Care for Pewter
4th Nov 2021
The care of pewter is easier than one may think: after use or if your piece appears dirty, simply hand wash your pewter in warm, soapy water with a soft cloth or sponge, then rinse and towel-dry by hand. Towel drying is important to keep water spots from forming. If you live by the sea or in a smoggy environment, atmospheric salts can dull pewter's luster. If you see this happening to your fine pewter, simply wash it as described above, two or three times per year, to help keep the finish intact.
The beauty of pewter is that it's virtually maintenance free. If using on a monthly basis, simply hand wash in soapy water with a cloth or sponge, rinse and towel dry by hand, is all that is needed.
- The surface of pewter will develop a patina over many years.
- Many owners love the patina, as do many collectors and do nothing more than hand wash and towel dry.
Never Do List:
- Never wash pewter in an automatic dishwasher (the temperature and detergent will ruin the finish).
- Never expose pewter to a direct flame or heated surface (tin, the main portion of pewter, melts at 231.88 C & 449.38 F)
- Never wrap pewter directly in paper (brown paper stains, newspaper may bleed, paper will scratch) when moving or storing in the attic, instead wrap the pieces in thin sheets foam or in acid-free tissue and then enclose it in polyethylene bags, then you can wrap the enclosed pieces with paper.
- Never scrub with a brush or metal object.
- Never store acidic liquids or liquors in pewter, instead use for immediate use, (that day), then wash, rinse and dry (storing may etch the surface).
- Never allow your candles to burn into the pewter candle cup of your candlesticks or candelabras.
An Antiqued Finish is done to make modern pewter resemble age old pewter and has a grayed, brownish or blackened finish. This is achieved by applying either heat or chemicals to the pewter surface. Do not use a cleaner or #0000 steel wool on these pieces as it removes the antiqued finish surface.
Cleaning Satin Finish
Pewter with a Satin Finish has a grain from being buffed with a cloth wheel. Using #0000 steel wool and going lightly with the grain of the pewter will take out most mars and some light scratches.
Cleaning Bright Finish
Pewter with a Bright Finish can be polished using either Mish's polish or Sunshine Polishing Cloths. Scratches and scuffs, however, must be polished by a professional. Contact the manufacturer of your pewter, to see if they can rebuff your bright finish.