Before & After: Vintage Copper Boiler

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While camping with my family over the summer I bought this old copper boiler from an antiques store. It was sitting outside in a corner of the shop’s front porch covered in cobwebs and rusty grime.  With a little elbow grease I could see flowers displayed in the tub or maybe I would use it as a novelty storage bin I thought.  Since it was left out to rust and the price tag was reasonable, I purchased it with hopes of gussying it up and giving it a new life.

There were several dents on each side and the lid was crusty.

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When I returned to the campground I searched online for how to clean copper and read that several people had success with lemon and salt. I guess that’s how people have been cleaning copper for ages.  I just so happened to have lemons in the refrigerator and found a container of Morton’s salt under the cabinet — so guess what I did? Yep! I couldn’t slice the lemon quick enough. The moment the lemon and salt touched the copper the old, dark tarnish started dissolving.  Eeek! I was so excited I kept going until all the copper shined through.

 

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At first the boiler was bright pink but after a few days it turned more coppery and still darkens every day. I scrubbed the rust from the tin lid with steel wool the best I could but it didn’t come off completely, it’s just smoother and less crusty than before. My husband tapped out the dents with a small hammer for me.

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I may go over it one more time with lemon and salt, but it’s a big improvement from the way it looked before.

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Lisa

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