Cleaning Copper with Ketchup (Video)

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena
Video Episode 20

by Rena Klingenberg.

See my experiment with ketchup on copper – will it remove the oxidation from rustic earwires and a metal tag?

Transcript of This Video:

Today’s episode should almost be called “Jewelry and Ketchup with Rena” because I’m going to show you an example of what happened when I cleaned some copper jewelry with ketchup.

Ketchup is something you can use to remove dirt and oxidation from copper, and the reason why it works is because it has both vinegar and salt in it.

Cleaning Copper with Ketchup Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now, you can do a straight up vinegar and salt mix that will actually work faster than ketchup, but to me the benefits of using ketchup are that it smells a lot better than vinegar – and you don’t have to mix anything. It’s already all mixed together.

All you have to do is squirt some out of your ketchup bottle, put it in a little bowl, put your jewelry or whatever items in the ketchup, let them sit for an hour or two – and come back to find them clean!

So come along, and I’ll show you what happened when I did this experiment:

oxidized rustic copper earwires

This is a pair of very rustic, oxidized copper earwires.

I’m going to use ketchup on one of them and leave the other without ketchup so you can see the difference.

oxidized copper tag

This oxidized copper tag came with some stone beads I ordered.

I’m going to use half of this to put ketchup on, and leave the other half without ketchup so we can see how it changes.

cleaning copper jewelry in ketchup

I’m putting the ketchup in this small ceramic bowl that was made by a local artist.

I got the ketchup out of my refrigerator and squirted about 1/4 cup of it into this bowl.

Then I placed the copper tag and one of the copper earwires partway into the ketchup.

So they have part sticking out and part buried in ketchup.

Then I left it alone for about an hour while I worked on some other things.

When I came back, I pulled them out of the ketchup and washed them off under running water in the kitchen sink.

You can tell which part of this earwire was buried in ketchup; it got nice and shiny clean:

copper earwires cleaned with ketchup

And the top of the earwire that was out of the ketchup still has all the oxidation it started out with.

Although I only used copper in this demonstration, you can also ketchup to clean and remove tarnish and oxidation from brass.

And here’s how our copper tag turned out:


I think you can tell that the end with the hole was the end that was dipped in the ketchup, and the other end still has all the oxidation it started out with.

But here are some copper and brass items that I would NOT put ketchup on:

  • Metals that you want to keep their oxidization or patina.
  • Jewelry with stones.
  • Jewelry with glued components.
  • Antique items.

So even though now on a lot of metal jewelry the trend is to have antique finishes, oxidation, and patinas – I think there’s still a lot of room to have shiny metals too.

For instance this chevron ring that I made recently out of brass:
Brass chevron ring by Rena Klingenberg

I was originally intending to do a really cool patina finish on it.

But then when it was finished, I really appreciated the shine that it had. And I thought it really went along with the look and style that I wanted for it.

So I left it shiny instead.

So this is one that I will be cleaning with ketchup probably sometime in the next few months when it starts to get dull and dark!

I want to thank you for coming in today, and I’d like to hear any of your adventures with cleaning jewelry by ketchup or any other means.

I’ll see you soon!

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:


Carved Petroglyph Pendant by Stephen Lee.

Czech Glass and Brass Wire Earrings by Rena Klingenberg.

Brass Chevron Ring by Rena Klingenberg. See the tutorial: Adjustable Brass Chevron Ring.

Want to Learn the Basics of
Designing Your Own Wire Jewelry?

Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components Class In my Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components video class, you’ll learn how to get great ideas for wire jewelry designs – and then follow my easy system for turning those ideas into successful pieces of jewelry.

By the end of this online video class, you’ll be designing and making your own artistic earwires, clasps, connectors, and pendant bails.

You’ll also learn my tips for making wire jewelry more easily, with more professional looking results.


FREE - Get 7 Super Jewelry Making Hacks

Get Rena's 7 Super Jewelry Making Hacks, plus the Jewelry Making Journal Newsletter - all for FREE.

We Respect Your Email Privacy

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 36 comments