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Thread: Cleaning copper

  1. #1
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    Raleigh Kleeb started this thread.
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    Post Cleaning copper

    I have been trying to find ways to make copper shine again after taking it from the landfill or after burning tough insulation off the wires. Right now im just on the salt and vinegar trick, but that makes it a grayish pink and really pale color. I also sand off the black resedue from the burned wires, but it still make that very pale unattractive color. Anyone know how to make it shiny again so i can sell it as bare bright?



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    Make sure it's worth the effort, but any commercial copper cleaner should do it.
    People may laugh at me, but that's ok. I laugh all the way to the bank.

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    Sounds like a lot of work. What's the price difference? Here it would be about a 10 cent difference, so for every 100 pounds I'd "make" 10 bucks. I find my time is better spent finding more scrap.

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    This might sound weird but I work at a taco bell and one day we had to clean the copper piping in the walk in fridge. We used fire sauce (taco bell hot sauce) to clean them. Came out good. Give it a try. Just put it on and scrub it with an sos pad or something.

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  6. #5
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    If your price difference is worth it, A1 steak sauce is effective. So is Coca-Cola.

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  8. #6
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    Thanks ill look into the sauce cleaning. Its worth it for me when i have something to save up for. I am a musician getting a $4000 synthesizer and for that to me every cent counts.

  9. #7
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    I actually found something that works amazingly well, makes it look like new again. 3M souring pads kinda like this: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...u=SPM179791621
    The purple ones work the best.

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    I heard that almost any hot sauce will work!

    Being in the Navy I have heard Mess Specialist Say that Hot sauce Cleans copper and brass very well. This is all great Information!

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    Hey guys. Im brand new. I know this thread is kind of old, but i figured it was good info. I used to work with copper gutters all the time, and we all used to use ketchup for this type of thing. And, apparently, everyone seemed to do it, so its worth a shot. Just figured id throw it out there for anyone interested.
    Dave

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  13. #10
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    Oven cleaner perhaps?

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    I don't know about copper but a bath of diet coke will clean all the funk out of chain mail in about 30 minutes, so that might be worth a try. Or you could try this http://gometaldetecting.com/electrolysis_cleaning.htm although I recommend a 9 volt battery instead of a 9, 12 or 18 volt DC adapter.

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    vinegar is a mild acid, that ought to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by d.weglarz13 View Post
    Hey guys. Im brand new. I know this thread is kind of old, but i figured it was good info. I used to work with copper gutters all the time, and we all used to use ketchup for this type of thing. And, apparently, everyone seemed to do it, so its worth a shot. Just figured id throw it out there for anyone interested.
    Dave
    so there must be something in the tomato sauce.......the acid. so all I have to do now is throw my copper in a vat of bad tomatoes maybe and let the acid eat away any corrosion? LOL!! The oddest things.............

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    When I burn insulation off wire.
    If its a big lot (5Kg +), I do it outside & let it cool down before returning home to recheck it.

    Its normally black & has charcol & ash in it along with a greasy liquid, I wash it with water & find the water & ash is very acidic & stings the multitude of cuts on my hands.
    Going from that experience, I expect that washing it with a acid containing product (water & vinegar etc etc) isn't going to do much. Its allready acidic anyway.....

    So once thats cleaned off I am now washing it with water & some (small amount) dishwashing powder.
    Its Caustic ( alkaline) & dissolves the oily stuff & rips the 'black' off the copper wire.

    Sometimes the copper goes a 'pinkish' colour & the black stuff, which I think is a Copper oxide of sorts drops to the bottom of the water filled bucket quickly.
    The coppers soft & will break up a bit, I save that stuff anyway, in a pinch I can rewash it & drop it into a copper pipe & close each end. I tell the scrappers what I have done there too. They are OK with it once its explained its still 100% Copper
    .
    I have been saving it up so that one day I can electroplate the copper back out & sell it.
    The percentage weight isn't high but by saving it up I expect to get a bonus $ one day.
    Its all about the recycing. 30Kg +..

    When I do it at home.
    With 1 Lb bunchs of coated wire, I burn it off in my incinerator (Inside fireplace with 'wetback' (yeah I know that words funny to Americans....) that heats up the water cylinder too).
    I just poke it in, let it burn off with as less smoke as possible, then pull it out a bit, bash the ash off & dump it directly into a pail of cold water.
    Theres no oily layer on it too.
    The black just drops off, heat shock I expect, & the copper turns a real nice Gold/Copper colour.
    Its nice & stiff too, crushes up nice & dosn't break up at all.

    So, cleaning copper? Try caustic stuff like dishwashing powder, you only need a spoon full.
    Or burn it in small amounts & 'quickshock' it in cold water.

    Save the polluting black discarded ash, its still worth $ at sometime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eesakiwi View Post
    When I burn insulation off wire.
    If its a big lot (5Kg +), I do it outside & let it cool down before returning home to recheck it.

    Its normally black & has charcol & ash in it along with a greasy liquid, I wash it with water & find the water & ash is very acidic & stings the multitude of cuts on my hands.
    Going from that experience, I expect that washing it with a acid containing product (water & vinegar etc etc) isn't going to do much. Its allready acidic anyway.....

    So once thats cleaned off I am now washing it with water & some (small amount) dishwashing powder.
    Its Caustic ( alkaline) & dissolves the oily stuff & rips the 'black' off the copper wire.

    Sometimes the copper goes a 'pinkish' colour & the black stuff, which I think is a Copper oxide of sorts drops to the bottom of the water filled bucket quickly.
    The coppers soft & will break up a bit, I save that stuff anyway, in a pinch I can rewash it & drop it into a copper pipe & close each end. I tell the scrappers what I have done there too. They are OK with it once its explained its still 100% Copper
    .
    I have been saving it up so that one day I can electroplate the copper back out & sell it.
    The percentage weight isn't high but by saving it up I expect to get a bonus $ one day.
    Its all about the recycing. 30Kg +..

    When I do it at home.
    With 1 Lb bunchs of coated wire, I burn it off in my incinerator (Inside fireplace with 'wetback' (yeah I know that words funny to Americans....) that heats up the water cylinder too).
    I just poke it in, let it burn off with as less smoke as possible, then pull it out a bit, bash the ash off & dump it directly into a pail of cold water.
    Theres no oily layer on it too.
    The black just drops off, heat shock I expect, & the copper turns a real nice Gold/Copper colour.
    Its nice & stiff too, crushes up nice & dosn't break up at all.

    So, cleaning copper? Try caustic stuff like dishwashing powder, you only need a spoon full.
    Or burn it in small amounts & 'quickshock' it in cold water.

    Save the polluting black discarded ash, its still worth $ at sometime.
    Commenting on something like burning copper you may want to consider speaking in the third party, such as a friend of a friend of mine does it this way. Look at how many people get busted from posting facts about themselves on facebook.

  19. #16
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    Oh, double post.... Nah NewZealands "The land of the long white cloud"....

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  21. #17
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    after you burn it throw it, while still hot, in cold water.

  22. #18
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    I'm just wondering why this thread is posted here in the "Scrap Metal Spots" section.

  23. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylinejackjr View Post
    I'm just wondering why this thread is posted here in the "Scrap Metal Spots" section.
    Moved to "Tips and Advice".

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    Did the dish washing soap trick work? I have about 20-30lbs of burnt copper I want to clean. I found it in a old barn this way and its illegal here to do.


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