How to Remove Lacquer Coating from Copper Items

Some of the copper items that we sell are covered with a protective lacquer coating. This coating is designed to slow tarnishing when the item is being used for decoration only. If the item is to be used for cooking or food preparation, the protective coating must first be removed. There are two methods to remove the coating:

Method 1:
  • In a pot large enough to immerse at least half the item, make up a baking soda and water solution (approx. 1 tablespoon baking soda to each quart of water).
  • Bring the solution to a boil. Submerse the item in the boiling solution and allow to boil for twenty to thirty minutes. The coating will soften and begin to peel off.
  • Carefully remove from the solution and wash in warm, soapy water, scrubbing with a nylon pot scrubber to remove the softened coating. (Do not use steel wool, etc.).
  • Finally, clean with copper cleaner (available at most supermarkets) and a soft sponge. This last step should remove any residual coating.
  • If your pot was only large enough for you to remove half the coating at a time, repeat procedure to remove the remaining coating.

Method 2:
  • The protective coating can also be removed using lacquer thinner (available at hardware stores).
  • Apply thinner with a soft cloth, and immediately wipe with a clean cloth. Repeat as necessary until all lacquer has been removed, paying special attention to remove lacquer from crevices and around handles.
  • Follow by washing the item in warm, soapy water and finish by cleaning with copper cleaner.
  • Please read and follow the instructions printed on the lacquer thinner container.

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