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Choosing natural metal polishes allows you to bring shine to your metal objects without using harmful chemicals.

Find it! Natural metal polishes

How to make your own metal polishes

Homemade polishes can be made from natural, household items with the following recipes and tips:

Brass and copper

  • Cut a lemon and dip in salt and/or baking soda, and scrub.
  • Mix equal parts lemon juice (or vinegar), salt and boiling water, immerse small items or rub them with a rag dipped in the solution.
  • Use worcestershire sauce on a rag. Sprinkle on a little baking soda for soft scrubbing action.

Silver

  • Soak in a solution of one quart warm water with 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Soak in a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of milk overnight.
  • Line a pot or pan with aluminum foil. Fill with water and add a tablespoon each of salt and baking soda, then bring to a boil and take off the heat. Soak your silver in the bowl, and the tarnish will migrate to the aluminum foil.
  • Baking soda or white toothpaste work well for heavy tarnishing but both are mildly abrasive and can scratch silver, so use with caution.

Stainless steel

  • Use undiluted white vinegar alone, or with a baking soda soft scrub. A harmless foam will occur when adding the baking soda.

Chrome

  • Wipe with a microfiber cloth dipped in undiluted vinegar.
  • Briskly scrub rust spots with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, shiny side up.
  • Any of the aforementioned silver tips also work well.

Pewter

  • Dissolve one teaspoon salt in one cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste and apply to pewter and let sit for 15 minutes to one hour. Rinse with clean, warm water, and polish dry.
  • Wash in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Avoid touching it when wet, as fingerprints are hard to remove.

Aluminum

  • Use undiluted white vinegar alone, or with a baking soda soft scrub. A harmless foam will occur when adding the baking soda.
  • Any of the aforementioned silver tips also work well.

Brass and bronze

  • Cut a lemon and dip in salt and/or baking soda, and scrub.
  • Dissolve one teaspoon salt in one cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste and apply to bronze and let sit for 15 minutes to one hour. Rinse with clean, warm water, and polish dry.

Gold

  • Wet with water and dust liberally with baking soda. Immerse in a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar for a harmless bubbling action to loosen dirt and oils. Use a soft toothbrush to loosen dirt in small spaces. Repeat as necessary, then rinse.
  • Immerse in a glass of water with an Alka-Seltzer or denture cleaner tablet.
  • Gold is very soft and easily scratched, so avoid scrubbing or rubbing. Blot with a microfiber cloth to dry.

Choosing natural metal polishes helps you go green because...

  • Natural polishes do not contain harmful chemicals that can pollute soil and water systems.
  • You can buy less by mixing your own and reduce packaging waste.

Metal polishes often contain harmful chemicals such as ammonia, phosphoric, and sulfuric acids, that can pollute local wastewater systems and lead to ozone depletion.[1] Most commercial metal polishes also contain petroleum distillates that can increase air and water pollution due to poor disposal or during their manufacture and use.[2] Petroleum distillates in metal polishes can also cause temporary eye clouding after brief exposure, while longer exposure can damage the nervous system, skin and kidneys.[3]

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