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Question DetailsAsked on 5/23/2016

What harm (if any) will epsom salts have on my copper tub?

i want to order a hammered copper tub. I often take Epsom salt baths. I understand residue with salts, however I am a cleaner/wipe down my tubs after use. My concern is, will it destroy the copper? Thanks!

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Voted Best Answer

Considering that magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) are the chemical (along with acid) used to create copper sulfate, I would expect severe tarnishing - turning green - of the copper. Because the water is not in the tub for a long time it will probably not etch away much of the metal, but will likely form dramatic green and blackish tarnish that will require strong chemical to remove, and which can also leave staining on your skin.

I would ask the manufacturer - but I bet they will say DON'T for two reasons:

1) risk of tarnishing

2) risk of it getting in under the protective coating (many copper tubs actually have a clear coat finish on them to prevent normal tarnishing from air contact) which could result in unsightly tarnish under the protective coat which would NOT be removed or prevented by your wiping-down after each bath.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Ah - found my properties of metals dictionary - the corrosion product, which for normal epsom salts concentration (assuming none is left in the bottom of the tub after the bath) should be mild or relatively slow-growing, is a powdery white coating with blue-green splotches in it, which requires a mild to moderate acid or highly abrasive (obviously not suitable for your tub) scouring powder to dissolve to polish off.

Certainly, while it will probably take a LONG time and LOTS of exposure to "destroy" the tub, I would expect noticeable surface polish deterioration in quick order, and gradual development of copper patina and sulfate coating over time unless unduly harsh (for that type of tub) chemical or abrasive cleanign in used.

But again - contact the manufacturer about its effect on the metal, and on any clear coat they put over the copper.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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