How to Clean Copper Mugs

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How to Clean Copper Mugs

If they’re cleaned and cared for properly, copper mugs can offer a range of potential health benefits. Copper is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and supports healthy digestion, so it’s unsurprising that lots of people choose to use copper mugs over regular ceramics. The key to reaping the full benefits that can come with using copper mugs is knowing how to clean copper mugs thoroughly and appropriately.

Even if you don’t use your copper mugs and they are simply kept for ornamental purposes, you probably still want to keep them looking their best and free from any dust, dirt, or tarnish.

The three methods listed below will enable you to thoroughly clean your copper mugs in your kitchen or dining room, leaving them super shiny and free from any dirt residue or surface damage. Each method uses only easy-to-find, affordable and all-natural cleaning ingredients.

You can also use these methods if you’re wondering how to clean copper cups, a copper sink, pure copper cookware, or another copper item.

Related: How to Clean Oven Racks Naturally

How to Clean Copper Mugs

Method 1: Lemon Juice and Salt

This method is super cost-effective and uses products that you’re likely to have already lying around your home. Lemon juice is an excellent all-natural cleaning agent due to its high acidity which enables it to effectively cut through stubborn grease and grime (lime juice can be used as a substitute). It is antibacterial, and antiseptic and is great for restoring shine to hard surfaces. If you’re wondering how to clean copper mugs easily, this is our top recommendation.

Morton Iodized Table Salt, 26 Oz, pack of 2Morton Iodized Table Salt

Salt is also an extremely useful household product when it comes to natural cleaning. Here, it acts as a natural abrasive to enhance the cleaning power of the lemon juice and remove any residue buildup on your unlined copper mug, Moscow mule copper mug, copper cup, copper vessel, or copper utensils.

What You’ll Need:

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Step 1: Prepare the Lemon and Salt

Cut your lemon into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the copper mug (quarters may be easier when it comes to cleaning the inside of the mug), and sprinkle a generous amount of table salt over the fleshy part of the lemon.

You can also do this by sprinkling the table salt onto a chopping board or hard surface and then pressing the lemon onto it.

Step 2: Scrub the Mug

Now, taking your salt-covered lemon segment, gently scrub the surface of your copper mug. Use circular motions and continue with this step until any dirt, residue, or marks are visibly removed.

You might need to pick up a little more salt or take a new lemon segment partway through if you’re working with a particularly large or tarnished copper mug.

Step 3: Rinse the Mug

After cleaning the mug with lemon juice and salt, rinse it off using some warm running water. Be sure to thoroughly remove any salt or lemon residue.

Step 4: Dry the Mug

Drying the mug thoroughly is super important if you want to prevent any future watermarks, rusting, or tarnishing. Use a soft cotton towel or microfiber cloth that is clean and dry to remove as much water as possible from the copper mug. Or use a microfiber cloth that is specifically designed for polishing, like this Polishing Cloth from E-Cloth.

E-Cloth Glass & Polishing Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, 300 Wash Guarantee, Reusable, Raspberry Rose, 2 PackE-Cloth Glass & Polishing Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

After drying the mug, take your second towel, a soft cloth, or a cotton cloth and go back in, ensuring absolutely all moisture has been removed and polishing the mug to leave it super clean and shiny.

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Method 2: White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Alternatively, you can also use white vinegar and baking soda to effectively clean and restore your copper mugs. If you’re wondering how to wash copper mugs, copper cups, and copper pots with items you already have in your home, this is an easy solution.

Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar, 5% Acidity, 16 Fl Ounce (1 Pint) Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar

These ingredients work in very similar ways to the lemon and salt method, with the acidity and antibacterial properties of the white vinegar working to cut through dirt and restore shine and the baking soda acting as a mild abrasive to lift away any stubborn residue.

Related: Cleaning Vinyl Records With Vinegar: Does It Work?

