Can You Clean Copper Pans with Ketchup? – A Foolproof Hack for Spotless Cookware!

by Stephanie Yankova

A brand-new set of copper pans is undeniably not only a practical but also incredibly aesthetically pleasing purchase that’s worth displaying in your kitchen. However, just like everything else, they wear out over time. What’s the best way to clean copper pans? Can you make them look new again? What about burn stains? Don’t fret – your pans are in good hands! Here are a few simple tips that will help bring back their shine! 

Expert Tips: How to Clean Copper Pans?

cleaning rusty dirty copper pans homemade remedies

Unlike stainless steel cookware, copper is much more delicate and prone to scuffs and burn marks. While some people enjoy the worn-out look, if you want to maintain their fresh glossy orange appearance, you’ll have to put in some work. The good news is that you can easily restore your copper cookware’s original shine with simple and budget-friendly homemade methods. No more excuses for having stained pans – these hacks will banish every last bit of tarnish once and for all!

Read also: Cleaning grease off stainless steel: Keep your grill, pans and stove bright and shiny!

Step 1: Prepare Your Pans

The first thing you need to do before you start cleaning your copper pans is to determine whether they are lacquered or not. The lacquer is a thin protective layer that prevents discoloration and scuffing of the pans. There’s a really simple way to distinguish whether your pans have that protective finish or not:

  • If the pan has a glossy finish and doesn’t change its color when it gets grimy, it is lacquered.
  • If it doesn’t have a glossy finish and changes in color once it gets dusty, it does not have a lacquer finish.

When the exterior is lacquered you can easily clean it by using dish soap and a washcloth. However, if it isn’t, you’ll need to go for a different approach which requires a little bit more effort, although it’s still quite simple.

lacquered vs unlacquered copper pans cleaning hacks


Step 2: Cleaning the Exterior of an Unlacquered Copper Pan

One thing I try to steer away from when cleaning my home is using harsh chemicals. That includes the process of taking care of my cookware. Luckily, you can easily bring back the original shine of your copper pans with two very simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen:

  • one whole lemon
  • cooking salt

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Cut the whole lemon in half.
  2. Pour some of the cooking salt into a small bowl.
  3. Dip half of the lemon in the salt.
  4. Clean the exterior of the pan in circular motions using the salt-dipped lemon.
  5. You can gently squeeze the lemon and dip it into the salt as you go if needed.
  6. Once you’re done scrubbing the surface, rinse the pan under warm running water.
  7. Dab the pan with a clean cloth.
  8. For a shiny finish, use the same cloth a couple of times to buff the pan.

Step 3: Cleaning Stubborn Burn Stains

cleaning burnt copper pan tomato paste ketchup hack

Credits: ruralsprout

You have burn stains at the bottom of your beautiful (and expensive) copper pans? Do not panic – you can remove those stains with ease using two simple ingredients, one of which might actually shock you! We’ve all had to clean tomato stains off of our clothes at some point, and you know that it’s a hefty task. Well, when it comes to cleaning tarnish off copper, tomato paste is your best friend! Its acidic nature is the perfect antidote for stubborn rust and burn stains! All you’re going to need is:

  • dish soap
  • tomato paste or ketchup


  1. Pour dish soap into the pan and add some hot water.
  2. Let it sit for a while.
  3. Get a soft scrubber and using circular motions remove the burnt particles from the inside of the pan.
  4. Rinse off the pan under hot running water and let it dry.
  5. Once it’s dry, flip it over and apply the tomato paste to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Let it sit for one hour.
  7. Wash off under hot water and rub gently to remove any residue.

Read also: How to Clean a Burnt Oven Tray? Restore its Shininess with Natural, Non-Harmful Solution!

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