How to polish galvanized steel

Written by hayley smith
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How to polish galvanized steel
Galvanised steel bucket (bucket close up image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Galvanised steel is steel dipped in molten zinc to prevent corrosion and rust. Items from piping in nuclear power plants to tea kettles can be made from galvanised steel. Galvanised steel is darker than steel because of the layer of zinc.

While steel is a naturally shiny metal and easily polishes (especially stainless steel), zinc tends to be much harder to shine. Though you will never be able to see your reflection in polished zinc, the polishing process will clean and shine up the galvanised steel to look cleaner than before.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • hot water
  • steel wool
  • paste finishing wax
  • clean rags

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    Polishing Galvanized Steel

  1. 1

    Dip steel wool, such as Scotchbrite, in hot water to create suds.

  2. 2

    Scrub the surface of the galvanised metal with the sudsy steel wool. Scrub gently to prevent scratching the zinc layer and exposing the steel.

  3. 3

    Rinse with hot water and dry with a soft, clean rag. Use several rags to prevent spreading dirt around the surface.

  4. 4

    Apply wax paste to the surface of the galvanised steel item. Rub it in with a soft cloth until the smears disappear.

  5. 5

    Use several rags to wax the galvanised steel to keep the polish balanced.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not worry if the galvanised steel starts to turn a light grey over time. When zinc oxidises, it develops a light grey or blue patina.

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