Thursday, June 28, 2012

Restoring Your Shower Metal

In my last entry, I discussed a preventative solution offered by American Glass & Mirror for avoiding imperfections on your shower door glass. This time I'll delve into what can be done to maintain and recapture the sheen of any metal hinges, clips, or u-channel supporting your shower.

Hardware comes in a wide variety of finishes (brushed nickel, satin chrome, antique bronze, etc.), but all of them are equally susceptible to developing water spots or soapy buildup. In addition, many of them have special finishes which become tarnished when cleaned with the harsh astringents contained in many household cleaners. Fortunately, there are cheap and simple solutions to restoring metal to its original luster. A simple mixture of dish soap and warm water is a good starting point. If a more potent concoction is required, head to the kitchen for a bit of white or cider vinegar. Mix a ½ cup of vinegar with the same amount of warm water in a spray bottle. Apply the solution and let it sit for about 30 seconds. With a damp cloth, scrub the surface clean, then rinse thoroughly with clean water – left over vinegar could eat away at the metal! Wipe the metal dry when you've finished.

There are many variations to this method: rubbing lemons on the metal, applying ketchup – you can utilize anything moderately acidic. Try more than one if you're not getting the results you desire. In instances of rust or heavy corrosion more drastic measures may need to be taken. For some finishes, such as chrome, scrubbing with aluminum foil doused with vinegar can be the ticket.

One exception to the vinegar approach is oil-rubbed bronze, a very popular finish at the moment. Using anything beyond soap and water could alter its unique appearance. In order to retain the vintage character of this material, I would advise applying a layer of carnauba wax (also known as Brazil wax) to the metal and then buffing with a soft cloth after the wax has dried.

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