How to polish pewter?

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    Pewter is an alloy metal that's made of mostly tin with some copper and antimony used to harden it. In cheaper grades of pewter, lead was also added which gives it a bluish undertone. Most pewter today is used for decorative pieces rather than for eating although modern pewter no longer contains lead. Pewter is a lovely addition to any home because it's versatile and beautiful. It comes in styles from early American to ultra modern and just about everything in between.


    Things You'll Need

    * Oxidized Pewter
    * Oxidized pewter usually has a darker finish and has an antique look to it. Just washing with warm water and a mild soap is all you really need to do with this type of pewter.

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    * 1

    Pewter is very easy to care for if you remember what not to do. Certain foods cause the surface of the pewter to become pitted. If you use things with a high acid content such as citrus, tomatoes and certain types of condiments and salad dressings in your pewter, wash it immediately after you use it. Once the surface is marred by pitting, there is no way to restore it. Perhaps a craftsman could do something about melting the surface but the cost would be very prohibitive.
    * 2

    Pewter can't be put in the oven or even placed near a flame. Just 450 degrees will cause it to melt. Also you can't wash pewter in the dishwasher because that water is too hot. You should always wash all of your pewter pieces in warm water and mild dishwashing liquid.
    * 3

    Polished pewter has a lovely shiny smooth finish. You can clean this with a soft cloth and pewter polish that's found where you buy pewter. Use a circular buffing motion to put the paste on and then take it off in the same way. This type of pewter should only need to be polished once or maybe twice a year. In between polishing, just dust it off with a soft rag whenever you dust your other belongings and it should be fine.
    * 4

    Pewter also comes in a beautiful satin finish. This has just a slight hint of a grain to it, like on brushed stainless only much softer. This type of pewter can be cleaned with warm water and, again, a mild dishwashing liquid. Every once in a while (at least every two to three years) you may need to buff this to bring back its original luster. Always use a very light touch and a very fine grade of steel wool. Make sure to buff with the grain or you will cause an ugly scratchy look on the surface.
    * 5

    If you have an antique piece of pewter realize that it may have a very high lead content so be sure to never use it for food. Old pewter forms a dark antique looking patina which experts say you should leave alone. If you try to take it off you will destroy the finish of the piece. You will also take off the protective top layer and subject it to corrosion. Just rinse and dry or dust these pieces and don't let children handle them.

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