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Homemade metal cleaners

Commercial metal cleaners often cost a lot of money and use chemicals that you probably are not familiar with. These cleaners often contain chemicals that are too harsh, potentially damaging your items, or chemicals that are so diluted you have to use an entire bottle to clean anything.

Fortunately, there are easy to make metal cleaners that you can create out of ingredients found around your home or office. In general, all of these recipes use some sort of acid to dissolve the tarnish that develops on the metal.

To clean and polish brass, bronze, copper, or pewter try one of the following substances. Do not use these on silver.

  • Worcestershire Sauce – Rub into the metal and leave for several minutes before cleaning off

  • Tabasco Sauce – Clean this off of the piece immediately after applying to avoid corrosion.

  • Ketchup – Apply this, then allow it to dry. Scrub it off with a cloth or bristle brush.

  • Tomato Juice - Soak the piece in the tomato juice for several hours. Rinse off with clean water.

  • Milk – Make a mixture of two parts milk to one part water. Soak pieces for a few hours then rinse clean. This mixture works because of the lactic acid in milk, which can also be found in a variety of other dairy products. In addition to milk, you might also want to try plain yogurt or sour cream.

  • Vinegar – Create a mixture of two parts white vinegar to one part water. Soak pieces for about fifteen minutes, then rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. Do not leave pieces in this mixture for more than an hour or they can start to corrode.

  • Cream of Tartar and Lemon Juice - Make a paste by combining one part lemon juice to two parts of cream of tartar. Use a bristle brush to scrub the paste into the piece. Rinse the paste off with clear water.

  • Vinegar and Salt - Pour about two tablespoons of vinegar onto a cloth, then sprinkle the cloth with salt. Gently rub the mixture into the piece.

  • Lemon Juice and Baking Soda - Sprinkle baking soda on a lemon wedge and rub into the piece. This will remove tarnish, stains, and also deodorize the piece.

After cleaning your metal pieces, you may want to prevent them from tarnishing again. While it won’t last forever, use about a tablespoon of any type of vegetable oil and run it into the metal. This will hold off tarnish for several months.