Tomato catsup to remove tarnish

Was: [Tidbits] Cabbages-Tomatoes-Mushrooms-and Mario

Now that Tomatoes have been mentioned, I have a question. Watching
the news on television while reading the paper (real paper) and
eating breakfast one morning this week I saw a short piece about
cheaper and more available ways to solve household problems such as
the suggestion to use toothpaste to remove wax crayon marks from a
table. Then, to my surprise the presenter produced a very tarnished
or dull brass/copper teapot. She then put a bit of tomato catsup on a
paper towel and proceeded to polish the teapot. It worked–tarnish
gone. I know catsup is a bit acid but this was an unexpected result
for me. My question is: have any of you used tomato catsup to remove
tarnish from jewelry? Considering the number of strange (to me)
things I have seen suggested on this forum, I bet that someone out
there has tried it. I doubt that I will get around to it but would
liked to hear from someone who has.

Gerald Vaughan

I have used catsup and it works well but Taco Bell taco sauce works
even BETTER :slight_smile:


Catsup has vinegar in it. That is what is removing the tarnish.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

I always use catsup or salt and vinegar to remove tarnish from
copper or brass it does not work on silver. Catsup with a little
vinegar to soak a piece in even works better just let it sit in the
solution a while and then wash off with a cloth to scrubby sponge.
That’s how I clean the bottom of all my copper pots. I also wet the
bottom of the pots sprinkle with salt and use the left over form a
sliced lemon to scrub up the bottom of copper pots they then sparkle
like brand spanking new.


I have used the catsup to clean tarnished copper. It does work well.
I also use vinegar or lemon juice. Salsa has also been suggested, but
it never lasts long enough for that use at our house.

Betty H. Ott
Boop Photo and CopperWorks Jewelry

Almost any acid combined with salt will remove tarnish.

Ketchup has vinegar (acid) and salt, as well as the acidity of the
tomatoes. ’ nuff said.

Lemon juice and salt - good combo. Save your ketchup for your fries.


How about salt and vinegar, 2 components of catsup!!! Cheaper too
and then you can use the catsup saved on your french fries…Now,
what about the cheeseburger to go with the fires???

John Dach

I use it on copper jewelry. It is a magic trick that gets customers
excited. It will remove the tarnish, but it won’t polish it. That’s
when you sell them a polish cloth.

When you buy the copper bottom kettles - if anyone does anymore, the
cleaning instructions say to use vinegar and salt to scrub the
copper. Guess that is what Catsup is composed of!

Rose Marie Christison

That is one item I did know, just from years of doing dishes! When
the silverplate ladle goes into the spaghetti sauce! Presto cleano as
my Nana would say. Don’t know what it did for the sauce however.

This post has stirred my ancient memory about something about copper
and tomato sauce causing a toxic chemical that can kill people. Maybe
the memory is from some Hollywood movie about Gypsies dying form
eating spaghetti sauce cooked in copper kettles.

Maybe there is something to the hazards of mixing copper and tomato
sauce. i don’t remember seeing any all copper pots and pans.

Maybe some of Orchid’s brilliant artists might have more info on


Salsa is just more expensive ketchup. You are getting the acid from
the tomatoes. Stick with the ketchup. We make homemade salsa. It
doesn’t contain vinegar (unless you just want to put some in it-ich!)
If you get to Georgia during harvest season I’ll give you all the
tomatoes you want.


Hardly scientific, but the version that I heard was lead-alloy
pewter plates causing health problems with acidic foods. Presumably
any metal that oxidises is going to be pickled by acid, and the
toxicity would depend on the oxide.