Metal Polishes and Cleaners

Common hazardous ingredients:
Ammonia, denatured alcohol, naphtha, oxalic acid, petroleum distillates, phenolic derivatives, phosphoric acid, silica, sulfuric acid, thiourea, tripolyphosphate

Potential hazards:
Irritant; flammable; toxic; many aluminum cleaners contain hydrofluoric acid, which is extremely corrosive to the skin. It can cause blindness and is toxic.

Use and storage:
Avoid using products that contain hydrofluoric acid. Use according to label instructions. Keep containers tightly closed when not in use. Store in a locked cabinet or out of reach of children and pets.


  • Best: Use up or give away. Dispose of empty container in the garbage.
  • Second Best: Hold for a household hazardous waste collection. In Oregon, call 1-800-732-9253 to find out if there is a hazardous waste collection event scheduled in your community, or call your garbage hauler, local government solid waste department or the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality at (503) 229-5913 or toll-free at 1-800-452-4011.


For chrome

  • Wipe with a soft cloth dipped in vinegar. Rinse with water and dry.
  • To make chrome fixtures shine brightly, wet with water and rub with newspaper.

For copper and brass

  • Make a paste of lemon juice and salt. Rub with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry.
  • To retard tarnish, rub brass with a cloth moistened with olive oil after polishing.
  • Cover articles to be cleaned with catsup. Let stand for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly and dry.

For silver

  • Rub object gently with toothpaste, using a cotton ball to avoid scratching. Rinse well with water. Caution: Test first on an inconspicuous area.
  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a pan, add enough hot water to cover object to be cleaned, and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt or baking soda. Wait a few minutes until silver is shiny again, then remove, rinse and buff dry with a soft cloth. Caution: Do not use this method on silver plate. Test first.

For stainless steel

  • Use baking soda, olive oil or mineral oil for shining.
  • To clean and polish, moisten cloth with vinegar and wipe clean.

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