Accumulation of debris, organic growth or stains on your copper roof is not unsightly and can also wear it down over time. This is why maintaining the cleanliness of this type of roof needs to be one of your top concerns.

To clean your copper roof, start by sweeping off any loose debris, including leaves, and sticks. For thorough cleaning, prepare a vinegar or lemon and salt solution, apply it to the roof, then rinse after a while. You can also use copper-dedicated cleaning products such as Brasso.

Read on for details and more tips to restore and keep your copper roof finish.

Supplies and Precautions

Cleaning tools

You need the following tools:

  • Soft-bristled push broom,
  • Plastic or Wooden spatula,
  • Lime or lemon juice
  • All-purpose flour,
  • Vinegar,
  • Salt,
  • Stiff non-metallic brush,
  • Chemical-based cleaner.
  • Garden hose
  • Large bucket
  • Scrub brush with stiff, nylon bristles
  • Ladder
  • Polyurethane spray
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Ketchup
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge or soft cloth

Top copper roof cleaners

  • Brasso, which is a chemical-based cleaner.
  • Lemon white vinegar and salt.
  • All-purpose flour, white vinegar, and salt
  • Copper cleaning gel. It does not work well whether there is oil or road grime on the copper
  • A mild solution of bleach and water; should contain 10 percent of bleach.
  • Ammonia
  • Dawn dishwashing agent.

Safety precautions

Make sure you are wearing shoes that are non-slip and have sufficient traction so you can maintain your balance. You might also give rubber-soled shoes a shot. This reduces the potential of slipping and hurting yourself because copper roofs are smooth, increasing the likelihood of slipping and falling.

Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and avoid leaving dark fingerprints on the copper roof.

Use a safety roof rope and belt or harness. If you slip or lose your equilibrium, a harness will stop you from falling off your roof.

Avoid using a stepladder and instead, use a robust extension ladder. In the event that you become imbalanced, a stepladder is prone to tipping.

Prior to climbing or even stepping on the roof, make sure that it is dry. Be sure to have a helper stand at the foot of the ladder to steady it. The helping person can also come in handy, if when on the roof, you realize that you need supplies or equipment from below.

To get your tools or materials to you without having to descend the ladder, you can lower a rope from the roof and have your assistant tie your supplies to the rope.

When extending, avoid leaning outside the ladder. Instead, pull the ladder a few feet to the side and descend it so you can climb it once more and begin working on the subsequent stage. Leaning on the roof increases the risk of falling or damaging the roof, among other hazards.

Further Reading: How to Put a Ladder on a Sloped Roof

Cleaning Leaves and Dust off Copper Roof

This is the first step whenever your cleaning any type of roof. This prepares your roof for other cleaning methods. All you need a soft-bristles roof brush or broom to clean leaves, dust, dirt flecks, or any other kind of debris. It works best on a sunny, dry day without any moisture buildup on the roof. Because it won’t scratch the copper surface. Follow the step below.

  1. Use a steady ladder to get onto the roof.
  2. Position yourself at the high end of the roof.
  3. Use the broom to sweep towards the lower end then towards the gutter and eventually from the roof to the ground.
  4. When you are done with the sweeping, collect the leaves and debris and get rid of them.

Using Natural Ingredients to Clean Copper Roofs

It is also possible to use natural ingredients at home to clean your copper roof.

Lemon and Salt

The citric acid present in lemon juice reacts with the tarnish on the copper roof, to break its link with the copper’s surface. In the mixture, salt works as a gentle abrasive to brush away the tarnish without harming the metal’s surface.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Sweep the dust and debris off the roof with a broom with soft bristles.
  2. In a small bowl, create a paste. Make a paste out of two parts salt and three parts lemon juice to do this. More salt should be added if the paste is too thin.
  3. Spread the paste across the copper roof with a sponge. Utilizing a soft-bristled scrubbing brush, gently clean the surface while moving in small circles. A bristled brush with stiff bristles could damage the roof. If the paste is not thick enough, add more.
  4. Apply the paste to any tarnish-heavy difficult stains and let them sit for five to ten minutes before scrubbing.
  5.  You might also split a fresh lemon in half and scrub the badly discolored portions with it after dipping them in table salt.
  7. When the copper roof is clear of tarnish, while you are still scouring, rinse the cleansed area with a garden hose. As the liquid runs off the roof, it can assist remove further staining from the lower sections. Because some minerals in regular tap water can react with copper, distilled water should be used instead. Avoid using your bare hands to touch the clean roof, since the oils from your skin can stain it.
  8. Allow the roof to dry.

All-Purpose Flour and Vinegar

To use this do the following:

  1. In a big bucket, combine one part flour, one part vinegar, and one part salt to make a paste. Create a paste in a quantity sufficient to cover your entire roof.
  2. Spread the paste across the roof with a sponge.
  3. Let it dry for at least six hours or throughout the course of the night.
  4. Use warm water and a dishwashing solution to wash the paste off the roof in the morning.
  5. Rinse the roof once more in warm, clear water to remove all the soap residue and debris.
  6. To make the roof shine, buff it with a fresh, soft flannel cloth.


Citric acid (which is present in the tomatoes that make ketchup)and vinegar are both ingredients in ketchup). The copper tarnish reacts with the vinegar and citric acid, breaking their link with the copper.

Follow these instructions to use ketchup to clean a copper roof:

  1. Spread the ketchup paste over the copper using a sponge. Alternatively, you can drip some ketchup right onto the copper roof.
  2. To remove the tarnish, scrape in small circular motions with a sponge.
  3. Ketchup can be used as a mild abrasive cleaning by adding a small amount of baking soda to remove the tenacious tarnish.
  4. Remove the paste or ketchup by rinsing with warm water. The copper roof should be dried with a lint-free dish towel before being polished with a second dry towel.

