How to clean / shine pewter?

linnea56October 9, 2013

I bought in the last few weeks several pieces of antique pewter. They are from Belgium and France . The color on a few is very dull. I would like to know if anything can be done to buff them up a bit. I don't expect them to be shiny like silver. It would be nice to have the high points look a bit brighter, though, to give contrast with the deeper details.


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Silver polish will work.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Be careful. Pewter is not like silver. You can easily go from "cleaning" to "ruined for resale purposes" quite quickly. Pewter develops a beautiful patina over the decades. Personally, I don't like to see it "polished".


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Ditto what tricia said. I just wash in mild dish soap and water & then towel dry. Do you have any photos?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:00AM
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When I lived in Philadelphia, I lived next door to a gentleman who worked in pewter, and he said to just hand wash with mild soap, rinse, and be sure to dry. But you also need to know what your pewter was originally supposed to look like. Was it shiny, or satin finish like antique pewter, did it contain lead? If you do use a polish, make sure it is especially for pewter, or it could scratch it. Pewter contains tin which is very soft.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 9:25PM
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I have two pewter steins that I purchased from an artisan in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Pewter can not be "shined" because of its metal make up.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:12PM
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More recent pewter is 85+% of tin with about 1% copper and 5% antimony. Older European pewter might contain some Lead which would account for the very dull finish. Lead has not been used in American pewter for some time especially if is used for cups, steins, plates, etc. Very simply, trying to polish pewter would be futile.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:17PM
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