I hate polishing metals. For one thing, I just don't like the smell of the polishes I've used, whether it's for silver, pewter or brass. So, if you're like me, you'll like today's vinegar tips. Of course, vinegar doesn't have the best smell around, but we're all getting used to it, right? Besides, you can add a little bit of lemon juice to fragrance it up a bit. At least you'll know where the lemon smell comes from in your homemade remedies, unlike the secret lemon scent of commercial products!
Let's start off with brass and copper. Of course, you want to grab your distilled white vinegar, but this time you have to reach into the refrigerator and take out your Heinz ketchup (you can use another kind, if you must, but I'm a Pittsburgh girl, so Heinz is the only way to go!). Mix 2 tablespoons of ketchup with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Smear it on your brass and copper pieces and rub until dry. Check out the shine! Let me know how many of you headed out for some fries after finishing this task!
If your brass and copper is really tarnished, make a paste with equal parts of vinegar and table salt (not salt substitute). This paste will work on pewter as well.
If you have actual silver or silver-plated flatware, you know it needs polished once or twice a year. Silver tarnishes when it's exposed to air (oxidation). While vinegar is not recommended for polishing, it will work to remove corrosion from silver. You'll need hot vinegar and salt (2 cups to 1 tablespoon). Soak the silver for up to 5 minutes.
You can make your own natural silver polish by starting out with a sink full of very hot water. Add a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons baking soda (mixed together first). Lower a piece of aluminum foil into the water. Dip your silver into the sink and watch the tarnish slip off. For tougher stains, put the silver into the water and let it soak for up to 5 minutes. Rinse and dry
Wandering off the vinegar path one more time, I just wanted to give you another natural alternative when it comes to cleaning copper: Simply cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt. Rub it on your pots and pans with the copper bottoms. They'll be looking close to new in no time.
Finally, to make an all-purpose metal cleaner, just add some vinegar to 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar. You'll be aiming for the consistency of paste, so add the vinegar slowly. Once the paste is prepared, rub it on the metal object you want to clean and let it dry. Then wash it off and use a soft cloth to dry and polish.
Here's to a shiny time in your house this weekend (yeah, I know...you're not all rushing to the cabinet to pull out the vinegar. It is a holiday weekend here in the States, after all)!
Enjoy your weekend.
Keeping it green with vinegar,
Photo courtesy of Peter Griffin