How to Polish Pot Metal

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Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloths

  • Dishwashing soap

  • 1/4 tsp. iodized salt

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

  • White flour

  • Paper towels

  • Baking soda

  • Lemon juice

Pot metal is used to create a variety of household items.

Pot metal is a term that is used to describe any number of metal alloys. Used to make everything from toys to tools, pot metal is popular because it costs little and is relatively easy to work with. Like all metals, pot metal can become tarnished over time. Unfortunately, since there is no set formula for pot metal, it can be difficult to determine what type of material a given object is made of. This can make polishing pot metal difficult as different metals require different cleaning agents. While many everyday items can be used to add shine to metals, to achieve the best results with pot metal you may need to try more than one type of polish.

Step 1

Clean the item that needs polishing. Wipe the metal carefully with a damp cloth to moisten the surfaces. Add ½ tsp. mild dishwashing soap to the cloth and gently scrub, removing any dust or dirt from the item.

Step 2

Wipe the clean metal with a dry cloth and set it aside in the open air. Do not apply any polishing agents until the metal is completely dry.

Step 3

Combine ¼ tsp. iodized salt and ¼ cup distilled white vinegar in a small bowl. Mix until the two are thoroughly blended, then stir in enough white flour to make a thick paste.

Step 4

Wrap a damp cloth around your index finger and dip it into the paste. Apply the paste to the metal and rub gently. Move your finger in a small, circular motion as you work your way from the outside edge toward the center.

Step 5

Leave the polish on the metal for 30 minutes, then wipe it off with a damp paper towel.

Step 6

Apply a second coating of polish if desired. If the polish did not seem to work, try making a paste out of baking soda and water. If you are still not satisfied, try replacing the vinegar with lemon juice.


Lisa Parris

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.