plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Copper backsplash is tarnishing
June 2, 2010
In our newly remodeled kitchen we have installed a beautiful sheet of copper on the wall behind the built-in cooktop. It occasionally gets splattered with cooking oil while I fry, so I wash it off with hot, soapy water, which seems to work fine. My major problem is the discoloration (tarnish?) that is occurring. I have tried several metal cleaning products, but none seem to clean it up without leaving smears, streaks, and residual tarnish, etc. It is so disappointing. Any suggestions? Thank you.Loretta Stockton
homeowner - Salem, Oregon, USA
June 3, 2010
Hi, Loretta. As you may know from seeing copper pennies, roofs, pipes, and pots, copper tarnishes rather than staying bright, metallic, and shiny. Unfortunately, it's just nature that copper tarnish is a more stable material than a raw copper surface.
So, for copper to remain bright, it must be lacquered or clearcoated, it can't be bare. See if you can buff it up with some polish (you may need a buffing machine or at least a buffing pad in an electric drill), and then clearcoat it with something. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey