As time passes, copper fixtures develop a beautiful patina as they react with oxygen. The patina, which is created from copper oxide, offers a striking, eye-catching hue. Many people prefer the darker color, while others prefer the sleek, shiny look of brand-new copper.
Copper sinks do not require much effort to restore their original shiny state, but they can be tricky to patinize. Why is that? Patina occurs naturally, making it difficult to reproduce the exact color with a forced reaction.
However, if you’ve got a few bright, shiny spots on your copper sink and wish to restore the deep, rich color, you have a few options.
How to Restore Patina on Copper Sinks?
If your copper sink has lost its patina, you can restore it using two different methods. Some methods are best suited for unsealed copper, while others are better suited for sealed copper. If you are not sure which option is best for you, we recommend consulting a professional.
Using this method, you can delegate the process to someone knowledgeable about copper and its patina. You might consider restoring the patina yourself if you’re up for it. Here are a few methods.
Use Ammonia And Salt
If your copper sink has a green patina and is unsealed, you can restore it with ammonia and salt. Here’s what you need:
- Non-iodized salt
- Clear, detergent-free ammonia
- White vinegar
- Clean, lint-free rag
- Grease cutting mild dish soap
- Spray bottle
To get started, clean the sink’s surface to remove any grease. Make sure you clean it with a soft cloth and grease-cutting dish soap. Once your sink is clean, mix the darkening solution.
Combine two parts white vinegar, 0.5 parts non-iodized salt, and 1.5 parts clear, detergent-free ammonia in a spray bottle. Mix the solution until it dissolves, then spray it on the shiny areas.
Let the solution sit for an hour, then reapply to areas you missed. Let it dry until it turns green and powdery. Do not scrub off the powder as it is the patina, which will set permanently over time. Let it sit overnight.
Use Baking Soda And Water
For sinks with a brown patina, use baking soda and hot water to darken the surface. To do this, you’ll need:
- Grease-cutting mild dish soap
- Clean, soft rag
- Baking soda
- Hot water
- Spray bottle
- Cotton swabs
To begin, use dish soap and a soft cloth to clean the sink’s surface. Next, combine baking soda and hot water in a spray bottle. Continue adding baking soda until it no longer dissolves. Spray the darkening solution on the discolored areas.
If the area is hard to reach, use a cotton swab dampened with the solution. Let the solution sit for an hour, then reapply as needed. This solution won’t powder like the green patina solution, but let it sit for a while to get the brown, coppery finish.
Wait It Out
If you are intending to try various chemicals or methods to restore the patina, wait it out first. This is usually your best option if you’re willing to wait for the patina to restore itself.
Never measure the patina’s progress daily – it’s a natural process that doesn’t occur right away. Instead, measure your progress once a week. Results will be more noticeable and dramatic than if you check daily. The copper sink will darken within a few weeks.
It might not match exactly, but it won’t be as noticeable. I’d recommend this method if you’re not sure what to do with your restoration.
Use Liver Of Sulfur
You can also darken your copper sink quickly by adding liver of sulfur. It is important to remember that this material is poisonous if inhaled (dry lump) and can be a fire hazard (flammable). Make sure you are wearing protective gear, including respiratory gear, goggles, and masks.
Liver of sulfur can be bought online as dry lumps or gels. It doesn’t have a very long shelf life, so use it soon after receiving it.
Here are the things you’ll need:
- Grease-cutting mild dish soap
- Liver of sulfur (dry lump or gel)
- Clean, soft rag
- Protective gear
You should begin by cleaning the sink surface with grease-cutting dish soap and a soft rag. Once the surface is clean, apply liver of sulfur to create oxidation. Note that this will cause the copper to turn black quickly. If you would like a smooth finish, thinned applications may be necessary.
Once the liver of sulfur is applied, wipe it down with a clean, soft rag. Ensure you dispose of the liver of sulfur according to the instructions – you cannot simply throw it away.
- Sulfur liver is poisonous when inhaled, so proceed with caution when handling it.
- The methods above may not work well on copper-plated sinks. If you’re not sure whether your sink is solid copper, check whether it’s magnetic. Magnets shouldn’t react with copper, so your sink might be copper-plated if it does.
- Make sure you wear the appropriate protective clothing, gloves, respirators (masks), and goggles. The products can cause adverse effects if they come into contact with the skin or eyes, or if they are inhaled.
How Can I Keep My Copper Sink Dark?
The key to maintaining a dark copper sink is routine maintenance. The patina will be destroyed if you leave certain objects in the sink or use specific cleaners. It may leave copper flecks peeking through the patina. If you want to get the shiny surface back, this is ideal, but if you want to keep the patina, it isn’t.
If you want to keep your copper sink dark, follow these tips:
- Do not leave acidic foods in the sink, such as tomato sauce.
- Dry the sink after use.
- Avoid leaving cans in the sink.
- Do not use steel wool or harsh abrasives to clean the sink.
- Avoid using acidic cleaners on the surface.
- Use a mild cleaner like dish soap and warm water to clean the surface.
You can keep the patina covering the copper consistent and beautiful if you are careful. In the case of an accident, don’t worry. Over time, the patina will naturally restore itself. If you do not wish to wait for the sink to do its work, you can attempt to speed up the process.
It’s important to note that some of these methods may ruin your sink since they’re designed for certain types of copper sinks. If you use a method for restoring the patina on an unsealed copper surface, you may completely remove the patina.
Hence, before proceeding with the following methods, make sure you know what kind of sink you have and are aware of the potential results.