How to Clean a Metal Surface

Larry Amon

Cleaning metal surfaces requires slightly different approaches depending on the particular type of metal. Wherever you find metal surfaces, such as in a house, boat or car, carefully identify the metal and clean it according to its specific needs.

stainless steel


Don't use rubber gloves when cleaning silver because rubber corrodes silver.

  1. Determine what type of metal you will be cleaning. Each type of metal surface has different methods that work best.

  2. Wash with warm water. Use a soft cloth for gold or gold-plated surfaces to wipe clean. Do nothing further on gold surfaces.

  3. Apply cleaner. Add in soap to the warm water to wash chrome faucets, fixtures and other bathroom surfaces. Don't use ammonia, bleach or other chemical cleaners that can damage the finish. For stainless steel, use a stainless steel cleaner. Spray copper with distilled white vinegar. Mix baking soda and lemon juice to the consistency of toothpaste to clean brass.

  4. Rub in the cleaner or material with a nonabrasive cloth. On stainless steel, wipe with the grain. On the copper, sprinkle some salt on the copper. Rub gently and don't push in the salt.

  5. Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes and then rinse with warm water. Wipe the entire surface dry. Buff the shine into dull silver with a soft cotton cloth.