Do Copper Mugs Tarnish?

If you own a 100% solid copper mug, eventually you’re going to ask yourself (if you haven’t already) the following question: “Do Copper Mugs Tarnish?”. The short answer is “yes…they do” but let us provide some insights into why this happens in the first place and the steps you can take to prevent it from occurring (or if they’re already tarnished, eliminating it).

What Makes Copper Tarnish? copper mugs tarnish

Tarnish is often thought of as being the death of everything that is made out of steel. After all, when copper or steel begins to tarnish, it starts to decompose and eventually it becomes junk that can’t really be used. Tarnishing in kitchenware can also be  bad for your health because the chemicals that cause the reaction can make your utensils turn brown or even red/white in color, which can give you a blood like taste. Copper mugs are prone to tarnishing but there are a couple of elements in copper which make it a much stronger substance and prevent it from tarnishing as much.

When something is tarnished, it is a sign that corrosion has occurred. For example, if your metal utensils are overexposed to oxygen, they may tarnish over time. You will also find that exposure to water and heat can promote tarnishing as well.

How to Prevent Copper Tarnishing

Copper can tarnish over time and you can try and prevent this from happening in some cases, but there are a few instances that you can’t prevent. If you do want to try and prevent your copper mugs from tarnishing, never put your solid copper mugs into the dishwasher and wash by hand with warm water (some use a little bit of lemon juice in the washing process). By gently hand washing and promptly drying your mugs and keeping them away from chemicals and dish soaps, you can prevent the tarnishing reaction from kicking in. Additionally, storing your mugs in a dry place will keep them looking great for years to come.

How to Remove Tarnish from Copper

If your copper mug is already tarnished, pour a mixture of salt and vinegar over the mug and scrub using a sponge; some people add ammonia and lemon juice to the mixture. Wear gloves if you have sensitive hands and ensure your sponge isn’t too abrasive as this could potentially scratch your mug when you’re removing the tarnish. You may have to repeat the process a few times but it will eventually come off if the tarnish hasn’t hit an advanced stage. If these home concoctions aren’t taking care of the problem, you can also look into purchasing an inexpensive but very effective copper cleaner like Wright’s to get the job done.

Over time, you’re bound to experience a little tarnishing but to slow down the impact tarnish can have on your mugs, follow the simple steps above. By doing so, you’ll protect your investment and extend the life of your copper mugs.


(for best effect, insert the sound of a needle scratching across a record here)


OK…now having said all of that, some of our customer enjoy the vintage aesthetic of a tarnished copper mug. Rather than the clean look, they’d like them to look a little “worked in”…old school if you will. If that’s your thing, here’s a link to an article that teaches you how to go about tarnishing your copper mugs.

Hopefully this isn’t too confusing but we wanted to give people both sides. 🙂

Pick up a set of copper mugs for your home, NOW!



Do Copper Mugs Tarnish