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FAQs about Maintenance for Copper Sinks

by Paul Sanders

The look and feel of copper fixtures can add a classic texture to your home. Copper sinks can be particularly beautiful when properly maintained. Contrary to common belief, copper sinks aren't difficult to care for. You may simply want to know a few things to avoid when cleaning and using a bathroom or kitchen sink to avoid damaging the rich, red color and finish of the copper fixture. Here are a few frequently asked questions about copper sinks and proper maintenance.

Maintaining Copper Sinks:

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  • How can a copper sink be damaged?

    The actual copper in a vessel sink or hammered copper sink can't be damaged through normal use or by most cleansers. What can be damaged is the patina or lacquer finish on the sink. Harsh cleansers, rough scrubbing-sponges and stiff-bristle brushes can damage the finish on your copper bathroom sink. So, never use brass polish on a copper sink that has a finish. Also, try to run water in a copper sink continuously when working with lemons, pineapple, mustard and other acidic foods, which can wear at the finish.

  • How do I know my sink has a lacquer finish?

    You can test to see whether copper sinks have a lacquer finish by dabbing a mixture of baking soda and vinegar onto an inconspicuous part of the sink. If the copper brightens immediately, there is no finish on your sink.

  • Which cleansers are safe to use on copper sinks?

    A mild soap should be all you need to properly clean most copper sinks. Any harsh cleansers can affect the finish. If you live in an area with hard water, you can prevent mineral deposits and spotting on your copper sink by applying a coat of wax to the surface. Reapply the wax when the water stops beading up.

  • How do I clean a copper sink without a finish?

    You can use a brass polish on unfinished copper sinks, but you may want to rinse the sink thoroughly if you plan on washing food in the sink. Use a foaming polish or cleanser for detailed surfaces with textures or crevices. For regular cleaning, use mild soap and cleansers. Avoid stiff brushes or sponges, which can scratch the surface of your copper sink.