How to Clean Copper Mugs

How to Clean Copper Mugs

Copper mugs can be a great accent addition to a kitchen. These attractive cups, sometimes known as “Moscow mule mugs,” are great for serving the signature cocktail, the Moscow mule, and other classics. But copper mugs usually require some specific care. Here are some of the recommendations for cleaning copper mugs between uses, in order to make sure they are sanitary for every customer, while safely keeping your mugs in better condition.

The Moscow Mule Mug

The Moscow mule, a cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, is taking off in a big way; according to the New York Times, Moscow mule menu placements rose 60% in 2015 alone. Bars and restaurants often serve this drink in a copper mug, which keeps it neatly chilled for a refreshing effect. Add plenty of ice! With that said, copper mugs aren't just ‘Moscow mule’ mugs – any similar cocktail can do the trick. How about a refreshing mojito, with its sugar and mint iciness, or a classic gin and tonic? In general, copper mugs are popular because they insulate both hot and cold drinks. You can serve a hot coffee in a copper mug for better warm-ups on a cold winter night, or serve a refreshing iced tea in a copper mug for relief from the summer heat. In any case, it's helpful to know how to maintain these special mugs if your bar is filling up every night.

Lined and Unlined Copper Mugs

When you're learning about the ins and outs of taking care of copper mugs, it's helpful to know that there are two kinds of products available. Some restaurants and bars use unlined copper mugs, but most use copper mugs with a lining. The interior lining can be an alloy or some other type of material.

Usually, the lining protects the drinker from being exposed to copper, and seals out any toxicity. It's a little confusing, because unlined copper mugs are also found in some bars and restaurants. There's not a lot of concern about drinking from these mugs, but some experts do suggest there might be a bit of risk involved for some people, if they have a special sensitivity to copper. In either case, though, many experts agree these mugs should not be run through the dishwasher (for example, see this article from Mashed about how the mugs can get discolored or improperly worn).

The Dangers of Dishwashing Copper Mugs

One issue with washing Moscow mule mugs or other copper mugs is that they can become scratched as they are bundled to or from your commercial dishwasher. Beyond that, the lined copper mugs can experience a good deal of wear as the dishwasher exposes them to high heat and high-pressure. Then, sometimes, the lining starts to crack or come apart over time. For these reasons, the best way to care for copper mugs is to hand-wash them with mild soap and a soft sponge.

Training new staff on hand-washing protocol will help keep your kitchen running smoothly, even with the extra care given to your copper mugs. In addition to providing excellent options for serving hot and cold drinks, copper mugs also look on the shelf or elsewhere in your kitchen.

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