Cleaning metal is a simple process, but you can damage the item you're cleaning if you don't use the right products and procedure on the surface. The type of metal determines how you do it, with separate approaches for cleaning household metal items and metal jewelry.

Cleaning Metal Household Items

Step 1

When cleaning common metals such as aluminum that you find on faucets or shower doors, begin by mixing a small amount of detergent with water to form a sudsy mixture.

Step 2

Soak the cloth in the soap mixture, wring it out, then wipe the surface of the metal gently. Scrubbing in a back-and-forth motion may cause damage to the surface.

Step 3

Use a soft towel to gently wipe the area completely dry. Any moisture left on the item could cause discoloration or rusting.

Cleaning Jewelry or Items Made of Stainless Steel

Step 4

Begin by applying a stainless steel polish to a sponge.

Step 5

Use the sponge to wipe with the grain of the stainless steel.

Step 6

Use a soft cloth to wipe away any excess polish. Repeat this process every two to four weeks or as necessary to keep items bright and shiny.

Cleaning Precious Metal Jewelry or Other Items

Step 7

Cleaning soft metals such as gold or platinum can be tricky, as you can damage the surface if you are not careful. Only use cleaners made specifically for these metals.

Step 8

If the cleaner is a liquid, drop the jewelry into the cleaner and let it soak for up to half an hour. Buff it dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Step 9

If the cleaner is a cream or paste, apply with a sponge or soft cloth and buff it gently. If necessary, rinse it with water to remove any excess product that collects in crevices or around gemstones.

Step 10

Wipe completely dry with a soft cloth.