How to Polish Crystal Glassware With Cerium Oxide

Written by andrea griffith
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How to Polish Crystal Glassware With Cerium Oxide
Polish your crystal with cerium oxide to make it look like new. (with spirit 03 image by Dawn Duncan-Smith from

Crystal glassware is elegant, expensive, and looks beautiful. Because crystal is a harder mineral there are only a few items that can leave scratches on it. However, just like a diamond, crystal can easily and harshly scratch crystal. Many people will store their glassware in a confined space, causing the pieces of glassware to rub up next to one another, resulting in scratches. You can polish your crystal using emery paper and cerium oxide to make the glassware look like new.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1,200 grit emery paper
  • 99.9% Cerium Oxide powder
  • Small bowl
  • Water
  • Felt buffing pad
  • Lint-free cloth

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  1. 1

    Sand the crystal glassware, very gently, using a 1,200 grit emery paper. This will sand down any little scratches that may be visible.

  2. 2

    Pour the cerium oxide powder into a small bowl. For four crystal glasses (either champagne glasses or white wine glasses), you'll only need one cup worth of the powder. For larger crystal glasses (red wine goblets or a decanter) or more than four glasses, use two cups.

    You can purchase cerium oxide at home improvement stores or off of the Internet.

  3. 3

    Mix warm water with the powder until a "slurry" is formed. You'll want just enough water to make the powder thick and wet, but you do not want the powder to be too runny or too dry. The best way to see if you've made a good slurry is to dip your finger into the mixture. The mixture should coat your finger without dripping off.

    The consistency of the slurry will be like when you add a few tablespoons of water to icing sugar to make homemade frosting.

  4. 4

    Apply the slurry to a buffing pad. Buff each crystal glass with the cerium oxide slurry until the glass is covered.

  5. 5

    Rinse off the crystal glassware. Dry the crystal using a lint-free cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • To prevent scratches on the crystal glassware, always store them several inches apart from one another or keep them individually wrapped in packaging foam.

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