How Best To Clean Common Metals Revealed

Metal products are often a sign of quality and workmanship and as such they require a certain amount of upkeep in order to maintain their sleek modern look. Of course, we’re not referring to major work, but rather simple cleaning in order to keep them stain and smudge free. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the more common metals and how best to go about cleaning them.


You can find aluminium on a wide number of products including utensils, bicycle frames, mail boxes and window frames. The problem with aluminium is that over time a layer of oxide builds up on the metal’s surface, causing it to go dark. A simple solution of soapy water may do the trick, but for more stubborn blackening, try a diluted solution of cream of tartar and vinegar.

Cast Iron

Ah yes, solid, dependable and built to last, cast iron products such as pots and pans, Dutch ovens or woks are perfect for retaining heat, while distributing an even cooking temperature. The problem with cast iron, particularly in relation to food, is that it can rust given the right environment (heat and humidity). As such a light oiling will prevent oxidisation and keep cast iron products looking like new.

Stainless Steel

This is one of the most popular metals on the planet, but the term ‘stainless’ doesn’t imply that it won’t stain or tarnish, rather that it will stain less than other similar metals. One of the best and easiest ways to keep stainless steel looking sleek is to remove any stains or smudges with vinegar and then rub a light coat of oil into the surface. If watermarks, stains, or soap scum marks are more severe, then opt for a specialist stainless steel cleaning solution.


Copper gives a gorgeous warm hue and can enhance any product, area, or building. However it can lose its shine over a period of time. Harsh chemicals and abrasives can tarnish copper, so if you really want it to retain a lustrous heen, use commercial copper cleaning products which are readily available such as copper cream. Simply apply and buff it off with a dry lint-free cloth.


Silver gives off an impressive luxurious hue. However it can dull or tarnish over time, particularly when placed in storage. To get your silver looking like new commercial silver polish works a treat, but if you’d prefer to go down the home made treatment remedy, then believe it or not, toothpaste does the trick too. For best effect choose the gritty, non-gel variety.

So there you have it, how to clean common metals using both traditional and non-traditional methods. Here at Metro Steel we use several methods to clean or descale metal before turning it into machinery parts, construction pieces, or one-off bespoke pieces, so if you’re looking for a fabrication shop that can help you with your project, then we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 07 3204 1000 and talk to the experts.

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