Cleaning Copper Pots

As we work on fixing the shop at 119 S Main, I am also starting to pull together some of my display items.  One of the items for the windows is my great, great grandmother’s washing tub which is all copper.  There’s a long story behind why it’s copper and why it had to be copper but that’s for another post.  I figured I would share how it’s been kept clean for a number of years.   Lemon trees grew around us plus being in Florida, a pot of salt water made for easy clean up.  But since I don’t have lemon trees in my backyard and miss the beach, I thought I would share an old Botanical Earth post I wrote in 2005 about how I keep my copper clean now living in Missouri.  So while my grandmother Mae taught me soap making, she also taught me how to be thrifty and easy on the environment. My grandmothers were eco-friendly, trendy natural care junkies and didn’t even know it!

cleaning copper with lemon
Starting off

#1 – Start with something that needs to be cleaned.  I’m using one of my sauce pans.  Since I do this all the time, the build up isn’t too heavy.  I do wash the pan first with soap and water to remove any grease film or burnt build up – so it’s a clean pot with a tarnished copper bottom.

Using Lemon to clean copper
Squeeze a lemon

# 2 With a freshly cut lemon wedge, or a splash of lemon juice concentrate, cover the copper area.  I use the actual lemon to do the washing – just squeeze the juice and smear it around.

You’ll start to notice a reaction right away the fresher the lemon juice. The photo was taken about 3 seconds after the lemon hit the pan.

Some people even use ketchup because of the acid. To me, lemon is less messy to use and smells better and it will also help brighten brass too if you have some items looking dull.

Lemon and salt

#3 – Now use simple table salt as a mild abrasive.  Sprinkle just a bit to start and if you are using the lemon wedge, just smear it around again.  Use a soft cloth or sponge too if you prefer.  Do not use wire scrubbies, and I don’t even like the plastic nylon scrubbys for this – gentle the better. Focus on any tough areas.  You don’t need fancy salts – they don’t work any better.

See the difference!
Difference between the cleaning

So there you have it – clean and uncleaned with just a bit of lemon juice and salt.  Repeat if necessary for tough spots.  Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.

Don’t throw the lemon away!  Fill a small bowl with water, drop the lemon in, and place in your microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.  The steam from the water will help loosen any splatters in the microwave, and it will smell lovely from the essential oil in the lemon rind!

Now, compost your lemon rind, you’re done cleaning.

There’s lots of helpful, inexpensive ways to effectively clean around the house without the toxic or synthetic cleaners.  I’ll try every Saturday (as that’s my clean up day) to post about cleaning option.

Enjoy this lovely day as tomorrow will remind us that we still have a few more days until Spring!


Welcome to Arcadia Valley Soap

It’s March.  It’s finally sunny.  It’s time to start fresh.

My tulips are beginning to poke their heads up through the previously frozen ground and that always reminds me that all things are possible.  So, welcome to the start of the Arcadia Valley Soap Company’s blog about all things soapy, herbal scented and wonderfully Missourian.

I’ve been handcrafting soap for quite some time now (pushing the 40 year mark) so I’ve worked under a couple of different names and brands.  Sometimes I have only done private label work for spas and resorts, sometimes simply custom work for families with allergies or special needs.  I love to make soap.  My grandmother did professionally and learned from her grandmother, so it’s in my blood to pick flowers, infuse oils and whip up a batch of something scented with natural ingredients. It’s what I do best, and what I always come back to in the end. Now that my husband and I live in the small town of Ironton, I am more at “home” than ever in the world.  Even prior to moving here in 2012, I knew I would live here and began designing soaps with the thought of changing the name of my business.  While I still make my other brands of soaps, I wanted a name that showed I was  committing to the Arcadia Valley for a long time.  Last year, I was lucky enough to purchase a tiny pink granite building built in the 1900’s that no one thought had potential, especially my husband! Instead of seeing a worn down, well past it’s prime old building, I saw what it could be – wonderful.  While most of this blog will be about soaping, it’s also about restoring hope and cheering up the world around me.

Our shopping site( )  is still under construction as I gather all the brands and products together, I hope you follow along on my little adventure.

Welcome to the Arcadia Valley Soap Co. !