I would like to start using pure copper beads and findings, but I'm not sure about whether or not they can be cleaned at all, and if so, how? What about copper plated items?
Pure copper can be cleaned with Empire's instant tarnish remover. Dip your copper beads and findings in the liquid for one or two seconds. Then remove from the dip and immediately rinse under running water. This solution is excellent for removing tarnish from sterling silver and brass as well.
There is also a home-made cleaning paste you can make. Combine 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup white vinegar and enough white flour to create a thin paste. Coat your beads with this paste and allow the paste to sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse under running water. Repeat the process if needed, or if a heavier layer of tarnish exists, leave the paste on for up to one hour. Rinse under running water when finished.
You may use these procedures on copper-plated items as well, but cleaning should be kept to a minimum in order to avoid wearing away the copper plating.