Cleaning metal surfaces at home can be a challenge, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s easy to get them looking new. But before you start cleaning, it’s important to understand what type of metal you’re dealing with.
There are three main types of metals: ferrous, non-ferrous, and stainless steel. Ferrous metals contain iron and are susceptible to rusting. Non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum and brass, don’t contain iron and are more resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel is a type of steel that contains chromium, which makes it more resistant to rusting and staining.
Once you know what type of metal you’re dealing with, follow these tips on how to clean metal surfaces:
1. Use the Right Tools
When cleaning metal surfaces, it’s important to use the right tools. For ferrous metals, use a stiff brush and soapy water. For non-ferrous metals, use a soft cloth and mild soap. Stainless steel can be cleaned with a soft cloth and glass cleaner. You can also buy weld cleaning solutions specifically designed for stainless steel.
2. Remove Rust
If you’re dealing with a ferrous metal that has rust, you’ll need to remove it before cleaning. There are a few ways to do this:
- Use a rust remover: You can buy rust removers at most hardware stores. Follow the instructions on the package.
- Use vinegar: Pour vinegar onto the rust and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrub with a brush.
- Use baking soda: Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply it to the rust and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then scrub with a brush.
3. Scrub Gently
When scrubbing, be sure to do it gently. You don’t want to scratch the metal surface. Use a soft-bristled brush or a microfiber cloth. For tough spots, use a toothbrush. Just remember to be gentle!
4. Rinse and Dry
After scrubbing, rinse the surface with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth. You may need to do this a few times to remove all the soap. It’s important to dry the surface completely to prevent rusting. Not sure if it’s dry? Try wiping with a clean, dry cloth. If it comes away clean, you’re good to go!
To achieve a high shine on your metal surfaces, you will need to polish them. Here are some tips:
- Use a metal polish: You can buy metal polishes at most hardware stores. Follow the instructions on the package.
- Make your own polish: You can also make your own metal polish with items you probably already have at home. For example, you can use a mixture of vinegar and salt to polish aluminum. Or use toothpaste to polish chrome.
6. Prevent Rusting
After cleaning and polishing your metal surfaces, it’s important to take steps to prevent them from rusting. Here are a few tips:
- Apply a coat of wax: After cleaning and drying the surface, apply a coat of wax. This will help seal the metal and protect it from rusting.
- Use rust-resistant paint: If you’re dealing with a ferrous metal that is prone to rusting, you can paint it with rust-resistant paint. This will help protect the metal from the elements.
- Store metal in a cool, dry place: When not in use, store metal in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent it from rusting.
7. Clean Outdoor Metal Surfaces
Outdoor metal surfaces, such as patio furniture and grills, can be a challenge to clean. They are often exposed to the elements and can get very dirty. However, with the right cleaners and techniques, you can clean outdoor metal surfaces with ease. Here are a few tips:
- Use a power washer: A power washer can remove dirt, grime, and even rust from metal surfaces. Just be sure to use the lowest setting to avoid damaging the metal.
- Make your own cleaner: You can also make your own cleaner for outdoor metal surfaces. Just mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Then spray it on the surface and scrub with a brush.
8. Prevent Scratches with Vinegar
To prevent your metal surfaces from being scratched, you can use vinegar. Vinegar is a natural acid that will eat away at the top layer of the metal, making it more difficult for debris and dirt to become lodged in the surface. Simply apply vinegar to a clean cloth and wipe down your metal surfaces. You can also add vinegar to a spray bottle and spritz it onto your metal surfaces. Just be sure to rinse it off with water and dry the surface completely.
By following these tips, you can clean metal surfaces with ease. Just remember to be gentle, use the right cleaners, and take steps to prevent rusting. With a little bit of care, your metal surfaces will stay looking like new for years to come.