It might surprise you that the answer is not in your cleaning supplies cabinet, but in your pantry or refrigerator: ketchup. According to Taste of Home, when you combine a weak acid with table salt, it safely dissolves copper oxide. Guess where you can find both a weak acid and table salt? That’s right — ketchup.
The acid, writes The Spruce, comes from the vinegar in ketchup, as well as the tomatoes themselves, as they contain some citric acid. This makes ketchup a surprisingly handy and versatile cleaning hack that also works for pots and pans in other materials, as well as polishing silver and brass.
To clean your copper pots and pans with ketchup, just apply a thin coat of the condiment and then rub it off with a clean rag (via Delish). Taste of Home recommends that, in between the application and removal, you should leave the ketchup on as long as you can to really let it do its thing. You can even mix in some corn starch or flour to turn the ketchup a paste that will dry up so you can simply scrape it off instead of scrubbing.
Copper pots and pans might be pricey, but at least taking care of them doesn’t have to be.