, , , ,

With the summer holidays over and done with we decided to make a start on cleaning the copper in our kitchen.  We clean the copper once a year to remove dirt and fingerprints which corrodes the metal.



Tarnished copper pans next to a freshly polished pan


Finger prints are a big problem with copper, as a good deal of our collection is within reach.  As a shiny and attractive metal, people want to touch our pots and pans, and do so frequently.  This leaves dark tarnished patches on the surface of the copper, and sometimes even fingerprints are left corroded into the pan.


A handprint corroded onto the copper


It isn’t just our skin that corrodes the metal though, copper turns dark brown over time which is due to sulphide gases in the air.  This tarnish is a natural protective coat that stops any damage being done to the copper underneath.


The line between tarnished and clean


Copper can also tarnish by producing green crusty or powdery spots, which is caused by the presence of moisture, organic acids (like those in our skin), or by other pollutants in the air.  This means that if you keep your copper in a damp place, it will be more likely to tarnish faster and more intensely.


AP NT Charles Gibson.014

A collection of our copper pans and molds. Photograph National Trust Charles Gibson


If you wanted to browse Attingham’s collection of kitchen objects, go to:


Select ‘Attingham’ as the property and select ‘Historic Services / Food & Drink preparation’ as the category.