Cleaning a copper wash tub

Hi…probably a no brainer but…any simple methods
for cleaning many years accumulated grime off of my
inlaws old copper wash tub. I like the gritty look and
would probably leave it that way but it will probably
work better in their home if cleaned up a little. I
don’t think it need to be super shiny, just not quite
so grungy. Your help much appreciated.


Hum-m-m, a tub’s kinda a large object that you don’t want too shinny so.
. . from a long ago but not forgotten household hint that I read somewhere,
I’ll offer two home methods.

  1. Catsup …that’s right, a good rubdown with that red stuff.
  2. Rub with a lemon half and salt.

Another thought, have you tried a good scrubbing with detergent and a soft
brush? I think that the supermarket copper cleaners would leave you with
that awful pink copper look that I don’t think that you want.

Marilyn Smith, from rainy and very windy,
Indiana, USA, east of the Mississippi and west of the Appalachians

Every night when I do the dinner dishes,
I clean the copper bottomed pots and pans
with “Kleen King, stainless steel and
copper cleaner”. It is put out by
’Faultless Starch / Bon Ami Company’ and should
be found in your local grocery store.

It seems to have a chemical that cleans the copper


Regarding copper tub and the jam pot someone asked about. Catsup and
lemon are both indeed to get through the grime. However, if you would
like to save the old, “used” looking patina, you might try something like
Murphys Oil Soap or a similar detergent with very warm water… Use the
soap on a piece of cheesecloth or an old terry towel and add lots of elbow
grease. This should allow you to keep the “antique” look in tact.

Trying a little bit of catsup, lemon, and soap in spots on the bottom of
the tub will give you an idea of the different colors produced by each

Hope this is helpful.

Joyce in Colorado