How to Polish Metal at Home

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Though there are many polishing products for metal on the market, you can polish household metals such as brass, copper and silver to almost new using products you have around the house. If your metal is lacquered, then polishing is simple with a clean, damp and soft cloth. For many homeowners, the metal needing a good polishing is not lacquered and covered with a layer of tarnish. For these items, it's important to safely remove the discoloration before polishing to achieve the best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Table salt
  • White vinegar
  • Plastic tub
  • Plastic spoon
  • Flour
  • Clean rags
  • Clean, soft cloths
  • Lemon
  • Baking soda
  • Dish-washing liquid
  • Aluminum foil
  • Washing soda
  • Rubber gloves

Brass

  • Add 1 tsp. of salt to 1/2 cup of vinegar in a plastic tub. Stir with the plastic spoon until it dissolves.

  • Add enough flour to the vinegar solution -- gradually, as you stir with the plastic spoon -- to make a paste.

  • Rub the paste over the entire surface of the brass with a clean rag. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

  • Rinse the paste off the brass with water. Buff and polish the metal with a clean, soft cloth until it shines.

Copper

  • Add enough baking soda to the juice from 1/2 lemon -- gradually, as you stir with the plastic spoon -- to make a paste.

  • Dip a clean rag into the paste and apply it to the copper piece. Rub it in a circular motion to remove tarnish.

  • Rinse the residue off with water. Buff and polish the metal with a clean, soft cloth until it shines.

Stainless Steel

  • Add 2 cups of white vinegar to a plastic tub. Immerse your metal item in the liquid. Let it soak it for 30 minutes.

  • Make a soapy solution with hot water and dish-washing liquid in the sink. Rinse away the vinegar with the solution, followed by cold water.

  • Buff and polish the metal with a clean, soft cloth until it shines.

Silver

  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil, shiny side up, in the bottom of a plastic tub.

  • Place your items in the tub, ensuring that each piece touches the foil or another item that touches the foil.

  • Sprinkle 1/4 cup of washing soda over the silver items. Pour in 1 gallon of boiling water.

  • Stir the solution with the plastic spoon to dissolve the soda. Let the silver soak for 15 minutes.

  • Put on rubber gloves and remove the silver pieces from the solution.

  • Rinse the solution off the silver with water. Buff and polish the metal with a clean, soft cloth until it shines.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prevent stainless steel from tarnishing by rinsing the pieces immediately after each use.
  • Opt for a metal polishing compound available at most hardware stores instead of a household solution. Follow the manufacturer's directions to polish your metal.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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