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Tips and Tricks to Clean and Polish Household Metals

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Metal fixtures, fittings and accessories take up ample room in our households. From sinks to statues, jewellery to doorknobs you can find a ready example anywhere you look. However, time and use can cause these attractive pieces to dull and tarnish with time. So if you’re looking for some handy solutions to making your steel shine and your brass cleaner we’ve got some easy remedies you can find right at your fingertips.

Tips and Tricks to Clean and Polish Household Metals

WD-40

Everyone has a can of this multi-purpose lubricant in their garage or under the kitchen sink. But did you know the many uses of the spray extend to polishing and finishing all sorts of metals. Try it out yourself; find a brass fitting in your house that’s become tarnished. Detach the plastic tubing from your can and attach it to the nozzle. Spray a small amount onto a soft, clean cloth; and rub into the dull brass with a continuous circular motion.  You’ll find yourself amazed to see it working as an effective brass cleaner. Wiping away years of accumulated dirt and grime to get your metal looking as good as new.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Solution

A home based remedy that can prove quite effective in removing dirt from metal is baking soda mixed with vinegar. From science experiments at school, most of us will know, that mixing these two ingredients together results in a fizzing paste that works wonders on miniature volcanoes.

Coat your fixture or surface with a good dollop of your treatment after its stopped bubbling. Then wait to let the acid eat through the layers of accumulated grime. Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the mixture against the metal – allowing the small soda particles to rub away the loosened dirt. This treatment is inexpensive and mild enough not to scratch or damage your metal. Once you’ve completed the process, wipe the mixture off with a damp cloth, then dry. When you’ve gotten your steel or brass cleaner, you can apply the final touches by spraying on some WD-40. After a few minutes, you can buff the material out to let it shine.

Lemon Juice

Lemon works similarly to vinegar due to its acidic properties; you can use it in various ways depending on the task at hand.

For mild daily use, cut half a lemon and sprinkle on some common salt. You can rub this over the surface of any metal to clear away superficial dirt and grime. Once well applied, wipe away with a dry cloth. While this remedy won’t do any heavy lifting it will certainly work as a superficial steel and brass cleaner.

For more thorough cleaning, two parts tartar sauce to one part lemon juice will form a thick paste which you can use to coat heavily tarnished metals. Let the paste work for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water and drying. For the final polish, you can once again apply WD-40 and rub in smoothly.

Prevention and Protection

Many items and furnishings see daily use, and with constant contact, the polish you worked so hard to achieve can be wiped away in a few months. For centre pieces and other decorations we definitely recommend limiting the amount of handling they receive, but brass doorknobs and fittings might not be as easy to secure.

These objects are usually sealed off against damage by applying a layer of protective coating, a couple of different methods can be applied here.

Paint

A common coating used for wood and less aesthetic metals, a thick coat can hold for a few years and save your metal from the worst effects of corrosion. However paint itself is vulnerable to damage, often chipping and staining exposing the underlying surface to the elements again. It will also destroy the aesthetic of attractive metals such as brass and steel, in these cases, a different corrosion inhibitor might be required.

Lubricant

For metals with parts that move which undergo heavy use, a lubricant such as WD-40 is a more effective corrosion inhibitor. It won’t crack or peel when dry and it preserves the look of more expensive pieces. While occasional reapplications might be required, you may find this to be a better solution overall.

Pots, Pans and Utensils

Whether its cast iron pots, stainless steel pans or brass and copper crockery we can find metals that meet most of our daily use in the kitchen.

The first step in cleaning our cookware is familiar to anyone who’s done the dishes. Wash the metal with hot water and soap making sure to remove any grease coating the cooking surface. Once you’re satisfied that you can make contact with bare metal, it’s time to start scrubbing. Popular wisdom goes against using brillo pads and steel wool as these can leave scratches and abrasions all over a smooth surface. So if a simple scratch pad isn’t doing the job we have a few other options for getting those stubborn burnt bits and stains out.

Pour a cup or two of water into your pan, covering the bottom, drop in a few tablespoons of vinegar or lemon then bring your mixture to the boil. Add in any other dirty utensils you have in there to get your stainless steel knives or brass cleaner. Slosh the mixture around for about 15 minutes then throw out the result, you should be left with a clear surface that’s easily scrubbed down. If any residue remains, repeat the process again a couple of times before until you’re satisfied.

All That Glitters isn’t just Gold

Using everyday household materials and a can of WD-40 you too can find your home sparkling again.  So bust out the plastic gloves and lemon slices and be prepared to get to work making your steel, copper, aluminium and brass cleaner than ever before.

Disclaimer

The uses shown and described for WD-40 Multi-Use Product were provided to WD-40 Company by the users themselves. These uses haven’t been tested by WD-40 Company and do not constitute a recommendation of suggestion for use by WD-40 Company. Common sense should be exercised whenever using WD-40 Company products. Always follow the instructions and take heed of any warnings printed on the packaging.

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