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Caring for Copper

I have a good amount of collectible Martha by Mail copper cookie cutters that I love to use throughout the year, whether for birthdays or the holidays.  Since these are heirloom pieces for the next generation of bakers in my family, I like to treat them gently in order to maintain their beauty.

A few cutters from my collection.

Copper is wonderfully lustrous when absolutely clean and since it's a rather expensive metal, it should be taken care of properly.  Tarnish is almost always inevitable, but easily manageable if you polish gently & effectively.  I know people who own different types of copper kitchenalia, from pots & pans, to decorative molds and trays; all of these require attention every now and then.  Below, I'll show you how I care for my cookie cutters made of solid copper.

These are Martha by Mail copper leaf canape cutters in the shape of gingko, elm, oak & maple ~ they measure approximately 1 1/4" and were sold under Catalog #KCC001.

Before I begin cookie baking, I inspect my cookie cutters for tarnish.  If they have a few spots here & there, I usually leave them alone and proceed with my baking.  If they're unsightly and covered in tarnish, however, I polish them without the use of any harsh chemical compound or cleaner.  Coarse kosher salt & a wedge of lemon (a wedge, as opposed to a lemon half, is easier to navigate through small bends in the cutters) is all that's needed.

These little cutters definitely need some attention.

Take your lemon wedge & dip the flesh into coarse kosher salt.  Rub the entire cutter with it ~ you may need to dip into the salt a few times ~ until you see the tarnish disappear.  Immediately rinse the cutter under hot water.  Proceed with the rest of your cutters and buff them dry with a clean, cotton towel.  These are the types of kitchen towels I like to use.

Here are two alternative ways to polish your copper.
Click on the link below.
Polishing Copper

Bright & lustrous.

Here's a closeup of the beautiful Martha by Mail logo. 

After I've done this, I begin my cookie baking.  If I happen to be using several cutters that day, I wait until I'm done with all of my baking to wash them again.

 Martha by Mail Noah's Ark Cookie Cutters Set I, Set II & Set III.

After I've finished cutting my cookie doughs, I set my cutters aside.  When my last batch of cookies have come out and my oven has been turned off, I begin removing any stray cookie dough by giving them a quick wash.  Even though the cutters above have been washed & buffed dry, I still like to make sure they're completely bone dry before I store them.

Clean cookie cutters going into the oven.

This is what I do.  I place the cutters on cooling racks set over cookie sheets & place them in my oven.  I usually wait until the oven temperature (notice the oven thermometer in the background?) has fallen below 250° F before I do this.  I close the oven door and leave them in there until the oven  has cooled.  This will ensure that my cutters are absolutely dry before I place them back in their original boxes. 

Now that I've shown you how I polish and care for my copper, don't let a collectible object stop you from enjoying it.  As you already know, I love baking and I love collecting, but what's the point of doing this if I don't use what I have?  Should you already own these cutters or other types of copper kitchenalia, take the time to care for it, because you will be rewarded with years of their lustrous beauty.  Is caring for copper a Good Thing?  I think so.


  1. Have you ever tried vinegar?

  2. I've never tried vinegar, but I hear it works. I have a friend who uses ketchup on his copper pots (he says it works for him!), but I'd rather stick with my lemons.

  3. I have quite a few of the Martha by Mail cookie cutter collections and they have been in a tarnished state forever, now i know what to do with them, thank you :)

  4. Yes!, take them out of storage, clean them up & use them. These are beautiful heirloom cookie cutters. By the way, it is OK to use a polish specially formulated for copper if you really need to clean up a lot of tarnish(you can try Copperbrill by Mauviel sold at Williams Sonoma).


  5. I have christmas ones used only once a year . What is the best way to store them to prevent tarnishing while stored?

    1. The best way to keep your copper cookie cutters from tarnishing is to place them in zip top bags in storage bins or a drawer. The zip top bag prevents exposure to air.


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