How to Clean Copper Pipe

Copper pipe, a pipe cutter, and copper fittings.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20
What You'll Need
Baking soda
Cream of tartar
Clean cloths
Soap and water
Pipe cleaner/brushes

A copper pipe tends to form a bluish green patina during long periods of use, especially when it is exposed to moist air. In order to clean a pipe, one does not need to use a heavy abrasive or a dangerous chemical just to remove the stain. There are materials usually found inside homes that can be used for this purpose.

Step 1 – Prepare Polisher Paste

A polish can be made at home using ordinary household ingredients. One way to make a polish paste is to mix vinegar with baking soda and salt. A mixture of equal proportions of salt, flour, and vinegar may also do. Or, instead of using vinegar, a more natural paste can be made by mixing lemon juice and baking soda. The baking soda can also be substituted with cream of tartar.

Step 2 – Rub the Paste onto the Copper Surface

Place a sufficient amount of polish paste on a clean cloth and run it up and down or left and right on the copper pipe. Apply gentle pressure and allow the paste to wipe off any stain on the area. The paste will also remove any dirt or stain to reveal a cleaner smoother surface.

Instead of using polish paste, ketchup may also be used as a substitute. However, if ketchup is not available, tomato sauce will do. Apply it with a cloth and use it to rub the pipe gently.

Step 3 – Clean off the Paste

Wash the pipe with soapy water to remove any debris of the paste or ketchup. Another way to do this is to use a damp cloth to wipe off the paste from the copper pipe. This will make the cleaning less messy.

Step 4 – Use a Pipe Cleaner or Brush

To clean the insides of the copper pipe, it is necessary to use a pipe cleaner or brush designed to clean internal parts of pipes and fittings. For longer pipes, it is necessary to use a tool with a longer shaft.

Before inserting the head of the cleaner into the pipe, place a liberal amount of paste or ketchup on the head. Insert the brush while rolling the shaft to spread the paste inside. As the brush is rolled, it cleans the inside surfaces. Keep rolling the cleaner until you've scrubbed the inside thoroughly. Allow water to run through the pipe to remove any residue or debris.

Step 5 – Dry the Pipe

When the surfaces of the copper pipe are thoroughly clean, make sure to dry the pipe. Use a dry cloth to wipe off any remaining moisture or dry it under the sun. Once dry, your pipe will be ready for use.