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How to polish galvanized steel

Updated July 20, 2017

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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

  6. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Hayley Smith is a freelance documentary filmmaker and writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern studies. She has contributed written work to various websites, specializing in topics on the outdoors and Utah skiing.

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