How to Clean Copper Pans

by sharon santoni
several circular copper pans hanging on hooks

There are few cooking instruments more synonymous with French cuisine than the rose-gold shine of a copper pan. Not too dissimilar from a luxury sports car, copper kitchenware is expensive, has heaps of endurance and will make you feel like a Michelin-starred star. But, most importantly, it requires meticulous care to keep it looking good.

Have some authentic French kitchenware at home? Read on for our tips on how to clean copper pans!


Stains from cooking and high heat quickly leave copper pans looking tarnished and dirty. Thorough washing and drying can only get you so far… To really get your copper pans to shine, you’ll need a trick or two up your sleeve.

Here are our tips on how to clean copper pans and make that metal really glow.

small copper pans on a wooden table with gravy inside them
© Bernard Touillon, featured in MFCH July/Aug 19

The secret to cleaning French copper pans 

Cleaning your copper pans demands two things: using some elbow grease (nothing beautiful comes without a bit of hard work!) and ditching the chemical-laden products.

Au naturel is best! To clean our copper pans, we turn to natural acids to dissolve the copper dioxide that gives them a greenish tinge. Natural alternatives are also better for the environment and are cheaper.

  • Begin with a clean base by washing off exterior and interior food stains.
  • Pop the pan in the sink and coat it in fine table salt. Pour white wine (or apple cider) vinegar over the top and layer with more salt.
  • Leave the mixture a few seconds to work its magic (you’ll already be able to see some stains disappearing).
  • Take a scouring sponge and pour some vinegar on to it. Start to massage the copper pan and remove the stains (this is where the elbow grease comes in).
  • Rinse with water and dry/polish using a clean lien tea towel.
  • Keep the clean copper shine for longer by spraying on a lacquer. Don’t forget to clean this off before cooking with them.
  • Other options for removing copper stains include a lemon juice and baking soda mix – the pair are a dream team for removing any kind of tough stains.
  • Ketchup is also a household favorite, but you might prefer to save that for your BBQs.
authentic french copper pans and an open kitchen door to the right
© Bernard Touillon, featured in MFCH July/Aug 19

Voilà! A quick and easy solution to removing stains on copper pans. Do you have any miracle formulas? We’d love to know…

Love French copper? Get the look!

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