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Treating a copper birdbath

copper bird bath

Q. I loved my shiny copper birdbath. Mold had collected in the birdbath. I treated it with bleach. I must have left the bleach in too long. There are areas where my copper birdbath has turned green. Is there a way to get rid of it? And then, how would I treat it to prevent happening again? Thank you.

Terry B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
hobbyist - Dallas, Texas

A. To remove tarnish try citric acid [on eBay or Amazon] or better ammonium citrate solution (5%, pH 9).

As clearcoat try Everbrite [a supporting advertiser] coating. Good luck!

Goran Budija
metals conservator - Zagreb, Croatia

A. Try this non-toxic method to clean copper cooking pots:

Wet with white vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon] plus salt is easy on people, it's extremely aggressive to copper, and seems to always leave the copper very raw looking and salmon colored, not copper colored. If you're unhappy with the look, you can use a brass & copper polish to turn it that warmer color again.

My own experience is that Revere copper and stainless polish is strong enough to work very quickly on its own, while not so aggressive as to give that ugly raw look..

There are endless clearcoats from the simple one that Goran suggested, to brass lacquers, to 2k automotive clearcoats. Best of luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 21, 2011

Q. In regards to cleaning a copper birdbath, I usually use Barkeepers Friend [on eBay or Amazon], but am concerned as to whether or not it would harm the birds that use it. Anyone know a bird friendly way to keep it sparkling? (Mine also has a cascading waterfall). Thanks!

Lisa Kern
- Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
June 28, 2016

A. Hi Lisa. If it's well rinsed I can't imagine it hurting anything; it's a cleanser but doesn't leave a coating.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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