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The Pros of Copper
Ease of maintenance. It may sound surprising, but copper is relatively simple to clean. A mixture of lemon juice and salt will scour it well (be sure to rinse afterward), but you can also get by with warm water and a squirt of ordinary dish soap. Dry the surface thoroughly and wax or oil it periodically to keep it in the best possible shape.
Mellow patina. Considered a "living" surface, copper tarnishes as it oxidizes and reacts to the substances that cross it. For many, that's part of its appeal. Unsealed copper will gradually dull and transition to a blend of matte reds, browns and greens, which a lot of homeowners appreciate for the character it adds.
Germ resistance. Some — but not all — copper alloys have natural antimicrobial properties. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates this claim and requires manufacturers to register antimicrobial copper products, so check with the EPA if you want to ensure that your copper countertop (like these along the perimeter of this kitchen) will resist bacteria.
Versatility. Copper is a chameleon — it can take on a variety of personalities to suit your space. It feels as appropriate in a modern townhouse or an industrial loft as it does in a traditional kitchen or a comfortable cottage.
The Cons of Copper
Discoloration. This is the flip side of the pretty patina that copper develops. If you're attached to the new-penny look of shiny copper, you'll have to be diligent about resealing. Check out examples of aged copper countertops to determine if or how much you'll still like them years down the road.