Make Metal Shine with White Vinegar

Making metal shine is easy and inexpensive. With a little elbow grease and a bottle of white vinegar, you can make any metal shine.

All Metals

Metal can’t shine if it’s covered in rust. To remove rust from metals, soak the items in non-diluted white vinegar.

To clean any metal, making it shine, make a paste of white vinegar and cream of tarter. Rub the paste on to the metal and let it dry on the surface. Once dry, wash the paste off and dry the metal with a soft cloth.


To bring back the shine of aluminum pans that have dark stains, use a white vinegar and water solution. Fill the pan with water, adding one tablespoon of white vinegar per quart of water. Bring the solution to a rapid boil for ten minutes.

Cast Iron

To remove rust from cast iron pans, soak the pans in a two parts white vinegar to one part water solution overnight. Do not leave the pan soaking too long, as the vinegar will dissolve the metal.


Leaving a plastic bag containing one-half to one-third cup of white vinegar tied around faucets with limescale buildup for a few hours will loosen mineral deposits, making them easy to wipe off and shine the metal. If the mineral deposits do not wipe off easily, an old toothbrush dipped in white vinegar will work to loosen them fully.

To clean soap film and stains from chrome, use a solution of two tablespoons of white vinegar and one teaspoon of salt. Rub the solution on to the chrome, rinse and dry.

For larger calcium deposits on faucets, soak a cloth or paper towel in white vinegar and wrap the faucet tightly. Let the cloth sit for a few hours or overnight to remove the calcium deposits, and making the metal shine.


White vinegar can be used to clean brass to a “like-new” condition, removing black and green tarnish. Soak brass in a solution of one part white vinegar to ten parts water. To clean brass lamps, unscrew and soak the pieces in a bucket of the vinegar and water solution.

If the brass is too large to soak, make a paste of flour, white vinegar and salt to rub on the item. After cleaning the brass with the paste, wash, rinse, and wipe the brass dry.

To polish brass, use a mixture of two parts of ketchup to one part of white vinegar. Rub it on with a clean cloth until the brass is dry and shiny.


Bronze can be cleaned to a shine with white vinegar, as well. Make a paste of flour, white vinegar and salt to rub on the bronze. After cleaning the bronze with the paste, wash, rinse, and wipe the bronze dry.


There are a few white vinegar solutions that will make copper shine. A paste of flour, white vinegar, and salt works as a cleaning agent on discolored copper.

Cleaning with white vinegar is way to bring shine back to dull copper pennies. The acetic acid in the white vinegar dissolves the copper oxide layer on the surface of the penny, exposing the bright copper metal underneath. (It should be noted that using white vinegar is not suggested for valuable or collectible copper coins, as it dissolves some of the copper, thus reducing the value of the coins.) Adding a bit of salt to the white vinegar increases the speed of the reaction. A solution of one-half cup of white vinegar to one teaspoon of salt works well.

To polish copper, use a mixture of two parts of ketchup to one part of white vinegar. Rub it on with a clean cloth until the copper is dry and shiny.


To shine pewter, use a one to one ratio solution of white vinegar and table salt. Rub the paste on to the pewter, then rinse and dry the pewter to a brilliant shine.

Stainless Steel

Making stainless steel shine is as easy as dipping a sponge or cloth in white vinegar and rubbing off water spots.

Wash stainless steel pots and pans with one-fourth cup of white vinegar in hot soapy water for a quick shine.

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