might have on this matter. Thanks

Mark Parker
- Edinburg Texas

The acetone would dissolve lacquer, so that is probably what you are removing. But those decorative pots are not meant to be used for cooking, are they? Lacquer will soften in caustic solutions, but hot caustic is not a household item, because of the danger in making, storing, disposing, and using such solutions.

tom pullizzi monitor   tom pullizi signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania

I just purchased a set of copper pots which are not for decoration. They are to be used but they have a coat of Lacquer on them. The company suggests that I use "The Stripper" by Behrir(I can't read this word well, it could be Behr) available at Home Depot or paint stores and following directions given by manufacturer on can.

Sarah Jane McKenzie
- Kentucky


To remove lacquer, place the item in 2 gallons of boiling water to which 1 cup of washing soda [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] (not baking soda) has been added. The lacquer will peel off. Another method for removing lacquer is to rub with a cloth saturated with acetone [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] or alcohol. I don't know what washing soda [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] is.

Sarah Jane McKenzie
- Kentucky

In the past, I boiled whatever pot possessed the protective coating in a larger pot. No extra ingredients other than water in both pots. Works like a champ. You might have to peel part of the coating and then reboil if the pan cools. This way requires a larger pot/pan and a bit of patience; however, if you ever accidentally cook in a pan with a protective coating you know this takes little time in comparison to cleaning up the mess.

Richard Reynolds
- McLean, Virginia

November 22, 2011

I found acetone nail polish remover -- is that safe to be used to remove the coating from my new copper pans?
I also wonder if vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] would work in removing this coating. I do plan to use these pots.
Thank you

Betty C
- Bell Buckle, Tennessee

Hi, Betty.

Your question is a bit abstract. There are numerous possible coatings, each requiring different solvents for removal -- didn't the pans come with instructions for doing that? If they were intended for decorative use only, you can't use them for cooking.

Please remember that acetone is flammable. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
November 22, 2011

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