Monday, 16 July 2012

Cleaning Metal

Cleaning metal is not one of my favourite activities...(but it becomes palatable on a soggy afternoon when there's something good on the radio).


I usually opt for the laziest way possible. If it's silver, I use this method...


Line a plastic container with foil (shiny side facing up). Fill with warm water & a tablespoon or two of soda crystals. Place the metal item in & watch as the oxidised metal reacts with the solution & transfers to the foil...Leave for about 30 seconds, remove, rinse & buff dry. This works really well with silver jewellery (but will ruin anything plated & isn't a good idea for stones set in silver).

Pewter is the easiest because it just needs soapy water, a rinse & a good buff!

Sometimes more energy & lots of cleaning rags are required. If I have a really mucky copper or brass object, I scrub it with a paste of lemon juice & table salt. (Alternatively use lemon & bicarbonate of soda or vinegar & salt- don't use vinegar & bicarbonate of soda because it'll just turn to foam). It's messy but very effective. (Door handles are easy because they can be done with the hull of a lemon sprinkled with table salt). Rinse thoroughly to get rid of the acidic lemon & then buff dry.

Then, for a good shine, I'll always end up with Brasso...


Does anybody have any other tips for cleaning metal?


P.S. The door handle is not in our house! If you do have good quality metal objects here's a cleaning site that might be more useful...

11 comments:

marigold jam said...

A trip down memory lane here but they've changed the tins of Brasso they used to have a much smaller lid! Like you cleaning brass or silver is not something I do often but it can be very satisfying to see your things all shining after an afternoon's rubbing. I like to use an old toothbrush with Brasso for anything with engraving. Need some gloves and/or good handcream afterwards though!

Su said...

Interesting. I've not used soda crystals (for that) but have used a paste of bicarb, that works well.

Soda crystals are also good for removing moss from paths etc, just sprinkle them down and wait a few days, then brush off - doddle!

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

And there was me misguidedly getting all excited about your door furniture!

As a student I spent a summer waitressing in the silver service restaurant of an hotel. We had to clean the silver every day, it put me off for life!

litlove said...

I thought I couldn't place that door handle! I do have some silver jewellery in a very sad state, though, so ought to have a go with the soda crystals (which I've never tried). My son loves his chemistry, perhaps I could trick him into cleaning by suggesting it's a cool experiment??

Gillian said...

I always do my silver in Silvo but I hate the stuff, it stinks and I always wear rubber gloves when I do it. I will try your method next time I think.

I have a platinum wedding and engagement ring and i do those with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush and fairy liquid. Scrub, dry and buff. Works a treat. Not sure if a jeweller would approve! Some else told me vodka and gin is good for jewellery. Seems like a waste to me...

Mrs. Micawber said...

I have one little saucepan with a copper bottom, and if anything starchy boils over from it, the copper is instantly clean and shiny where the drips were (if that makes any sense). I've never been able to work out exactly why - but I wonder if rubbing with a cut potato would do the same?

We have a product called Nevr-Dull which works wonders on all kinds of metal. It comes in a tin filled with a cottony wadding which is impregnated with the polishing medium - you pull off as much as you need for the job at hand.

Betty said...

I have to clean my very old and rusty (Freecycle) chiminea - I have heard that a spray with WD40 and a good scrub with wire wool will do it - it will be very hard work - do you know of a better method? If not, will have to brace myself and do it next week! I hope it will then be possibile to paint with specialist high temp paint (ha ha, messy job no doubt).

Betty said...

p.s. I soak my jewellery in coca cola to get a sparkle.

Rachel said...

My jewellery-designer aunt cleaned my engagement ring with washing up liquid and boiling water. Soak briefly, scrub with an old toothbrush, rinse and dry.

Calico Kate said...

A soak in coke is a god one - but what on earth does it do to ones insides!
As a child it was my job each year just before Christmas to polish all the silver and brass bits & candle sticks etc. that we used in decorations or just around and about at the time of year. Brasso up to my eyeballs! Still feels right to do it at that time of year but not at this!
CKx

Thrifty Household said...

Brasso to me means summer- cup of tea, garden, piles of messy rags, birds singing, drizzle turning to rain, newspaper flapping, heading inside quickly before you get drenched- about sums up this summer so far!
Hadn't thought about the coca-cola method but it cleans coins really well so why not?!
I'd clean iron with wire wool/metal brush & then WD40 it and/or paint- I need to tackle a garden chair with this method but am blaming the rain for my inactivity & general reluctance to get started!

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