Copper Mug Varieties & How to Clean and Care for Yours

Louise McLoughlinArticles, Bar Talk

Different kinds of copper mugs:

Copper mugs are stylish, functional, steeped in history, and getting more popular by the day. But, before you become the proud owner of one (or six!) there are a few things to think about before you buy.

Copper mugs come in lots of varieties. The most popular and well-known styles of copper mug are:

All of these options make beautiful additions to any bar or home, and it all comes down to what style you find most aesthetically pleasing. Many bars stock a mix of a few different kinds. The copper can also be personalized with a stamped initial, message or logo. Stamping makes copper mugs feel even more unique, and makes them great gift ideas too.

Despite the name, these days copper mugs are not made entirely of copper. Often, handles are made with another metal, such as brass, to stop the temperature from transferring from the drink into the handle, and vice versa.

Copper mugs are also lined on the inside with nickel, or less commonly another metal such as steel or tin. This interior coating is important as you consider which mug to buy. According to, without this lining copper can leak from the mug into the drink and build up in your system. Although copper is found naturally in the human body, high levels can be dangerous. According to safety also depends on the drink’s temperature. Moscow Mules (the original drink to be served in a copper mug) are meant to be served icy cold, so that shouldn’t be an issue, but hot drinks are said to accelerate copper leakage into a drink. While most people agree that drinking a cold drink from an unlined copper mug once every now and again isn’t going to do lasting damage, if you’re planning to use your mugs a lot then lined is the way to go.

If you’re buying your mugs in person make sure that this lining has not been compromised and doesn’t have imperfections. However, don’t get too caught up on worrying about lining – almost every copper mug is lined these days, and 100% copper mugs are pretty hard to come by. Lining shouldn’t make your quest for a perfect mug more difficult, but if you’re worried just ask the seller to make sure!

How to clean and care for your copper mugs:

So, you’ve finally bought your dream copper mugs, and now you have to keep them looking great! As copper mugs can cost $20 – $30 each they’re an investment worth looking after properly, and with proper care they can last for a long time. With that said, copper can be awkward to care for and to clean, and your copper mugs should never be put in the dishwasher – hand washing with soap and warm water is the way to go. After each use make sure to clean your mug straight away as leaving a drink sitting in the mug can tarnish the metal. Avoid scratchy spongers, and dry the mug gently with a soft cloth. Overall TLC is the way to go when it comes to copper mugs!

However, while the soap and water method is the best way to clean your mugs on a regular basis, if your mugs need a particularly good clean from time to time here are a few natural solutions, suggested by

  • Vinegar and salt, for stripping tarnish and removing debris
  • Lemon Juice and Baking Soda (you can add salt to this one too, if you want)
  • Ketchup

Simply rub the natural solution over the mug, let sit for a minute or two then wash away for a shining mug that looks great sitting on any table or bar!

Similar to when you are purchasing your mug for the first time, make sure to keep an eye on your lining – it should not be peeling away or have spots missing. However, a small amount of wear is expected, and a small scratch or two shouldn’t be an issue.

For more information on copper mugs and how they originated see Past and Present: The Moscow Mule and its Iconic Copper Mug