Things You'll Need
Chemical paint remover
#0000 steel wool pads
Like any other metal with a polished surface, cast iron dulls over time. Small scratches from wear, dirt and even rust can combine to create a surface that's worn and old looking. Restoring the metal is possible through a thorough cleaning followed by a quick surface polish. Polishing your cast iron gives it a shine that sets off the beauty of the material, highlighting the detail of the casting and enhancing its decorative uses. It also leaves behind a protective coating that helps to prevent the dulling damage from reoccurring, keeping your cast iron objects looking fresh and clean through years of use.
Place the cast iron object onto a drop cloth, then clean off any dirt or debris with a wire brush and a soap and water solution. Get all the detailed areas clean, removing everything covering the iron down to the bare metal. Rinse the iron object with clean water to remove soapy residue.
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Remove any traces of an existing finish on the object by brushing on a chemical paint remover. Allow the remover to sit in place for the amount of time the manufacturer recommends, then wipe the remover off with a piece of cloth. Rinse the object with water again and allow it to dry completely.
Apply a dollop of metal polish, about a quarter's size in diameter, to the surface of a #0000 steel wool pad. Spread the polish over the cast iron surface, rubbing it onto the metal firmly until the entire surface is covered. Use a small circular motion when rubbing on the polish.
Remove any rust from the surface by scrubbing with the pad as you apply the polish. Allow the polish to dry to a dull haze.
Scrub the dried polish to a shine using a new piece of wire pad. Use the same circular motion used to apply the polish to bring out the shine in the metal, working on a small section at a time until you achieve the shine desired.
Repeat the polish application process to apply an additional coating of polish to act as a protective layer over the first.
Wear work gloves, a face mask and safety goggles to protect your skin eyes and lungs from the chemical paint remover, polish or steel wool fragments.
Polishing is for decorative cast iron and cast iron furnishings only. Do not polish cast iron cookware as the polish is not consumable.