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Removing oxidation from a copper lantern

I found an old lantern in our garage that used to belong to my great grandfather. It is badly oxidized/corroded (green, looks almost like paint), I really want to restore this and keep it, but am not sure what to use to restore it (besides good old elbow grease). Would using fine grit sandpaper then using Brasso [on eBay or Amazon affil links] work and not hurt it?
Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Great forum here, wish I would've fund this before!
Thanks for any ideas!

Patrick Noble
hobbyist and auto tech - Sequim, Washington
March 23, 2008

Hi, Patrick. First test it with a magnet to make certain it is solid copper or brass, and not plated steel. I would not use sandpaper as you will then never be able to get it smooth again without a lot of buffing. Then it's a matter of picking a good copper polish. Brasso [on eBay or Amazon affil links] is excellent but slower than molasses on very heavy oxidation. Lemon juice plus salt is extremely aggressive and may be necessary, but will leave it salmon pink. I'd compromise and try a reasonably strong copper polish like Revere copper cleaner [Ed. update 2023: no longer available] , or go through the two steps of following the lemon juice with the brasso to restore the warmth. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 27, 2008

Try 5% ammonium citrate solution(50 gm citric acid [on eBay or Amazon affil links] /1 lit water+add some ammonia [on eBay or Amazon affil links] - pH must be 9!).Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
March 31, 2008

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