How to Polish Nickel Silver

Written by mary ylisela Google
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How to Polish Nickel Silver
Many coins are made of nickel silver. (loose coins image by Richard Seeney from

Nickel silver is actually not made of silver at all. An alloy metal, it generally contains copper, nickel and zinc. This strong, durable metal is in a variety of surfaces and items, from coins to decorative or functional building materials. Nickel silver can become dirty and tarnished, giving it a dull appearance. Proper cleaning and polishing will restore nickel silver's shine and appeal.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic dropcloth
  • Bowls
  • Dish washing detergent
  • Clean cloths
  • Old toothbrush
  • White spirit
  • Distilled water
  • Cream polish for metal
  • Fleece cloth

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  1. 1

    Lay a plastic dropcloth on your work surface to keep it clean and protect it from dirt transfer from your nickel silver.

  2. 2

    Mix 2 cups warm water and a quarter-sized amount of dish washing liquid in a bowl. Use dish washing detergent that cuts grease. Dip a clean cloth in your detergent solution and rub the nickel silver surface to remove grease residue, dirt and grime.

  3. 3

    Rinse your cleaning cloth, as needed, and wet it with the detergent solution. Continue to scrub until all grease and dirt has been removed, using an old toothbrush on particularly stubborn spots. Rinse the surface with water and dry with a clean cloth.

  4. 4

    Pour white spirit into a bowl. Rub the nickel silver surface with the white spirit, using a clean cloth. Remove any last traces of tarnish and stains with the solution.

  5. 5

    Use distilled water to rinse the nickel silver surface and remove the white spirit. Dry with a clean cloth.

  6. 6

    Polish your nickel surface with a cream polish made specifically for metals, including nickel silver. Rub a soft, fleece-like cloth in the cream and polish the surface with it. Buff the excess polish off and continue to rub the nickel silver surface to a shine.

Tips and warnings

  • Vinegar can be used as a degreaser to clean your nickel silver surface, instead of using dish soap.
  • Protect your skin with rubber gloves when you use white spirit.
  • Prevent your nickel silver surface from corroding by rubbing a corrosion inhibitor into the surface.
  • Wash your skin right away, with soap and water, any time it comes in contact with white spirit or other chemicals.

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