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Preserving Metal Items

Published by Guardian on Sat, 04 Aug 2012


DIFFERENT items in the home and office are made of metals or have parts that are made from such materials. Common metals include stainless steel, silver, chrome, copper and gold. Metals can tarnish if not properly cared for. But they share a few general basic rules of maintenance and preservation.General care guidelinesPrevent undiluted liquid dishwashing detergents from coming into direct contact with metal, as it can damage the finish. Do not use abrasive cleaners that can scratch and dull metal surfaces.Unless specified for a particularly durable type of metal, avoid using steel wool or scouring pads to clean.Rub metal with straight, back-and-forth motions, rather than in circles. This helps maintain a uniform appearance.Stainless steelScratches or surface imperfections tend to diminish the stain resistance of stainless steel. Prolonged exposure to salty or acidic foods (fruits, fruit juices, salad dressings, vinegar, milk) may also stain or pit it.Preservation tipsWash stainless steel cookware and utensils soon after use to minimise staining. Ordinary cleaning with water will suffice for stainless steel cookware. For heat stains from the pan's polished exterior, use an all-metal cleaner.ChromeChrome is a highly reflective, silver-coloured metal. Since chrome plating on a metal product may be very thin, it is best not to use highly abrasive polish on it. It is a very soft metal that is susceptible to damage by contact with salt. Similarly, foods containing salt will cause corrosion if they remain on chrome's surface.Preservation tipsThe mildest cleaning method possible should be used for chrome-plated appliances and utensils. Use a soft cotton cloth and mild soap or detergent to remove dirty or sticky substances from chrome surfaces. Use an all-metal cleaner to restore shine.
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