How To Use Beer To Make Copper Shine Like New

Copper accents in a kitchen are both modern and old-fashioned. Their warm color and hammered appearance evokes an old-world charm that makes you think of grandmothers in their kitchens, surrounded by coppery pots and pans. At the same time, they also feel modern since they are a sharp alternative to the stainless steel accents people usually prefer to decorate their kitchens with. While they're a unique aesthetic choice, people who own copper pots, sinks, and faucets can agree on one thing: they're a little tough to clean. However, beer can help with that. 

Copper gets a patina as time passes, but there is a difference between natural patinas and grime. If your copper looks worse for wear, grab a beer from your fridge and use it to return the piece to its natural shine. This is a great cleaning hack because it doesn't require you to go out and buy a new product that is specially formulated for copper items. Instead, you can use something you already have at home. Here's how. 

How to do it

Depending on what you plan to clean, you will need one to three bottles of beer. For example, if you want to soak a small sauce pan, you'll just need one can of beer, but if you have a giant stew pot, you might need two or three bottles. Pour the beer into a tub or bucket big enough to hold the item you're soaking. Place your item into the container, and let it soak for five to 10 minutes, allowing the drink to break down the grime and buildup. Once the time has lapsed, remove the item and buff it clean with an old towel or cloth. The stains should be gone, and you should have a sparkling pot or pan. 

If you want to use this hack on something you can't put into a bucket — like a copper faucet — try soaking a rag or cloth with beer, and wrap it around the item. Leave it for five to 10 minutes, and wipe it clean with water. You can also dip a polishing cloth into a cup of beer, and use it to buff the metal.

Why this works

The reason beer can double as a household cleaner when it comes to copper items has to do with its acidity. Beer is made out of hops, and those hops hold alpha acids. These acids will eat away any patina or stubborn grime, leaving behind the polished metal. "The acidity in beer breaks down the sooty-looking tarnish and restores shine and vigor without staining the metal," cleaning expert Ralitsa Prodanova told

If you're worried that the acid might damage your copper material, try using a lighter beer. The darker the beer, the more acidic it will be, so choosing a light ale will give you some buffer room as you test the hack. It's also a good idea to spot-test in an inconspicuous area first to see how the beer will react with your specific piece. This will give you peace of mind since you can see how it reacts with the metal.