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"Cleaning copper"


We are a small lamp fixture manufacturer. We need to clean one of our copper models (production is about fifty a day), hopefully with a dip solution before applying a green verde finish to the copper. Currently the copper has some oil form the copper tube and sheet manufacturing process. We use 1/4 inch copper tubing and .016 coil copper.
I would appreciate any help on this.

Joe Husbands
manufacturing - Wedowee, Alabama


Two choices:
1. Use an alkaline cleaner that is made for copper and at least one overflowing rinse tank (counterflowing with two or three tanks will save a lot of water) A hot final rinse tank with good water. A RO system will work fine--One of the under the sink models.

2. A vapor degreaser. These work quite well but are relatively expensive to buy and to operate. Care to keep water and acids out is mandatory or it will ruin the tank. Solvents used in them tend to be bad for your health.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


Dear Joe Husbands,

For non- corrosive copper cleaning solution, you can use Non-Ionic wetting agent with IPA.

Navin Maheshwari
- New Delhi, India


How do I refurbish an old 5" round Copper moon and stars decoration? I found an old round (oxidized and green) Moon and stars wall ornament, which appears to have been cast, at Goodwill for $1.00. I would like to restore it, to hang on my wall and display, but do not know how to get off the green oxidization. Some parts of the convex and elevated surfaces, such as behind the stars (which appear on the left side) are rough. Others such as the facial features of the moon (on the right side), have small cracks and crevasses around the mouth nose and eye. All these areas need to be cleaned of the oxidization.

Do I dip the ornament into a solution, and wipe off the corrosion with cloth? If so what about the rough surfaces, and cracks and crevasses? I have often used old toothbrushes.

What would take off the corrosion and any old finish that may be on there?

Nicholas Udall
Retired. Want to refurbish it myself. - Lighthouse Point, Florida, USA

May 1, 2011

I have a copper fire extinguisher that is in fair shape.

Can it be dipped again in a copper solution.

This is a soda and acid extinguisher and has some slight pitting at the top.

Do you know of anyone who can help me?


John Meksa
- Sun City center, Florida

May 2, 2011

Hi, John. Copper can be dipped in a bright-dip solution (an oxidizing acid like sulfuric acid plus hydrogen peroxide) to remove tarnish, or it can be re-electroplated with copper . A plating shop, which you can find in our Jobshops Directory or in your local yellow pages, can do this. However, I'm not sure that this is the appropriate thing to do for an old fire extinguisher. You might look at letter 22177 first.

Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 23, 2010

I had a similar problem with a copper plate. I polished it with a copper polish tarnish remover. It left a powdery green deposit in all the little indents. After trying a number of ways to remove it, i.e., toothbrush, polishing for ages, etc. I eventually tried just washing it with a mild soap and warm water, using a toothbrush where necessary.... The result was great. Couldn't believe it was such a simple solution.

Sally Jones
- Cape Town, Western Province, South Africa

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