Cleaning Tarnished Tin at Home

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Things You'll Need

  • Soft scrubber

  • Non-gel toothpaste

  • Baking soda

  • Potato

  • Citrus fruit

Tin items can become tarnished.

Tin is a popular material for household items because of its low cost and durability.You probably have a number of tin items you use every day in your own home. There may come a time when you'll notice that they've gotten a little rusty or crusted on the surface. Tarnished tin is tricky to clean because washing with soap and water alone will not eradicate this problem. There are home remedies that you can use to properly clean these items, as well as remove tarnish and stains when they appear.

Step 1

Find the right materials to clean your tarnished tin. Refrain from using abrasive materials like scouring pads and rough cleaners. These materials can leave scratches on the tin that can encourage even more rust formations. Tin should always be washed with a soft cloth, toothbrush or nylon scrubber. These types of cleaning materials are often already present in the home.

Step 2

Dip your soft rag or other gentle cleaning tool in white, non-gel toothpaste and apply it to the surface of the tin item. This home remedy works well for removing small spots and tarnished areas. Allow this homemade cleaner to sit on the tin overnight for heavily tarnished items, and then wipe it off.

Step 3

Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup hot water to create a paste for larger tarnished areas of your tin. Apply the paste onto specific areas and allow it there for a few minutes before lightly scrubbing it with your rag. Allow this homemade cleaner to sit on the tin overnight for heavily tarnished items, and then wipe the tin clean with a rag.

Step 4

Cut a potato or citrus fruit, like a lemon or lime, in half. Dip the cut half in baking soda and use this to gently scrub away the rust on your tin. Use a slightly more abrasive scouring pad if the tarnish is difficult to remove and a soft pad isn't working. You will risk scratching the surface this way, so try to find the finest pad if need be.

Step 5

Clean the tin with a little kerosene, turpentine, or nail-polish remover if the other homemade remedies are insufficient. These are harsher treatments that may prove sufficient. Allow these compounds to sit on the stain for a few minutes before scrubbing. Use rubber gloves to protect your skin when trying these harsher chemicals.

Step 6

Take good care for your tin to prevent further damage in the future. Tin is a relatively soft metal that is easily scratched and tarnished. Always wash it with a soft cloth and non-abrasive cleaner immediately after use. Remember to soak away any caked-on food or dirt. Dry the tin immediately after washing to prevent rust.

references & resources

Stephanie Flood

Stephanie Flood began writing professionally in 2008. She has been published in local magazines including "Flagstaff Live" and "The Noise." Her work also appears on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northern Arizona University. Flood's writing covers subjects including health, wellness, spirituality, travel, living and outdoors.