Let’s face it. Not everyone thinks patina is pretty. (That’s the blue/green discoloration that deposits as a result of humidity and oxygen in the air.) You bought your 100% pure copper moscow mule mug for the warm glow, refined look and cold-making properties, not because you wanted to drink out of something that looks like an old penny. But don’t worry. Though all copper mugs tarnish slightly over time, you can reverse that reaction to air, water, touch with little more than elbow grease.
Washing your copper mugs the right way keeps them sanitary and looking like new for the long haul. It also helps you avoid worst-case scenarios like copper toxicity - eek! Besides all that, isn’t half the fun of a copper mug the aesthetics? But beware, the process does require a little extra TLC since copper mugs can’t go in the dishwasher.
Since we so often get asked about copper mug care, we’re breaking down how to clean your copper mugs at home once and for all.
Copper Mug Maintenance
Cleaning copper mugs isn’t an inherently complicated process. However, if you’re wondering whether copper mugs are dishwasher safe, unfortunately the answer is no.
Maintaining that natural copper luster can be done with a copper cleaning kit, or some simple household items. Again, just avoid the temptation to take the easy way out and stick it in the dishwasher. Same goes for your microwave. You run the risk of damaging your mug, and that would just be plain sad.
How to Clean your Copper Mug
Learning how to clean copper mugs is important for any Moscow Mule enthusiast. Properly washing copper mugs all comes down to the solutions you use.
When cleaning your copper mugs naturally, acidity is your best friend. Try:
- Salt, vinegar, and flour. Mix 1 ½ teaspoons of salt with 1 cup of white vinegar. Spray on or apply with a washcloth and let soak for 30 minutes. Repeat the process if needed. You can also use a soft toothbrush to loosen tough grime or make a polish paste by adding flour if necessary.
- Lemon juice and baking soda, cream of tartar, or coarse salt. Squeeze one whole lemon, straining its seeds and pulp. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the abrasive element of your choice, mix, apply and let sit for a few minutes. Gently remove with a cloth. You can also use an unsqueezed lemon half dipped in the powder solution as your ‘brush’.
- Ketchup or Worcestershire sauce. You read that right! The acidity from the tomatoes and the acidic properties of the sauce make these pantry items an unexpected solution for naturally removing patina from copper. Coat lightly all over and let rest in the sink for 5-10 minutes. Rub with a soft cloth to polish, then wash with dish soap and dry completely.
And forgive us, we know we sound like a broken record, but whatever you do, keep your copper out of the dishwasher. Please!
Natural Patina and How To Prevent It
As we mentioned, patina is the discoloration that tarnishes your copper cup over time. It’s caused by the elements as well as things like heat, chemicals, the oils from your hands, and dust.
To remove patina from copper, use the methods above, or invest in an inexpensive copper cleaner like Penny Bright. Once you decide how to restore your copper mug and make a start fresh, it’s time to focus on prevention.
If you don’t want natural copper patina to dull the shine of your Moscow Mule cups, focus on reducing exposure to tarnishing elements. Start by keeping your copper mugs in a cool, dry place. Protecting against humidity may be a full-time job depending on where you live. Storing your mugs in a plastic bag is a good first step. Many copper cup owners use moisture-absorbing products like silica packets, baking soda, or DampRid bags.
Beyond that, simply make sure your mugs are completely dry inside and out before you store them for the next use.
How to Restore Your Tarnished Mug
Natural patina on copper may be just that, natural. However, if you want to restore a tarnished mug to its correct shade, you need to understand how to shine copper mugs safely. From there, it’s just a matter of upkeep. Its shine can be prolonged by applying a light coat of olive oil or beeswax to its exterior.
Essentially, knowing how to care for copper mugs isn’t enough. Like a car, they require a bit of maintenance. Regular care will keep your copper Moscow Copper Mug as vibrant as the day it was delivered.
Still unsure how to keep up with the upkeep? Contact us for help!