Bringing Back Shine to Copper

Statue of Liberty with its surface made of copper and its transition from the original (an artist’s reproduction of how it would have looked like in 1886, left) to its transition state (middle) to the latest image (right). Adapted from


This unit uses the context of cleaning of copper surfaces using common cleaning agents to learn about the chemical properties of materials.

Materials Required

Task 1: Small sized tarnished or dull copper items (plates/strips), vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, table salt, tamarind (imli) juice, liquid detergent, detergent powder, coal or wood ash, curd, sand paper (zero grade) etc.

Task 2: Tarnished copper plates/strips, hand gloves, used toothbrush, watch glass/ saucer, droppers and small spoons/spatulas, water. Three or four of these cleaning agents: Talcum powder, baking soda, detergent powder, sand (or white rangoli powder), dry soil, common salt, ash.

Task 3: Solid cleaning agents used in Task 2, and any two or three of the cleaning agent from this list: vinegar, lemon juice, curd and tamarind (imli) juice, used toothbrush, watch glass/ saucer etc.

Task 4: Three to four of each of the solid and liquid cleaning agents (as used in tasks 2 and 3), litmus papers (red and blue), turmeric powder or turmeric paper, watch glass (or saucer), droppers and small spoons/spatula.ellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

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