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Most of us have loads of stuff made of various metals and knowing how to bring them up to their best condition increases their value. So, here are a few more tips for various metals:

BRONZE
LEAVE IT ALONE! Forgive me for raising my voice but this is so important! Bronze should never be cleaned beyond a light dusting with a feather duster. Removing the patina will kill the value of the object. Don't even let your bronzes sit out in a room where cleaning is taking place with any product containing chlorine.

CAST IRON
If you're a collector of old toys, architectural salvage or antique kitchen implements, you're sure to have some things made of cast iron.

If you get a piece of cast iron and it's really funky, spray it with oven cleaner and seal it in a plastic bag. Let it stand for an hour or two and then take it out. You'll now be able to scrub off all the yucky stuff. Just use a synthetic pad instead of a metal one, to avoid scratching the iron.

Preventing Rust: Rust, the ugly surface that appears as a result of contact with the oxygen in air, is the most common problem with cast iron. The way to keep your cast iron rust-free is to prevent its surface from coming into contact with air. You need a barrier. A good coating of mineral oil will do the trick. Warning: if your cast iron object is a pot or pan or any other object that will come into contact with your food, you must use edible mineral oil. There are two kinds of mineral oil, so read the label carefully before using. Heat the pan until it is warm, then rub the mineral oil on with a cloth, and rub it in. To treat objects not being used for food, make sure the object is perfectly dry and warm before putting the oil on it. Use a blow dryer on the hot setting to do this. Just aim and blow. Then apply the mineral oil with a cloth and rub it in.

CHROME
A number of different substances will clean chrome. Whichever you choose, wipe it on with a soft cloth, rub gently, rinse and dry thoroughly.

Rubbing Alcohol
White Vinegar
Leftover Tea
Nail Polish Remover
Turtle Wax Professional Liquid Rubbing Compound - this contains a mild abrasive.

Remove rust from chrome by rubbing it with a wadded up piece of aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola. Yes, Coca-Cola! It's said that Coke truck drivers use it to clean their engines. Think about that the next time you're about to drink it. Anyway, once the rust is removed and the chrome is clean, you can bring up a beautiful shine by polishing the object with a fabric softener sheet.

PEWTER
If what you are trying to achieve with your pewter items is a high shine, you're going to be soooo unhappy! Pewter is supposed to have a warm dull glow, and that's all you're going to get. Bear in mind, too, that pewter is a very soft metal, and vigorous polishing can cause dents or even a hole in the metal.

Some easy ways to clean pewter:

Cabbage - Rub the pewter object with cabbage leaves, then rinse and wipe dry.
Wood ashes - Collect ashes from your fireplace and mix with enough water to make a paste. Rub the paste on your pewter, rinse and dry.
Boiling - Completely submerge your pewter object in a pot of water. Add some dishwasher detergent and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the water cool. Remove the pewter, wash in soapy water, rinse, dry and polish gently with a soft cloth.
Hard Work-Okay, if you're going to feel guilty unless you work hard at this, you can clean your pewter with a soap pad dipped in silver polish. But don't expect it to shine, and be gentle. You'll just get the grime off. Rinse and wipe dry.

See you soon, Metal Maniacs!

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