Friday, 13 January 2017

How to polish metal

I've been dubious about metal polishing since I was a kid.  My mother was somehow induced to buy a pot of Amway metal polishing compound and Little Sister went through a phase of using it on everything she could find.  This would have been fine except that it's infinitely easier to apply than to remove and nearly every semi-intricate metal surface in the house went through a phase of having green-white paste embedded in its surface.  Anyway, I can confirm that there's something that works a lot better than Amway compound and is considerably cheaper.  It's everyone's favourite kitchen whatnot, baking soda.
I have a saint's medal that I wear.  It was a present from my former mother-in-law of whom I remain very fond.  The medal itself is silver, and it has become rather tarnished.  And when I say tarnished, I mean it's basically black.  Not awesome.  I put a couple of teaspoons of baking soda in a dish and wetted them into a paste with hot water.  Then, I got some of the paste onto a ball of cotton wool and scrubbed the medal hard.  I needed to get my fingernails in a bit to get into the more intricate spots, but even that wasn't too difficult.  I'm delighted to confirm that it returned the medal to shining silver, and the excess came off with a rinse in warm water.  How well?  This well:
Before and after
I was intrigued by this and decided to go one better.  I have an old medal that I bought for a few dollars about 25 years ago.  I recently identified it as a Pakistan Independence Medal - the sort issued to soldiers in the armies of British India on the independence of India and Pakistan.  It hasn't been polished while I've owned it and I doubt it had much TLC before that.  So, it got the same scrubbing with baking soda paste as well.  It will never be mint condition, of course, but I think that it's much improved for the polishing.
Before and after
Are there any cleaning or other life-hack tips you'd like to share?  I thought this was a good one!

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