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Metal Polishing Myths, Half Truths and Lies

2. All metal polishes will protect

Well, polishing will normally protect any surface, to some degree. However, many metal polishes contain ammonia or what is termed anhydrous derivatives. These often appear in new and many old, trusted and established products, including household names.

In fact they are the industry standard, and have recently been proven to cause premature aging of many alloys, especially brass and other copper alloys. Minute cracks and fissures appear after excessive use of ammoniates or anhydrous products.

Also, these chemicals will increase the tarnishing of the piece in the long run, and cause the item to lose its lustre fairly quickly. This means that even in a perfect, stable environment the items will need repolishing. Therefore the manufacturers sell more product.

Polishing with the correct products will increase the life span of any piece if it is done properly, whereas the use of ammonia and anhydrous products has been proven to do the opposite. A few manufacturers use mild acids instead of ammoniates or anhydrous. The result being that the acids etch into the metals instead.

One of the main things that makes anhydrous chemicals so bad, is that they will dissolve Zinc, a major component of brass, and nearly always present on aluminum castings. Zinc is also often used to stop steel from corroding. Anhydrous chemicals can destroy these materials.

The manufacturers that use acids are no better than the others. They still damage your pieces.

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