Good Question: Is My Vintage Copper Kettle Safe to Use?

We have a friend who owns a beautiful vintage copper kettle. It was passed down through the family and it sits in her kitchen now - it's just beautiful! She avoids using it, however, because the inside has some deposits and buildup.

She is not sure if the kettle is safe to use, and if it is, how to clean it. See our thoughts below, along with a photo of the kettle's interior, and if you have experience cleaning a copper kettle or pans, please pitch in your thoughts!

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First off, the inside of this kettle does not look it is copper. The inside is probably similar to the kettle that Shayna asked a question about recently:

How Do I Clean My Vintage Kettle?

Shayna received many ideas on how to clean her kettle (it smelled like Chanel #5 and old apartment! Eww.). These included a light scrubbing with gentle steel wool, Bon Ami, Barkeeper's friend, a vinegar and salt rinse, and a scrub with lemons and salt. You can see Shayna's great results here:

Shayna De-Stinks a Vintage Kettle

We would recommend a similar approach here for our friend. First check for cracks and any real degradation of the interior. If it's cracked or if the inside finish has chipped we probably wouldn't use the kettle for cooking or boiling water. But if it's as tight as it looks here we would gently scrub it to remove the large deposits of hard water and other calcification on the inside bottom. Then we would clean gently and naturally with a vinegar simmer and scrub out with lemons and salt.

Any other thoughts?

(All images: Faith Hopler)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.