How to Clean Copper Roof with Brasso

While Brasso is mostly used to clean tarnished, oily, and unclean metal fixtures around your house, you can use for your roof, especially if small sections an not the whole roof. It is an easy-to-use and safe non-corrosive product that is available in liquid form.

Brasso Copper Cleaner, polish

By abrasion and disintegration, it removes tarnish from copper. Furthermore, it combines the tarnishing substance with ammonia complexes, which are corrosive and addicting, and then eliminates them more easily than pure tarnish would.

Here are the steps to follow when cleaning copper using brasso:

  1. Start at the top of your roof and spread a thick layer of it there using soft flannel cloths.
  2. A minimum of six hours should pass without direct sunshine for it to dry.
  3. Put on some smooth old leather gloves once it dries to a white powdery finish, then buff the entire surface from top to bottom with a clean flannel cloth to get rid of all the powdery residue.
  4. To remove cleanser from crevices and around edges, use a soft toothbrush.
  5. Put a layer of polyurethane on the copper roof once it has recovered its gloss so that it won’t oxidize once more.
  6. Every two to three years, you need to recoat it.

An alternative to Brasso is Wright’s Copper and Brass Polish and Cleaner Cream.

Copper cleaner and restoration cream
Wright’s Cream

This cream does the following

  • Restoration – Brings your copper back to its original beauty by erasing the discoloration
  • Protect – Leave behind a protective coating that prevents tarnish
  • Long-Lasting Shine – Formulated with the finest ingredients that keep your copper and other metals beautiful for years to come

How to Clean a Copper Roof without Removing the Finish?

  1. Remove as many leaves and other loose items as you can. This prevents you from making a muddy mess on the roof. Use a broom to sweep off the leaves and loose items present. 
  2. To one part coarse salt, add three parts lemon juice. This implies that two cups of coarse salt are required for every six cups of lemon juice.
  3. Apply the lemon cleaning solution to your roof and scrub it. While the patina is unaffected, the salt will remove dirt. The lemon juice will make your roof’s surface appear more vibrant. You can use the scrub brush  to remove difficult filth and buildup, or you can scrub while standing up using the push broom and frequently immersing it in the solution.
  4. Periodically rinse off the roof while you clean to check your progress.
  5. To remove the salt and the loosening dirt, use clean distilled water from a garden hose to rinse the roof. Move from one end of the roof to the other (right to left) to avoid ever standing on the wet area of your roof.
  6. Dry the roof. On a clear day, the copper ought to dry rapidly. Water evaporation takes roughly 30 minutes.
  7. Use a polyurethane spray to protect your freshly cleaned roof. This prevents your roof from becoming drab and dusty again so soon and will shield the patina from deterioration.

Using ammonia, you can  clean a copper roof without damaging the finish.

Follow these steps:

  1. In a bowl or a bucket, combine ammonium chloride crystals, copper sulfate, or ammonium sulfate.
  2. Mixture should also contain water and a strong ammonia solution.
  3. Use a lint free cloth to wipe the copper roof with this solution.
  4. Using distilled water, rinsing

Copper Roof Restoration

Muriatic acid’s robust molecular structure and relative resistance to oxidation and reduction make it suitable for cleaning copper. The copper’s surface is oxidized, but the acid can react with it without weakening as a result of the reaction.

The outcome is total elimination of the oxidized material, leaving only pure copper that the muriatic acid cannot react with because the oxygen has been used up during the cleaning process.

Follow the steps below to use this acid to restore copper:

  1. Utilize modest amounts of diluted muriatic acid and test its potency on discrete copper roof locations till you find the strength that is ideal for your roof.
  2. If you leave the acid on for an excessively long time, the copper won’t be harmed.
  3. Wearing gloves and applying the acid to the roof with a soft sponge requires strength, which you will eventually gain.
  4. Spend roughly five minutes letting it sit.
  5. To neutralize the acid and put an end to the chemical reaction, thoroughly rinse the roof with clean water and baking soda.
  6. Lacquer the surface. to produce the sparkling appearance of the roof.

Caring for Copper Roofs

There are several ways to care for copper roofs properly. They are as follows:

As it increases chances of  losing the protective patina, avoid using abrasive or harsh chemical cleaners on a copper roof. To prevent scratching or other damage to the copper, it is crucial to keep this coating in place.

Avoid applying a chemical sealer on the roof as another issue. It can  be necessary to do routine maintenance and monitoring after using a sealant, and this work must be done carefully to prevent harm.

At the very least, a yearly inspection or post-storm inspection is necessary. Clear away any debris that might collect over the winter or after a rainstorm.

In addition to ensuring that there is no damage from falling branches or other things behind the garbage, clearing it out will allow the patina creation process to move around the roof evenly.

Always apply a polyurethane spray or paint roll to a freshly cleaned roof to prevent it from quickly becoming dingy and unclean again.

Ensure to always pour some water on the copper and let it stay to make the copper wet first. Then wash off the copper with water containing 10% of bleach solution.

Ask your contractors to handle the copper with gloves on, and put them on before touching it. Solvent wipe after finishing all of the cleaning and neutralizing.

As soon as you notice tarnish starting to emerge, clean the copper roof.

Trim the long branches and twigs from the trees that surround your home. The branches could scuff the roof or possibly fall on it.

You can use lemon juice and lacquer polish to maintain the roof’s bright appearance.

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