A Guide to Polishing
Easy remedies for those tarnished brass candlesticks, silver flatware, and more.
Polishing Basics1. Rinse pieces under warm water and lightly wash with a nonabrasive liquid detergent, such as Ivory. Do not soak. Dry thoroughly with a soft cotton towel. If the piece has a nonmetal component, like a wooden handle, cover it with plastic wrap.
2. Wear gloves, preferably cotton. Rubber kitchen gloves are fine, but wash them first, because they may contain sulfur, a tarnishing agent. Surgical gloves are often weak, and oils and polishes can break them down.
3. Before you plunge in, test a small area of the object to make sure the polish gives the shine you want.
4. Polish with a nonlinty fabric, like a clean, old white T-shirt. Use enough fabric so no removed tarnish is ever rubbed back onto the metal's surface.
5. After each step, rinse the metal thoroughly with warm water and liquid detergent.
6. Dust regularly with a natural-bristle brush, such as one made of horsehair.
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