Polishing metal

Most types of metals will get duller over time. Luckily, there are ways to polish them and give them back their shine.


Silver jewelry can become dull or get blackened over time. There are several ways of polishing silver to make it as good as new.

Silver polish is something you can buy at most drugstores or online. Silver polish is a liquid made specifically to clean up silver items. You just need to rub it on with an old, soft cloth and the silver will get back its shine.  However, using this liquid on items with a lot of small details or engravings is tricky, as the liquid can gather in the grooves and will leave a white residue. Nowadays you can also buy silver polish cloths, which are the better option for detailed items. 

Another way to polish silver is by using toothpaste. Like with silver polish, you need a soft cloth to rub the toothpaste on the item. Make sure you have all the toothpaste cleaned off and it doesn’t gather in the grooves, as this will leave a residue. 

Bronze, brass and copper

The oils on your skin, as well as water, will affect bronze, brass and copper and cause it to dull. It is quite easy to polish items made from these materials, though.

Most drugstores sell copper polish, which also works for bronze and brass. Copper polish is a liquid that you can rub onto items using an old, soft cloth. This will give the item back their shine. If you want to polish an item with a lot of details or engravings, it is better to use a  copper polishing cloth instead of the liquid. The liquid is difficult to remove from grooves and can leave a white residue if it’s not fully rubbed in. 

Tomato ketchup (or tomato sauce or paste) can also be used to clean bronze, brass and copper. Tomatoes contain an acid that breaks down tarnish on these materials. For small items, just let them soak in a bowl with ketchup. After about an hour, wash off the ketchup with warm water and mild soap.

Larger items can be difficult to soak, so you can simply cover the item in ketchup and leave it on for an hour. After that hour, you can wash the item with warm water and mild soap. 


Rust and small scratches can appear on steel items when they are being used. There are some quick and easy ways to polish out small blemishes from steel items. 

Just like there is silver and copper polish, there is also steel and metal polish. This polish is a paste you have to rub in with a soft cloth to remove small amounts of rust and small scratches. If a steel item is very rusty, this won’t be enough. You would need to remove the rust first, for which you can find more information here: Maintenance of steel and metal

A cheap alternative to steel polish is toothpaste. Toothpaste is mildly abrasive, which means it can gently scratch off small amounts of rust and remove superficial scratches. It is recommended to try this first on a less visible spot as some brands of toothpaste are a bit more aggressive than others. Use a soft cloth to rub the toothpaste on the steel. Don’t rub the toothpaste on too harshly or you might end up with a shinier finish than planned. 

When you’re done polishing your steel, it is advised to either oil the steel or use an anti rust spray to keep the polished finish looking good for a longer time.