5 easy DIY metal polishes to use around the home

Make metal surfaces shine with these easy DIY polishes that'll cost a fraction of the retail price.

5 easy DIY metal polishes to use around the home

1. Brass and copper paste polish

Use this simple, nontoxic — and very inexpensive — polish to brighten up all your tarnished unlacquered brass and copperware. (Lacquered items only need dusting.)

  • 50 g (1/4 c) flour
  • 50 g (1/4 c) salt
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) vinegar
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) hot water
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) lemon juice1. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients to form a paste. Using a soft cloth, rub the mixture onto the metal surfaces to remove tarnish.

    2. Rinse the object thoroughly in warm water (remember, salt is corrosive). Dry with soft, clean cloths and then buff to a shine with a soft flannel cloth or chamois.

2. Cut-lemon brass and copper polish

Here's an even easier way to shine up unlacquered brass or copper objects — and a useful way to use up leftover half lemons.

  • 125 ml (1/2 c) white vinegar
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) salt
  • 1/2 lemon1. In a pot over medium heat, heat the vinegar for five minutes, then pour it into a small bowl and stir in the salt.

    2. Dip the lemon into the mixture and rub it over the object, concentrating on the most heavily tarnished areas.

    3. Thoroughly rinse the object in warm water and dry with soft, clean cloths. Buff to a shine with a soft cloth.

3. Ketchup copper polish

This simple polish can be a bit messy, but it works like a charm on unlacquered copper — and it's completely nontoxic. Can your old copper polish say that?

  • 125 to 250 ml (1/2 to 1 c) tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 to 1 lemon, juiced1. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and lemon juice and stir to mix. How much you need of each ingredient depends on the size of the object you want to polish, but keep the ratio of ketchup to lemon juice about 8:1.

    2. Spread out some old newspapers on your work surface. Rub the mixture over the copper piece's surface. Let it sit 5 to 10 minutes.

    3. Thoroughly rinse the copper piece in warm water and dry with soft, clean cloths. Buff to a shine with a soft cloth.

4. Quick and easy silver shine

Want a really easy, inexpensive and amazingly effective way to polish your silver without any smelly chemicals or commercial products? This is easier than using a silver dipping cleaner.

  • 1 L (1 qt) hot water
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) baking soda or washing soda
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) salt
  • 1 sheet aluminum foil1. Fill the kitchen sink with the hot water. Dissolve the baking (or washing) soda and salt in the water, then place the sheet of aluminum foil at the bottom of the sink.

    2. Rest the tarnished silver on the foil for 10 seconds. Remove and dry with a soft flannel cloth.

Chrome and stainless steel polish

Baby the chrome and stainless steel finishes around your home with this simple one-two set of cleaners. They remove stains as well as dirt and fingerprints in no time for next to nothing.

  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) baby oil
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) club soda
  1. Apply a few drops of baby oil to a soft cloth or piece of flannel and wipe down the chrome or stainless steel surface. Use a second soft cloth, moistened with club soda, to rinse off the oil.
  2. Dry and buff with a soft, dry cloth.
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