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How to Remove Patina From Metal Naturally

Metal surfaces, including bronze and copper, develop a patina over time that gives them a warm green coloring that actually acts as a protective barrier, shielding the metal from damaging corrosion. While this patina can be attractive, if you prefer the look of shiny metal, you can remove the patina to restore the metal to its original coloring.

White Vinegar and Salt

Copper and bronze develop a green patina over time.
  1. Wipe the bronze or copper surface with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. Brush dirt from recesses and crevices with a soft paintbrush.

  2. Add 1 tsp. table salt to ¾ cup of white vinegar. Stir the white vinegar until the salt dissolves. Add white flour while continuously stirring the white vinegar. Continue to add flour until a toothpaste-like consistency forms.

  3. Dip a rag in the paste and spread a thin layer over the bronze or copper surfaces. Let the paste remain on the metal surface for 30 to 45 minutes.

  4. Rinse the paste off the bronze or copper surface with water to remove all traces of the paste. Dry the metal thoroughly with a microfiber rag.

Lemon and Salt

  1. Remove dust and debris from the copper or bronze surface with a microfiber cloth.

  2. Pour 2 to 3 tbsp. salt on a plate or into a shallow dish.

  3. Cut a lemon in half. Dip the cut side of the lemon into the salt. Rub the salty lemon over the metal surface to remove the patina. Continue to dip the lemon in the salt and rub the surface until no patina remains.

  4. Rinse the copper or bronze surface with clear water. Dry the metal with a microfiber rag.

Ammonia and Salt

  1. Wipe the metal surface with a soft rag to remove all dust.

  2. Dissolve ¼ cup of salt in ½ cup of ammonia.

  3. Pour the ammonia and salt mixture over the copper or bronze. Let the mixture sit on the metal surface for 30 to 45 minutes.

  4. Rinse the metal surface well with clear water. Dry the bronze or copper with a microfiber rag.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

  1. Wipe the metal surface with a soft rag to remove dust and debris.

  2. Pour ½ cup of lemon juice into a bowl. Add baking soda to the lemon juice while continually stirring to form a thin paste.

  3. Dip a rag into the paste and rub a light layer of the paste onto the copper or bronze surface. Let the paste sit on the metal surface for 20 to 30 minutes.

  4. Rinse the paste off the surface with plain water. Dry the metal thoroughly with a soft rag.

Lemon Juice, Salt and Cornmeal

  1. Remove dust and debris from the metal surface with a soft rag.

  2. Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of salt. Stir the lemon juice until the salt dissolves.

  3. Add cornmeal while stirring to form a paste.

  4. Dip a soft rag into the paste and rub the paste onto the bronze or copper surface. Let the paste sit on the metal surface for 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. Rinse well with plain water and dry thoroughly with a soft rag.

Warnings

  • Do not leave any natural cleaner residue on the metal surface; the cleaners can cause corrosion and pitting of the metal.
  • Removing the patina from metals will expose them to the elements.
  • Avoid removing the patina from old, valuable items, especially coins; removing the patina may devalue the items.
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