Skip to Content

How to Clean Pewter in 6 Easy Steps

How to Clean Pewter in 6 Easy Steps

If you’re wondering how to clean pewter, you’re not alone. After all, when’s the last time you’ve had to do it? Probably never, if we had to guess. That’s why we built this complete guide. Read on to learn more.


Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.


Jump to:

Wondering How to Clean Pewter?

You need to know how to clean pewter if you want to keep this beautiful metal around your home. Thankfully, the process isn’t too tricky, and we’ll show you exactly how to do it.

You only need some water, some dish soap, and a sponge to clean the pewter. The trick lies in the technique.

  1. Prepare your work area
  2. Add dish soap to a bucket
  3. Fill the bucket with hot water
  4. Soak the sponge
  5. Clean your pewter
  6. Dry your pewter

How To Clean Pewter in 6 Steps

Cleaning pewter is straightforward. In general, you don’t need to polish oxidized pewter, so all you have to worry about is keeping it clean and dust-free. These six simple steps will get the job done.

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

Before you start cleaning pewter, you first need to prepare a work area. You’ll be dealing with water, so make sure whichever surface you use is okay with splashes. Many people place the bucket on the floor and sit on a chair in front of it. This way, they can lean over the bucket and reach everything easily.

You’ll need the following:

  • Bucket
  • Dish Soap
  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Cleaning gloves

Clear away clutter and wipe down the surface. Place a mat or plastic on the surface if you want. Pull up a chair if you prefer to sit.  Next, you need to assemble all the pewter pieces you’ll be cleaning. Set them up on a table or somewhere near your cleaning station.

You want to be able to reach them easily without having to move from your comfortable position. Leave a space directly in front of you for your bucket of water.

Don’t forget to keep a soft towel nearby for drying. We recommend not leaving your towel lying next to your bucket, or it will quickly get soaked.

Step 2: Add Dish Soap To a Bucket

Next, you need a bucket and some regular dish soap. The size of your bucket depends on the size of the pewter pieces you’ll be cleaning. For example, a regular bucket will get the job done if you’re cleaning dishware.

However, you’ll need something wider and deeper than that if you’re cleaning a picture frame. You’ll be dipping your pewter in the soapy water, so remember to size your bucket accordingly.

Then, add two to three squirts of regular dish soap to the bucket. You want the water’s surface to get bubbly, but you don’t need the bubbles to overflow the bucket. Go easy on the dish soap.

Step 3: Fill the Bucket with Hot Water

You require hot water to clean pewter. Use tap water and make sure it is hot. Don’t use boiling water. Hot water mixed with soap creates hot soap, and this is a powerful solvent for cleaning almost any surface. That includes pewter.

Hot, soapy water won’t rust your pewter, unlike store-bought metal polishes or acidic wipes. Stick with dish soap and avoid buying stuff from the store. It’s okay to use scented dish soaps as long as they are alcohol-free. 

Step 4: Soak the Sponge

You need a good hand-sized sponge for this job. It should be thick and soft and, well, spongey. Immerse your sponge entirely in the hot soapy water. Let it sit for ten seconds so it can fill with water.

Then, lift the sponge out and give it a good squeeze over the bucket. You want all the excess water out of the sponge. When you’re done squeezing, the sponge should be wet but there shouldn’t be any water dripping off it.

Note that you will want your sponge filled with dripping water if your pewter pieces don’t fit in the bucket. This way you can squeeze water all over them for a thorough cleaning.

Step 5: Clean Your Pewter

You’re ready to start the actual cleaning process. Put on your cleaning gloves and grab the first piece of pewter. Submerge the pewter in the bucket of soapy water. Lift it out and wipe it down with the sponge.

Make sure to wipe with the grain of the metal and run the sponge along any grooves and joints in the piece. This process will help to remove stubborn dirt and dust. If the piece won’t fit your bucket, hold it over the water and use the sponge to drip water on it. Then wipe it down with the sponge.

Step 6: Dry Your Pewter

You want to make sure that all water gets removed from the pewter to prevent it from rusting. Use a soft towel for this job. Don’t use microfiber because it’s not great at absorbing water, but don’t use anything too rough to the touch, either.

Lay the towel on a surface and place the freshly washed pewter piece on top. Wrap the piece with the towel. With the piece wrapped up in the towel, rub it all over.

Pay careful attention to the grooves and seams on the piece. Make sure you get every drop of water. Repeat with every new piece. If your towel starts to get soaked, grab a new one.

Things to Consider

Cleaning pewter is straightforward, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Remember never to use alcohol wipes on pewter, as the alcohol will oxidize the metal.
  • Don’t use the rough scrubbing side of a dish sponge, or it will leave scratches on your pewter.
  • Never use boiling water from a pot or a kettle to clean.
  • Patches of rust can be cleaned and even ground away with soft sandpaper, but not if the pewter is rusted through. 
  • When cleaning pewter, always wear protective cleaning gloves to ensure oils from your hands don’t get onto the metal.

So, How Do You Clean Pewter?

As you can see, cleaning pewter is straightforward. You don’t need to spend money on fancy chemicals or polishes to get the job done. A bucket of soapy water and a sponge will suffice.