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Treatment for Copper Pots?? [moved from General Chowhounding]

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Hello all,

I hope this is the appropriate board for this question...

I received some beautiful all copper pots for Christmas. There is a little booklet attached instructing me to wipe them down with acetone before using to remove a protective coating.

Has anyone had experience with this? Where can I get acetone? I know it is in nail polish remover but the last thing I want to do is coat my pots with something that might ruin the lovely finish.

Please help!!


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  1. It is nail polish remover and often copper pots are coated to prevent taarnish while sitting on a store's shelves. You must remove that coating because it will burn on if you try to cook in them without getting that stuff off.

    Okay, fact of life. Copper tarnishes. The first time you use a piece it will darken. You can keep coper polish on habd and polish after each use or learn to live with some tarnish. You can also use white vinegar to clean off tarnsh or a cut lemon and salt. Copper also scratches. It will aquire a patina over time.

    1. Do I just wipe the nail polish remover on then wipe off??

      Or is it a matter of letting it sit?



      1. Wipe well all over and then wash thoroughly.

        1. Salt and Vingear. It keeps them clean and SLOWS THE TARNISHING PROCESS. IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THE POTS NEW DO NOT USE THEM.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FAL

            It removes tarnish but does not stop tarnish, nothing can do that. Another caveat is salt is crystalline and it can scratch the copper surface. You can never keep the surface factore fresh but a mild copper cleaner without abrasives like salt can slow downw the scratching.

          2. You can get acetone at just about any hardware store. As organic solvents go, it's not particularly toxic, but use it in an area with good ventilation. It will quickly dissolve the lacquer protective finish on your copper, so just wipe it on with a rag. The acetone will volatilize so quickly that there's likely to be little left, but go ahead and wash the copper anyway - then you're all set to use your new cookware.

            I'm a bit of a copper nut, and have more pieces hanging in my kitchen than many places that sell the stuff. I like to keep it looking good, and use Wright's Copper Cream right after washing. It works great and only takes a couple minutes to use. The more widely available Twinkle copper cleaner works equally well, but I find it a bit harder to rinse off. The salt/lemon juice treatment will work also, but the salt will definitely scratch the surface. Your copper will pick up plenty of scratches anyway, but there's no need to contribute to the process. None of these cleaners does a great deal to slow the natural tarnishing, but that's a slow process - most of the discoloration comes from cooking and I rarely find it necessary to clean a copper piece between uses, even if "between uses" extends to a few months.

            1. I got pure acetone from a beauty supply store for $1 when I got my set. My set seems to be permanently etched from San Diego's very hard water. I used to fret about it, but I'm over it. I do polish mine with copper cleaner I picked up at Sur la Table, but I only polish them occasionally. Since the heat of cooking dulls and tarnishes them each time you use them, I clean mine with King Kleen (or Barkeeper's Friend). Because I don't want to rush the aging process, I make a very watery mix of it then gently wipe it over the surface. It cleans the tarnish upon contact. Rinse with hot water and dry immediately.

              I do have a charming French cookbook, and the photos all show well-worn copperware, all tarnish and cooke-on grit, that is just gorgeous. Almost prety enough to make me stop caring about the tarnish on mine!

              1. I am with the posters that are not overly concerned with the obvoius "use" of copper pots being given away by a few scratches and a little tarnish.

                In a previous life (when I owned a house in the burbs) I was lucky enough to have stailess steel...I fully appreciate the streaky business that is not worth spending the time removing since, like wrinkles on a well aged face it shows a life well lived.

                Thanks for all the suggestions Chowhounders.


                1. Buy a good copper polish, Flitz or Wengle(sp). About twice a year, when you're bored silly or the wx is lousy, shine a few copper pots. But othewise, let them age graciously.