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How I got clippers covered in copper

"Dusting off" some pruning clippers I noticed much more rust than I expected. I usually maintain tools well but lost track of this pair for a bit, and I guess they suffered from wherever they spent that time. I let it sit in vinegar then scrubbed it with "steel wool" - worked great. The clippers have a bronze hue to them now though, which brought to my attention that the steel wool I used was copper coated and the copper had rubbed off on the clippers. I didn't think much of it and finished the job with that scrubber since that's what I had in stock at the time. Admiring the rust-proof, bronze-hued clippers, I'm happy to be rid of rust but am left wondering if the copper coating will have any significant affect on plants I use these clippers on for propagation activities.

Is this good, bad, or negligible?

At first I shrugged at the clippers now being coated in copper, but then I recalled how copper has great antimicrobical properties which makes it wonderful for doorknobs. Since I use these clippers for propagation purposes, them being coated in antimicrobial didn't necessarily seem like a good thing. Preventing infection - great; preventing growth of new plant tissue - very counter-productive.

On the other hand, copper is a micronutrient many plants use. Could minor doses help newly clipped plant stems?

Ultimately, it's probably negligible, and in the future I'll continue to use whatever "steel wool" variant I have on hand. Still, I want to ask and see if anyone has insight about this here.

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    Are you sure they're not brass steel wool just labeled copper for their color?? – Graham Chiu Feb 8 '18 at 6:27
  • Not 100% but the box the scrubber came in does say copper on the front and "pure copper coating" on the back. tinyurl.com/y9b3cfgl – cr0 Feb 8 '18 at 13:26

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