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Pewter is a beautiful metal alloy with a range of uses, you may have a few pieces of pewter utensils or jewelry in your home or know someone who does. Luckily, because of the combination of metals within the alloy, it is particularly easy to keep clean and polished. When cleaning pewter, it is best to know what type of pieces you have to clean. To make it simple, we have a few tips and tricks, based on the type of finish your pewter has, that you can use to make sure your pieces stay in the best shape possible.
Care for Polished Pewter
Polished pewter is very common and distinctive with its shiny appearance. Like most variations of pewter, these pieces are very simple to clean with warm water mixed with a few drops of gentle dish soap. Be sure to use a soft sponge or cloth when wiping the pieces so that the surface is not scratched during the cleaning process. Rinse the soapy mix away with warm water and dry the piece with a soft towel. Once it is dry you can focus on polishing the piece with a polishing product or with this DIY recipe:
- You will need ¼ cup of linseed oil and ½ cup of Rottenstone, both can be found online.
- Warm the linseed oil on the stove and then steadily add the Rottenstone before the oil becomes too hot.
- Mix the Rottenstone and oil into a paste and use a cloth to wipe the paste in small, circular motions onto your pewter pieces.
- Once the piece has been polished to your liking, gently wipe the paste away with a soft, clean cloth.
Care for Satin Pewter
Satin pewter looks distinctly different from polished pewter, it is not shiny and has a rough, grainy appearance to it. This appearance will be especially obvious when it needs to be cleaned, which is generally only once a year. To clean pieces of satin pewter is, again, very simple as all you need is warm water and a mild dish detergent. Because of the texture and grainy appearance of these pieces, polishing is discouraged. Instead, you can use a piece of steel wool to lightly buff the surface of your pewter. If you think steel wool may be too harsh on your satin pewter, you can try this DIY buffing paste:
- You will need 1 cup of vinegar and ½ cup of white flour, both are commonly found in most homes. If you have a piece with a more grainy finish, you can add a teaspoon of salt to this mix.
- Mix these together and use a soft cloth to buff the mixture onto the surface of the pewter in small, circular motions.
- You can wipe this off immediately after with warm water and dry the piece with a clean, soft cloth. Or, if you would like a brighter finish on the pewter, you can leave the mixture on the surface for about 30 minutes and then remove it with a clean cloth and warm water.
Care for Antique Pewter
Antique pewter, or oxidized pewter, is much darker than polished or satin pewter. This is because it has been treated to appear to have an antique look to it. Because it has been treated, it should not be polished or buffed. Instead, it only needs to be cleaned with the same warm water and mild dish detergent and then dried with a soft cloth or towel.
Tips for Care & Upkeep
When maintaining your pewter, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to keep your pieces in good condition between cleaning and during the cleaning process.
- Pewter doesn’t usually tarnish. However, if it begins to develop a black appearance over time, the piece was likely made with lead. This lead tarnish can be removed with a round of gentle polishing.
- Don’t put your pewter in the dishwasher or use extra hot water when cleaning it. Pewter is a very soft metal with a relatively low melting point. This means that the metal will warp and damage the piece if it becomes too hot, and this is not simple to correct.
- If you have a pewter serving tray you like to use, be sure to never place acidic foods directly onto the surface of the pewter. Along those same lines, be sure to check your dishwashing detergent to make sure it isn’t an alkaline cleaner. Any acidic or alkaline products will discolor the pewter.
- If you have a particularly difficult piece of pewter that doesn’t restore properly, you can use a piece of emery paper to buff the surface. Emery paper is a very fine type of sandpaper that is used specifically to smooth and shine a surface.
If you follow these suggestions to keep your pewter looking fantastic, your pieces can last for years. However, if you can’t seem to get your pewter looking as bright and clean as you’d like, give us a call. Cleanzen is proud to offer friendly service and affordable rates and we would be happy to help you keep the items in your home looking their best.