The Best Way to Clean Pewter

Updated February 21, 2017

Pewter is a smooth metal alloy, commonly and historically used in the construction of cookware, figurines, models and antiques. Pewter has a natural metallic shine that may become dull as dirt and grime collect over time, but you can clean your pewter surfaces to keep them looking their best. How often you should clean your pewter depends on the amount of use, but for best results, try to apply a quick polish whenever surfaces begin to appear dusty or dull.

Squeeze a drop of two of mild dish detergent into a cup of water and apply it to a sponge or soft cloth. Buff the entire surface of your pewter object until dirt and dust disappear and the pewter appears like new. For valuable antique pewter, dish detergent is your best option for home cleaning because it dramatically minimises your chances of damaging the pewter.

Remove difficult dirt build-up using a steel wool pad. Though not recommended for antique pewter, you can safely use a 0000-grade steel wool pad on non-antique pewter surfaces. Always rub the steel wool in the direction of the grain.

Apply an all-purpose metal polish to your pewter surface. This will allow you to go beyond the initial dirt and dust removal and restore the natural shine. Do not use a silver polish or other metal-specific polish; stick with an all-purpose polish, available at jewellery stores and hardware stores. Apply the polish using a soft cloth, working it in circular motions along the entire surface of the pewter object.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish-washing detergent
  • Sponge or soft cloth
  • Steel wool pad
  • Metal polish
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