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How to clean metal

Cleaning metal is a more delicate job than you may think! Metal needs special care to avoid damaging it, read on for easy-to-follow tips on metal cleaning.


how to clean metal

A veritable periodic table of metals can be found throughout the modern home, making it a little confusing when it comes to choosing the most effective cleaning method. You need to have a range of metal cleaning techniques under your belt to keep rust and stains at bay.

So, whether you’re buffing up the family silver, sprucing up pans, or removing the oxidisation from aluminium window frames, the following tips and tricks should make life a little easier!

With so many different surfaces in the home, a good multipurpose cleaner is your best friend. Just remember to read the directions on the label and to test any product on a small area first before continuing.

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Metal Cleaning Tips

There’s a huge range of effective commercial metal cleaning products out there. Because it’s so important to have the right tools to hand when cleaning metal, we’d recommend the professional option over DIY solutions – although home remedies can yield reasonable results too.

Remember: Not all metals are quite as hard as you might expect, so it’s important to choose a cleaning method that does the job without scratching or corroding the finish. Test all new products and homemade cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area before application, always consult the manufacturer’s instructions first, and take all of the required safety precautions.

There are some great solutions for cleaning metal using common household products as well as cleaning products. Give these a try:

Stainless Steel & Chrome                                                        

For a proper clean of stainless steel, removing soap scum, food residue, grease and water marks, you’ll need a specialised stainless steel cleaning product. Something like Cif Stainless Steel is ideal. Most multipurpose bathroom cleaners will be able to give chrome a brilliant clean, although you can purchase specialised cleaners if you like.

  1. Take a wet cloth and wipe down the entirety of the surface.
  2. Apply your stainless steel or multipurpose cleaning product, following instructions on the label. Always apply cleaner to stainless steel by rubbing it in with the grain – follow the pattern along to avoid scratches or dullness.
  3. Rinse off with water, and gently buff dry with a fresh cloth. Once again, go with the grain if you are cleaning steel.


Because baking soda is likely to spoil aluminium, it’s best avoided here. In fact, it is far safer in all cases to opt for simple soapy water, or a special aluminium cleaner. If you’d really prefer to try a homemade solution, mix and apply a solution containing white vinegar and cream of tartar for sparkling results.

Copper & Brass

There are commercial copper cleaners around, but other options may also yield results. Try applying ketchup gently with a cloth! Another trick is to halve a lemon and sprinkle it with coarse ground salt. Gently scrub the copper to restore its natural sheen. Rinse, and then rub gently with a soft cotton cloth.


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Metal Cleaning Made Simple

Sometimes, just a good washing up detergent is all that’s needed to work wonders when cleaning metals – most notably stainless steel, which is used in appliances, pots, pans, grills, and utensils on account of its super tough construction. This routine clean is a simple way to keep metal clean and tarnish-free. Just use washing up liquid and hot water to wash metal pots and pans. Scrub them with a sponge, or soak them to help dislodge residue. 

Originally published