Home remedies for cleaning tarnished metal

Updated April 17, 2017

Tarnishing on metal can leave beautiful tableware and ornaments looking unsightly. When metal becomes tarnished, it needs to be polished in order to return it to its former beauty. That said, polishing your metals too frequently or too much may actually do more harm than good. Different metals require different home cleaning remedies but here are some of the most helpful.

Silver service

When it comes to silverware, removing tarnish is extremely important since you eat with these utensils. First you'll need an aluminium tray in which to place the cutlery. Baking trays work great, but make sure the edges come well above the silverware. You can also use a glass tray but it should be lined with aluminium foil. You'll need to pour 250 ml (1 cup) of baking soda evenly over the silverware and pour enough boiling water in the tray to completely cover the silverware. The tarnish should be gone by the time the water cools. Remove the silverware and buff it with a soft cloth as needed.

Brass polish

Older brass needs to be cleaned carefully to keep it from breaking. First, draw a bath of warm water and add enough soap to begin creating bubbles on the water's surface. Gently wash items in the bath to remove dirt, dust and grease before polishing each piece with a soft rag and linseed oil. For more severely tarnished pieces, mix four drops of a citrus essential oil and 10 ml (2 tsp) of salt into 250 ml (1 cup) of vinegar. Add enough flour to make the concoction into a thick paste. Smear the paste over the brass and let it dry before rinsing it in warm water to remove the dried paste. After drying and a slight polish, the tarnish should be gone.

Copper cleanser

Tarnished copper isn't very difficult to clean and you can do it with a paste similar to the one used to clean brass. Mix 250 ml (1 cup) each of salt, flour and of vinegar to make a thick paste. Rub the paste over the tarnished copper and allow the paste to dry before rinsing with warm water and polishing the items with a soft cloth. Alternately, cut a lemon or lime in half and cover the exposed fruit inside with salt. Use this as a scrubbing brush to scrub the copper and remove the tarnish.

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About the Author

Matt Koble has been writing professionally since 2008. He has been published on websites such as DoItYourself. Koble mostly writes about technology, electronics and computer topics.