What You’ll Need:

Related: Home Remedies for Limescale (Natural and Effective)

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Step 1: Create Your Paste

Add three parts baking soda with one part white vinegar to a clean bowl or tub and mix until the ingredients form a thick paste.

ARM & HAMMER Pure Baking Soda 8 oz (Pack of 6)ARM & HAMMER Pure Baking Soda

Related: How to Wash Fruit and Vegetables

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Step 2: Clean the Mug

Now, take your non-abrasive sponge and pick up some of your cleaning paste, use this to gently scrub the copper mug in small circular motions. Pick up more paste as is needed and scrub until all visible tarnishing has been removed.

Step 3: Rinse the Mug

After thoroughly cleaning the mug, rinse it off with some warm water until all of the baking soda and vinegar mixture has been removed and you’ll have a clean copper mug.

Step 4: Dry the Mug

Finally, use the same double-drying process that is detailed in the lemon and salt cleaning method. Be sure to remove all residual moisture and buff the copper mug with your clean microfiber cloth or towel to leave it sparkling clean and prevent any watermarks or tarnishing.

Related: How to Remove Rust from Knives with Baking Soda (and Other Natural Remedies)

Method 3: Liquid Dish Soap

This final method uses simple, natural dish soap. It is important that you choose a soap with no harsh chemical ingredients here to prevent you from damaging the solid copper surface of the mug and also to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects these ingredients can have.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Most Versatile
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
  • Concentrated, plant-based, fully biodegradable & use all-natural, vegan ingredients 
  • Our products & ingredients are cruelty-free, over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, over 90% are organic
  • No synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents


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Eco Me Dish SoapEco Me Dish Soap
  • Fragrance-free dish soap quickly cuts through dirt, grease, and grime leaving dishes sparkling clean without a filmy residue
  • Packed with natural plant extracts and all-natural plant-derived ingredients
  • Chemical-free containing all-natural antibacterial properties so that you don't have to sacrifice sanitation for the environment and greywater and septic safe to protect aquatic life
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Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)
  • Plant-based cleaning ingredients like corn and coconut and scented with pomegranate and grapefruit extracts
  • Natural, hypoallergenic that cuts through grease without sulfates
  • Cruelty-Free: BETTER LIFE is a Leaping Bunny Certified company that never tests on animals.
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This method of cleaning copper mugs is super simple but does not offer the same mild abrasion that the previous two methods do. So, this might be a good option if your mug has some watermarks or less stubborn dirt buildup, but if you’re looking to tackle tougher stains, residues, or tarnishing, you may see better results with either the lemon and salt or baking soda and vinegar techniques.

What You’ll Need:

Step 1: Mix Your Soap

Dilute your liquid soap as is advised on the bottle. We recommend using warm water when diluting to help loosen any stubborn dirt on the mug.

Step 2: Scrub the Mug

Now, take your sponge and use the soapy water to scrub and clean the copper mug. Again, use circular motions and pick up more liquid as it is needed.

E-Cloth Washing Up Pad, Non-Scratch Kitchen Scrub Sponge, 300 Wash Guarantee, Blue, 4 Pack E-Cloth Non-Scratch Washing Up Pad

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Step 3: Rinse the Mug

Follow by rinsing the cleaning solution off of the copper mug using warm, running water.

Step 4: Dry the Mug

And once again, finish off by thoroughly drying the copper mug using the same double-drying technique detailed above.

As we said, you might find that you are still left with some stubborn stains or tarnishing after using this method. If this is the case, you can simply repeat this process or move on to one of the slightly more abrasive methods listed previously in this article.

Related: Do Natural Cleaning Products Work?

Final Thoughts on How to Clean Copper Mugs

Each of the methods listed above in this post on how to clean copper mugs will enable you to clean and restore your tarnished copper mugs to leave them free from any bacteria, dirt, and surface marks and look sparkling clean once again, all without a single synthetic or harsh chemical ingredient.