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Spotless turns FIVE – and how to clean copper effortlessly

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It was five years ago today that Spotless was born, and as I thought about that today it made me happy to think that I am building a legacy of tried and tested tips, encouragement, reflections and useful information that I hope and believe will help make the world a better place than it otherwise might have been. To celebrate in Spotless style, I decided it was high time to polish up my set of copper pots that I inherited from my Granny.

My clean copper pots stacked like Russian dolls

She was born 110 years ago, and many of the ways of doing things that we are now working to rediscover would have been commonplace to her. The three pots fit inside each other like Russian dolls, and also made me think of the passing on of information, wisdom and experience from generation to generation, especially from mothers to daughters. Perhaps an open-minded and enquiring mind is one of the most precious gifts we can pass on to our children. I mentally thanked my own mother for always encouraging me to pursue whatever interests me, and to think outside the box.

Now, just in case you think these thoughts came to me during long hours of scrubbing, rubbing, and polishing, let me hasten to add that the Spotless way of cleaning copper is the easiest and most labour free you will find. And while cleaning pots may seem a rather eccentric form of celebration, most of the time was in fact spent enjoying a delicious mug of freshly brewed coffee and a piece of dark chocolate. Allow me to explain.

To clean a large copper item such as a pot, you will need
warm water, salt and vinegar
. (In contrast, most commercial metal cleaners are highly toxic compounds containing ammonia and hydrocarbons and can be fatal if swallowed. They can also cause poisoning from being in contact with the skin or from breathing in fumes. Symptoms of poisoning can affect the airways and lungs, stomach and intestines, heart and blood, brain and spine, and the skin.)

Here is how I do it:

    • First, fill a sink or basin with enough warm water to completely cover the object.
    • Add half a cup of salt and two cups of vinegar to the water and swirl it around a bit to mix and dissolve.
    • Submerge the item to be cleaned.
    • Leave it for half an hour. (That’s when I had my coffee.)
    • Drain the water away, rinse the item, and dry it
    • Polish it a bit with a soft cloth so that you feel like you actually did some work. To be fair, this does also bring it to a high shine.
    • Admire your shiny copper with amazement!

Contrast this with the long, messy process of first smearing on and then rubbing at the object with a commercial metal cleaner, leaving you with a nasty smell, toxic fumes and a pile of poisonous black rags, and congratulate yourself.

See, it is a cause for celebration after all!

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