Pots and pans with copper-clad bottoms are great for cooking, but the copper can become stained and tarnished over time.

Here’s an easy way to clean copper-clad cookware naturally using only vinegar and salt.

How to Clean Copper Cookware:

  • Pour a 1/2” or more of distilled white vinegar in a frying pan or skillet and sprinkle in salt.
  • Heat the vinegar/salt mixture on a stove to almost boiling.
  • Put the bottom of the copper pan in the hot vinegar, and pour enough water in the pan to prevent it from floating in the vinegar solution.
  • Allow the pan to remain in the vinegar for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the vinegar and rinse it off.

If needed, sprinkle salt on a sponge dipped in the hot vinegar, and use it to scrub the pan to remove any remaining stains.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Joe Truini: Most home cooks love using copper-clad cookware because the copper conducts and transfers heat really well. The problem is that copper has a tendency to stain over time. Here’s a quick way to clean up a pot so it looks a good as new.

First of all take a skillet and add some white distilled vinegar, probably about a half-inch or more. Sprinkle in a good amount of salt, and turn on the heat underneath it.

Wait till it gets just to the point of boiling, which is where we are right now, then turn it off and set the pot in there. Now the pot’s empty, so it will float, so what you need to do is add some water just as ballast just to hold it down. There you go.

Now, we’re gonna let that set for about 10 minutes, and we’re going to come back and clean it up. OK. It’s been about 10 minutes now. We’re going to take it out of the vinegar, dump out the water, and take a look.

Well, there you go, look at that. Without even scrubbing it, I was gonna take a little scouring pad and see if I needed to scrub off any of this staining, but it’s already almost brand new. That’s just from sitting in the vinegar for 10 minutes.

Now, if you take it out and you see there’s still some staining left, what I’d suggest is dip the sponge—a scouring sponge—in the vinegar, put a little salt on it, and that will act as an abrasive to really scrub the pot completely clean. And again, it will be as good as new.

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

Learn More