How to polish gilt metal

Written by grace restivo
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How to polish gilt metal
Mirrors and picture frames commonly have a gilt finish. (Getty Creative)

Ammonia is the traditional method for cleaning gilt, but it has a damaging effect. Repeated cleaning with the ammonia results in the destruction of the gold finish. To preserve the original look of the gilded piece; cleaning with ammonia, commercial polishing products, harsh abrasives and acids, should be avoided. To properly clean and polish gilt, the piece should be treated the same way as gold.

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Things you need

  • Soft brush
  • Swabs
  • Methylated spirits
  • Distilled water
  • Baking soda
  • Egg whites
  • Sponge
  • Gold paint

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Instructions

    Methylated spirits method

  1. 1

    Dust the gilt metal item with a soft brush.

  2. 2

    Moisten a swab with methylated spirits and gently rub the item. Methylated spirits, also called denatured alcohol, can be purchased in supermarkets and hardware stores.

  3. 3

    Use a swab moistened with saliva to rub the item, followed by a swab moistened with distilled water.

    Egg white and baking soda method

  1. 1

    Dust the gilt metal item with a soft brush.

  2. 2

    Beat together 30 g of baking soda and three egg whites.

  3. 3

    Wash the item with a sponge, using the baking soda and egg white mixture.

  4. 4

    Apply gold paint to touch up scrapes on the finish.

    Oil of turpentine method

  1. 1

    Moisten a sponge with oil of turpentine. The sponge should be damp, not wet.

  2. 2

    Gently clean the item with the damp sponge.

  3. 3

    Allow the item to air dry. Air drying reduces the risk of damaging the gold finish.

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