Cleaning Metal

Aluminium – here’s a handy tip if you have any old aluminium utensil that need a bit of a pick-me-up. Place two sricks of sliced rhubarb in 250ml od water (or enough to submerge the items) in a large pan and simmer them for 30 minutes. Rinse the utensils in cool water and dry.

For larger items mix 500ml of boiled water with 250ml of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of citrus oil. Leave the items to soak for at least an hour before rinsing them off and drying thoroughly.

Note: Although aluminium does not rush or tarnish, it is highly reactive, and for that reason never use home-made cleaners such as bicarbonate of soda or washing soda.

Brass and copper – Combine a few tablespoon of lemon juice with one tablespoon of bicarrbonate of soda. Rub it over the metal and then polish of.

If you haven’t cleaned your brass or copper for long time and it is heavily tarnished, you can soak it in hot vinegar and salt. Once you see the shine starting to show through, rinse it off in clean water and give it a final polish.

If you have stainless steel saucepan with copper bottoms and there is some burned-on residue, you can make a paste out of equal amounts of salt, flour and vinegar and gently rub on. Remember, never use steel wool or an abrasive cleaner on copper.

Chrome – You will probably find you have some chrome in most rooms in the house: in the kitchen, in appliances such as toasters, oven, refrigerators, pedal bin, and taps and in the bathroom, taps on the sink and bath. Again, never use any abrasive cleaner on chrome as it can scratch or pit the surface which will never look shiny again. To clean chrome safely, apply either white vinegar or soda water with a soft cloth. Dry to beautiful shine with a clean cloth.

If you want to remove burned-on grease from chrome, simply clean it with a few drops of undiluted eucalyptus oil and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Eucalyptus, although a natural sunstance, can be quite strong so wear rubber gloves when using it.

Pewter – Wash pewter items in warm soapy water (remember though, only biodegradable soap) and then rinse with clean water. Polish with a clean, dry cloth.

Silver – Put some water in saucepan and add a few teaspoons of washing soda. Bring the water to gentle simmer, add a small piece of kitchen foil and then dip your silver into the liquid. Pull it out, dry it off, anf then bring it to shine with a clean, dry cloth.

Alternately, you can make a paste with bicarbonate of soda and water and spread over the object. Use a toothpaste to get in any small crevices, then rinse and clean with soft, dry cloth.

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