Caring for Martha by Mail Copper Cookie Cutters


Copper is a natural metal that has a lovely pinky-orange sheen to it. When polished it has a mirror-like surface. When exposed to oxygen the copper begins to make a pattina. The color of the patina ranges from dark green to the lovely verdegris of the Statue of Liberty. The patina is an oxidization of the copper in response to moisture in the environment. One way to protect copper is to keep it in an oxygen-depleted place, or to put a protective coating on it such as wax. (This was typically done with cookware.)

This page from the Martha by Mail New Year 1999 catalog shows the beauty of copper in the kitchen. The tea kettle on the stove is a Simplex and is available in copper too!

Caring for Copper

Customers received a paper insert with their Martha by Mail cookie cutters that gave instructions to clean their cookie cutters with a lemon wedge dipped in salt. Then wash and completely dry. (Water is also damaging to copper if left to dry on it.) Martha also says to use Red Bear powdered cleaner.

Here my Mighty Acorn and Sugar Squirrel MBM cookie cutters await a polish after being used to make pecan shortbread fall cookies.  It seems like they only need polishing about once a year. It would be less if they were not on display.

However, if you have copper that has a crust of verdigris on it, or heavy patina spots the lemon and salt can only do so much. I actually scratched a cookie cutter up pretty badly because table salt wasn’t working in this method so I used coarse sea salt. My cutter got clean, but did not have the lovely mirror-like surface anymore! Since I purchase all my cutters second-hand form E-Bay they come in all kinds of conditions! I’ve even had to take pliers and gently bend back the cutter part where it had been dropped and pushed in at some point. (This is very easy to do, but protect the surface of your copper from the pliers with a soft cloth.)

After months of research I finally decided to try a commercial paste called Copperbrill. Since Copperbrill is kind of expensive and not easy to find (Williams-Sonoma carries it and of course, Amazon) I wanted to see if there was anything else out there. There wasn’t. So, I finally bought some and decided to try it. I will never go back to anything else again! It takes 85% of damage right off and it you keep scrubbing most damage can be removed. I am always very pleased with how easy it is to use and how well it really works. Copperbrill is made by the Mauviel Copper Cookware company to specifically clean copper cookware. Unfortunately, I could not find anything about whether or not it was food safe so I am very careful to wash my cutters after polishing them.

The most magical thing I have ever bought on Amazon!

In a year I have only used 1/2 of the small jar. I had cleaned all of my cutters in that time (about 20) at least once. It is truly an amazing product that is helping me take care of my home and make it a happy place for everyone. Our cookie cutters decorate our butler’s pantry and kitchen, so they are on display all the time. If they were not, I would pack them in zipper bags and store them sealed so they would not get tarnished.


1. First wash and rinse your cutters in warm water. This really helps the polish work. I use an old baby bottle brush by Avent to get into all the crannies.
2. Get a swipe of the polish on the sponge that comes in the jar. A little goes a long way.
3. Use the sponge to your advantage- get the polish in every space! Scrub with the sponge on harder to clean spots.



4. Don’t forget the back! A lot of times there is water patina there because people let their cutter dry on a drainboard. Also, water can leak out of the folds of the copper in the handle and cause patina. You will be amazed at how fast your copper will be restored.


5. Some tarnish or water stains will have to be srcubbed more diligently. Sometimes these aren’t seen until you rinse. Just get more polish and scrub again!
6. Rinse and check to see if you need to polish other areas, then rinse and wash with dish soap. The beauty of the copper is now shining through and is not dulled by oxidation!
7. Now your cookie cutter is lovely again! The copper is reflective again- that turquoise reflection is my Pyrex bowl on the opposite counter!
8. Shake as much water as you can from your cutter. You don’t want any water hiding in the handle to hurt your cutter.
9. Dry THOROUGHLY! Any water left behind will damage the surface of your copper faster than the air. The flux that is used to join the back to the the cutter will not be the same color as the copper.
10. Display and enjoy until next year!




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