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Metal finishing Q&As since 1989


Restoring the dark brown finish to copper sinks

Q. Please can anyone recommend a finishing patina for a cast iron horse. The legs have been welded back on using Nickel/Iron arc welding rods. I need a chemical patina to match the rest of the horse which is dark copper to dark brown. It is an expensive antique piece so I have to be careful with the finish. Thank you.

Marie Holmes
- Darlaston, West Midlands, England, UK
August 15, 2021

Reactive Metallic Copper (for uniform substate/base)
on eBay or


(affil links)

Jax Brown

(affil links)

A. Hi Marie. I doubt you will find an acid or chemical which will react with nickel-iron to turn it dark coppery to brown -- which is why we appended your inquiry to this thread about brown finishes for copper. I think what will be required is the two-step operation of coating the nickel-iron with a copper-bearing salt, and then treating that copper surface with something that turns it brown ... although I believe there may be products that combine the actions, coating the surface with a brown copper-bearing salt.

Luck & Regards,

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

⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. I ruined two bathroom sinks spraying them with Lime-A-Way [affil links]. We have high lime deposits in our water and I have soaked our shower head several times which makes the spray much better. I didn't even think when I sprayed the drain of my pretty dark copper sinks and immediately they were spotted and streaked with bright copper finish now. The shower head must be coated bronze because the solution didn't affect it. We don't have a gas torch and I'm very nervous about trying to restore the finish myself. What do you suggest? Lou in Texas

Lou Freeman
Homeowner - Colleyville, Texas
November 4, 2008

A. Hi, Lou. Patina finishes can usually benefit from an artistic touch, which I lack, so I don't know about your ability to satisfy yourself on this, but brass darkening solution [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] is available for patina restoration situations like this.


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

Our company makes a copper patina repair kit just for owners of copper sinks like yourself. Our kit is a very simple and quick repair of patina damage for D-I-Y. Please call for more info. You can see a demonstration of our kit at work on You Tube, keyword copper patina repair. Thanks

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California

Q. I have a lightened spot in my bronze sink and would like to know how to darken it back to match rest of sink interior

- BATON ROUGE, Louisiana
February 19, 2012

Multiple threads merged: please forgive chronology errors :-)

Need to restore brown patina on copper sink

Q. I have read many posts re patination of copper and can't find an answer. I purchased a double wall copper vessel sink (on sale) where the outside was very degraded and filthy from several years in a warehouse. I cleaned it with soap & water and a gentle wax and that didn't help as there were major spots in the finish. The manufacturer said I would need to strip it down to shiny copper to re-antique to the beautiful glow like the photo attached.


Unfortunately they sent me the "bronze" packet with liver of sulfur rocks and everything tells me that will produce a black finish. What chemicals (safe would be my preference) can I immerse the sink in to achieve the beautiful antique brownish finish of the attached photo - that's the actual sink with finish as it should look. My new bathroom begs for this final touch. The sink is all clean and just needs that antiquing for final install. Thanks.

Sandy Rhines
- Kailua, Hawaii, USA
June 24, 2012

A. Liver of sulfur [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] will produce a light brown - dark brown - black color depending on the concentration, immersion time and temperature,

Try this:

Make sure your sink is absolutely, spotlessly clean, and while still set from cleaning, apply the liver of sulfur by swab, spray or immersion. As soon as you see the first signs of color, rinse the LOS off. If not dark enough, reapply LOS, and quickly rinse again, repeat until you get the shade of brown you want, then rinse thoroughly, dry, and coat with a good quality clear acrylic lacquer.

If you go too far with color, gently remove a little with wet 0000 #0000 steel wool [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)], then rinse, dry and lacquer.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Q. I bought a house with a copper sink in which the patina is completely gone from years of heavy cleansers. It has a hammered finish and the raised portions look ok and the indented hammered spots are a dark brown. The overall appearance is terrible. Am I able to grind away the dark spots and then keep it waxed for a more uniform look?

Dan Copsey
- Thousand Oaks, California, USA
February 13, 2013

Help I ruined my antique metal bathroom sink

I used a metal cleaner on my antique bronze metal sink and it took out the color to a brassy streak. This is not an expensive vanity sink and so I don't know the type metal it is. Please help me restore it to a uniform color. Thanks

Cindy Leamy
- Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
September 7, 2013

Q. I used Tarn-X to clean a beautiful hammered copper sink that is now bright pink/orange in color. I am not an experienced D-I-Y, but willing to try anything. I need to resolve this fast. HELP!

Marie Anderson
- Dallas, Texas, USA
May 8, 2019

Brass Darkening Solution

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A. Hi Marie. If the sink was initially a shiny copper color like a new penny, a copper or brass polish like Brasso [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] should fix it, although it may take a few applications. If the sink had a dark brown antique finish you may not be able to get it dark brown again in a reasonable timeframe without re-applying some sort of patina chemicals, such as mentioned by Barry.


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

Q. Hello, my name is Angela Brown. My house keeper decided it would be a great surprise for me, to bring back the original copper color of my sink. She didn't know it was dark on purpose. The whole entire sink is now bright copper with no coating.


Is there someone I can hire to make it dark again? Or is replacement my only option?

Angela Brown
- Wilmington North Carolina
September 29, 2020

A. Hello Angela. Sorry to read of your situation and for late reply. If you are still looking for an answer to your copper patina damage then I have it. The Brown patina finish on copper sinks is quite delicate and subject to chemical and abrasive damage.

Our company, Barry's Restore It All Products created a kit just for folks with your issue and makes you your own professional refinisher. In fact, we use this very kit in the field to do just this, restore the oil-rubbed brown finish back to sinks and other elements. You can find our kits on Amazon or at You'll be able to watch actual refinishing videos there.

Thanks and good wishes for the new year.

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California

Ed. note: Readers may be interested in these related thread:
Topic 40020, "Restore patina on antique brass sink basin"
Topic 40020, "Coloring/antiquing a hammered/beaten copper sink"

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