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Feb 6, 2012 12:33 PM

Copper cookware

I have my Mom's antique set of Tagus copper cookware. It had some type of protective coating on the inside and she NEVER cooked with it. She had this cookware for over 40 years, so if there were any instructions they are long gone.

Now that I have it, I'd like to use it. Any suggestions on how to remove this protective coating?

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  1. Hi, 353CPB:

    Wipe it down well several times with acetone on the inside, and acetone and 000 steel wool on the outside.


    8 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      If you are not familiar with acetone-- I would wear resistant gloves if you are using it for any length of time as it will defat your skin. It is also a strong solvent, so avoid it around any plastic. You also need good ventilation. Just in case you haven't worked with it.

      1. re: wekick

        Also, it's extremely flammable.

        1. re: GH1618

          Yeah, I remember that. That is probably the biggest hazard, and acetone fume is heavier than air, so it sinks to the floor. Of course, this should not be a major concern for small quantity.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            It might be if you're in a ktichen around an open flame.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Probably not, but I am reminded of someone in my building who decided to remove some sort of adhesive from his floor (I think it had been used under carpeting, so a lot of it) with a solvent (although I am not sure what he was using). He overlooked the fact that the water heater had a standing pilot. The fumes flashed and set off a sprinkler.

              1. re: GH1618

                GH and NotJuliaChild,

                Agree. It really depends on the volume. If we are talking about a little bottle like a nail polisher, then I don't think the hazard risk from the fume is very high. The solvent itself is still dangerous of course.

                Like you said, acetone has a fume heavier than air. So visually we may not see any solvent, but the fume has already concentrated and stayed on the bottom of the floor. It can serve almost like a fuse wire. Ignites from one end of the room and travels all the way back to the flame source -- just like the example you have talked about.

                The liquid and vapor are easily ignited by spark or continuous flame and
                are extremely flammable. Vapors are heavier than air and may travel considerable distances to an ignition source."


                1. re: GH1618

                  GH1618: No doubt they used a bit of it and had it spread over a large area; in other words, they were asking for trouble. That is exactly why bowling alleys and sports arenas switched to waterborne varnishes for the lanes and playing surfaces. They used to use acetone to strip off the old finish and about every 3-4 years someone would forget to kill the pilot light on a water heater and torch the place; eventually the refinishers couldn't get insurance and the gig was up. They were using it by the gallon, though; an ounce or two in the kitchen or bathroom is insignificant; the density difference doesn't come into play at low concentrations either.

                  Otherwise, we'd have 100's, if not 1000's of houses burning down weekly as the teenagers change over their nail colors.

                  353cpb, don't use it next to an open flame and if you dispose of the rags indoors, make sure it's into a sealed container that is not next to an ignition or heat source--that is your greatest hazard.

                  When I use a flammable solvent, I throw my rags outside (out of the sun) where the excess solvent can evaporate off, then I toss them in the garbage. Or, I torch them in the middle of my driveway.

                  Your biggest problem will be if you spill any on your polyester shirt... :)