The Unexpected Vegetable That Will Get Your Pewter Sparkling Clean In No Time

Family heirlooms are priceless items, but these older items can pose a significant challenge to maintain when compared with newer items. Pewter utensils and dishes are some such pieces. Despite its beauty, pewter is prone to discoloration due to oxidization (despite common belief, pewter does not tarnish as silver does), which can leave the items dull and make you less likely to keep them in regular rotation. In addition to looking rather grungy, severely oxidized metal can become weakened over time and may even break down and develop holes, making regular maintenance cleaning a necessity. There are numerous ways to successfully clean pewter, including specialty polishes, but for simpler and less expensive results you can turn to an unassuming vegetable — cabbage.

To clean your pewter using cabbage, you will need but a few items: White vinegar, salt, and cabbage (preferably white, not purple, cabbage). Take a large cabbage leaf, dip it into the white vinegar, then sprinkle some salt onto the wet leaf, and begin scrubbing the pewter with the humble vegetable. In just moments, the discoloration should disappear and a gleaming piece should be left in its stead.

Should you try this trick at home?

It can be easy to get excited about restoring older items with natural ingredients, but the cabbage approach to cleaning your pewter may not be the best solution for every item. Most pewters are made from a combination of tin, antimony, and copper. Pewter's composition makes it a fairly soft metal, meaning it doesn't take much effort to damage; it can be easily scratched with abrasive cleaning tools and solutions. Additionally, pewter can be rather finicky — even storing it at the wrong temperature and humidity level for long periods can damage it. If you are unsure how ancient — or in what condition — your pewter is, turning to a professional may be best.

Should you find yourself itching to clean your great-grandma's pewter serving platter, but are wary of taking too aggressive an approach, just stick with the basics and avoid alleged cleaning hacks to polish your pewter. Very warm water, dish soap, and a microfiber cloth will effectively clean most pewter pieces. Rub the microfiber cloth over the surface of the pewter after allowing it to sit in the soap water for a few minutes. Once the item is shining, dry it with a new microfiber cloth, moving in back-and-forth motions.