One of the things I learned when I visited the Lavender Hill Farm -- and the thing in the post that so many readers commented on -- was that they cleaned their large lavender still with catsup.
They also mentioned using lemon and salt, which I had done, but the catsup was new to me -- and to you, too. So, I decided to try it!
I gathered my supplies -- catsup (generic store-brand) and paper toweling -- and a dirty piece of copper, which I did wash first. I did decide to include Kosher salt as well.
This is the back of that piece. It's a copper plate that my mom had found on a trip to Mexico with my aunt, back in the early 1970s.
I decided I'd start with the back, just in case it really messed things up! But I knew I would never get the middle of the plate shined or even clean, despite the soap and water. Too damaged. But the edges made for a good test.
The catsup did affect it. But what really helped was adding kosher salt, which gave the mixture some "tooth" and grit and helped remove the tarnish.
That seemed to work so I did the front. This is the result.
The short answer is yes, it works. It works well, probably as well as lemon and salt and much less expensive and less messy. ($1.79 for catsup and a handful of salt vs. several fresh lemons at .79 each, and lots of leftover peels.)
The bigger question is "Do I like it?" And the answer is -- I'm not sure. I like, even prefer, the patina of copper after it has aged a bit. Overly bright copper feels too "new" and a little too gaudy for my taste. And this seems a little bright for me. I might feel differently with hanging molds or certain pieces. Or, after I live with this for a bit. But after doing the bottom of one of my copper teapots, I decided to think about this a bit.
That said, it's a good method and a reasonably priced one. So, if shiny copper is in your plan, give this one a try!