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How to Clean Pewter 

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Do you know pewter stands at the fourth position among the most common metals used for making jewelry around the world? This data indicates a high possibility of its presence in our homes. 

Have a look around and I’m sure you’ll find at least one item made of pewter in your home. 

For those who are still wondering what pewter is, it’s an alloy made up of 92% tin, 5% antimony, 3% copper, and sometimes silver as well. Its affordability is the main reason behind its popularity. 

Pewter is mainly used in making jewelry, utensils, candlesticks, and several antiques. They’re as lustrous as silverware and are available at a lower price but have you wondered how to clean your pewter buddies?

Well, we’ve eased this part for you and are presenting in front of you the best guide that will assist you throughout the process of cleaning pewters. 

How To Clean Pewter

Let me tell you, cleaning pewter is as easy as reciting the ABCs. But even though it doesn’t require much effort, you still have to be cautious and follow certain steps to get the best out of it. 

Remember a thumb rule: avoid giving it a direct water bath.

1. Wipe off the dust

First of all, wipe off the solid dust particles from the surface of your pewter items. You can carry out this step in your day-to-day routine as well to maintain the intactness of this lovely metal. 

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2. Make the Cleaning Solution

Despite the thousands of varieties of commercial cleaners available in the market, I prefer household cleaners to ensure the best for my possessions. 

They are neat and easy to prepare, just squirt some mild dishwashing liquid or soap to warm water and your cleaner is ready. Yay! 

3. Clean the Pewter

Take a sponge or a microfiber cloth to rub this cleaner over the surface of your pewter. Use a circular motion to scrub gently.

4. Wash the Pewter

Once you feel like the cleaning is sufficient, rinse the cleaner off with water.

5. Let it Dry

After you’re done with cleaning and sponging off the excess moisture from your pewter, let it rest to air dry or use a dry cloth to give the final touch. 

Alternative methods: You can also use olive oil and a pure cotton cloth to perform the cleaning. It’s neat, simple, and actually fun to do. You’d be surprised to know that cabbage can also do this part! Yes, you read that right. Simply take a cabbage leaf and rub it all over the surface of the pewter and you’re done. 

How To Polish Pewter

The polishing of pewter is pivotal to maintain its value and beauty. If you will focus only on the cleaning and neglect the polishing routine completely, you’re not parenting it the right way then. 

Pewter is as lustrous as its counterpart silver but if you’re thinking of using silver polish, it’s a big NO-NO! To get a cutting-edge quality polished surface of your pewter you must know your pewter first. 

Widely speaking, there are three types of pewter you can have –

a. polished pewter, you can easily identify it from its shiny and smooth surface

b. satin pewter, it has a grainy surface with lesser shine

c. oxidized pewter, it has the maximum lead content (contributing to its black appearance) and it looks ancient of them allowing to its darkness.

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Some common steps are followed to polish each kind of pewter, however, if you go deeper into the process, you will have to follow specific methods to get a top-notch finishing. All the steps are covered further in the article (thank us later).

Use one cup of white vinegar (or ketchup), one teaspoon of salt as it acts as a mild abrasive, and half a cup of all-purpose flour to make a thick paste-like solution. Apply it on your pewter’s surface using a microfiber or soft cloth and let it rest for about 30 minutes. 

Furthermore, for deep cleansing action go through the following steps – 

a. For polished pewter, just rub the common vinegar mixture (recipe given above) using steel wool every few years to retain its shine and smoothness.

b. For satin pewter, boil some linseed (or flax) oil and add rottenstone (head over to your local hardware store to grab it) to it. Make sure the oil is still warm while you do this (not hot). Make a thick mixture and apply it to the surface of your pewter. And rub it gently using a fine grade (0000) steel wool.

c. Never polish oxidized pewter. You just have to follow the cleaning routine whenever required and that’s all it needs.

Finally, rinse the pewter thoroughly in the running water.

Things To Avoid While Cleaning and Maintenance

Maintenance is the deciding factor that determines the life of any object. 

Pewter, just like any other metal, undergoes a lot of reactions with the environment you keep it in which sometimes may degrade it. To avoid this, keep in mind the following points. 

  • Never put your pewter into the dishwasher that usually runs on hot water and detergents. This can corrupt the quality of your pewter as it has a low melting point of around 450° F.
  • Avoid putting acidic and basic eating substances in pewter utensils as it spontaneously reacts with them and can deteriorate the quality.
  • Don’t use highly abrasive cleaners or detergents on your pewter, they scratch off its natural shine which is oftentimes highly valued even if it’s tarnished a bit. 
  • Whenever you put the pewter to dry after a wash, keep it upright straight as the stagnant water can cause devaluing reactions. 
  • If by any chance you happen to put your pewter into the dishwasher and demean it, then follow the above instructions.
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Is it safe to drink or eat from pewter utensils?

If you pewter utensils contain lead, it’s not advised to eat or drink things from it, especially acidic food and drinks. So if you’re not sure if your pewter contains lead, then don’t use it for eating or drinking purposes.

On the other hand, jewelry made of pewter is completely safe to wear even if it contains lead.

What are some cons of pewter jewelry?

Pewter has a high melting point, so if you are thinking of buying a pewter ring with a specific design, make sure it has a copper base. Plus it can get tarnished if it comes in contact with chlorinated water. But if you keep these things in mind, you can easily take care of your beautiful and shiny pewter jewelry.

This was the overall regular guide that will protect your pewter from everyday grime and unwanted accumulations. Seek prior professional help if you wish to carry out any other method of organizing your pewter. 

Written by Pulkit D

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