Can You Really Use Ketchup to Clean Copper and Brass?

published Sep 21, 2015
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(Image credit: Lauren Naimola)

From the knocker on your front door to the extra-special necklace you brought home from the craft market, brass and copper goods are showing up everywhere. Over time, these shiny treasures will start to tarnish, and we heard that ketchup can help get them back in shape. But does it really work? we gave it a try…

What You Need


  • Ketchup


  • Small bowl
  • Buffing cloth
  • Small brush


(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. For small, dainty pieces of jewelry like chains and earrings, it’s easiest to submerge them and let them sit for a while. Go round up a shallow bowl that will fit your items, allowing each one to sit at the bottom without overlapping the other.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Cover the items in a layer of ketchup. Don’t go overboard; squeeze just enough of the acidic sauce to cover the top of each item.

3. Let the pieces rest for up to 30 minutes before checking progress. If they still have a way to go, allow them to sit in the paste for an additional 20 minutes.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Remove your jewelry and run under warm water. Use a toothbrush to remove ketchup from hard to reach areas.

5. If there is any remaining discoloration, grab a piece of super-fine steel wool and carefully work it away.

For Larger Pieces: grab a small brush (makeup brush or toothbrush), dip it in ketchup, and begin to work it around the surface of the brass or copper, applying steading pressure as you go. Let sit, repeat as needed. Once you’ve got the piece as shiny as you like, rinse under warm water and buff dry.