How to Clean Pewter is reader supported. This page uses affiliate links and when you click on an affiliate link, and make a purchase, we receive a small compensation at no cost to you. See our disclosure policy for more information.

Pewter has been used for centuries, and the first pieces were found in Egypt in 1450 BC. Pewter was used for decorations and tableware until the creation of porcelain and glassware in the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s an alloy primarily made of tin and small amounts of other metals such as copper or leads to make it more durable. 

Pewter is a beautiful, unique metal that adds a vintage charm to any home décor. If you have any pewter pieces or tableware in your home, you may be wondering about how to care for it. You wouldn’t wash it like any old metal, and you certainly shouldn’t throw it in the dishwasher. 

You may have many types of pewter in your home; depending on the type of pewter, you need to clean it using unique methods. We’ve rounded up the best ways you can clean pewter to keep it looking great and prevent it from developing a dark patina.  

How to clean polished pewter

To begin cleaning pewter, you should always dust your pieces before washing them. Dusting should be a regular occurrence, and you should always wipe it with a microfiber cloth. 

Items you will need to clean your pewter:

Steps to clean general pewter:

  1. Mix a bucket of hot water with a small amount of dish soap
  2. Dip a sponge or a washcloth into your sudsy mix and squeeze out the excess. Begin to wipe your pewter with the sponge or the washcloth to work it into the stains. 
  3. Rinse your pewter with hot water to remove the soap and the grime.
  4. Mix the flour, salt, and vinegar together to create a paste
  5. Dry your pewter thoroughly to remove all excess water using a microfiber cloth. 
  6. Using the soft cloth, spread the paste on your pewter, rubbing gently in a circular motion.
  7. Let the paste sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Rinse the paste from the pewter and dry thoroughly with a microfiber towel.
  9. Inspect your pewter to ensure all soap and grime have been removed. 
  10. After cleaning your pewter, you should polish following the steps below.

Depending on the type of pewter you have in your home, you will need to use different cleaning methods to ensure you don’t damage it. 

How to clean oxidized pewter

Over time, your pewter will oxidize, giving it a beautiful antique look that many people prefer. You never want to polish your oxidized pewter, but you should clean it regularly using the simple technique mentioned above.

How to clean satin pewter

Satin pewter is rougher in appearance than polished pewter, but cleaning it requires a slightly different method.

To clean satin pewter, you will need the following:

Use these simple steps to clean your satin pewter effectively:

  1. Mix a small amount of mild dish soap in warm water in a small bowl or bucket.
  2. Dip your sponge or cloth into the soapy water and rinse off the excess. Begin to gently scrub your satin pewter to clean off grime and excess dust.
  3. Rinse the satin pewter piece to remove the grime and soap.
  4. Dry the pewter piece thoroughly with a microfiber towel
  5. Buff the satin pewter piece gently moving with the grain using the fine steel wool. Only buff your satin pewter once every year. Only use fine steel wool on satin pewter.

How to polish pewter

Making a quick and easy homemade polish for your pewter is a guaranteed way to keep your pewter looking its best.

To make your own polish, you will need:

You can find rottenstone in most hardware stores. Follow these steps to make the polish and polish your pewter. Measure the amounts with how much you think you might need.

  1. Boil a little linseed oil in a small pot. Keep the linseed oil hot until you are ready to mix in the rottenstone.
  2. Mix in an equal amount of rottenstone to the linseed oil.
  3. Once the mixture is of a paste consistency, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool.
  4. Apply the polish to your pewter in gentle circular motions using a soft cloth. 
  5. Do not let the polish sit. Rinse your pewter piece immediately and ensure you have removed all traces of the polish.
  6. Dry the pewter piece with a soft microfiber cloth thoroughly to prevent damage.

Tips for caring for your pewter

To ensure your pewter is kept in peak condition. Follow these simple tips:

  • Keep pewter away from high heat sources. Pewter can melt in high temperatures. The melting point of the pewter is 450 degrees.
  • Do not store pewter in attics or storage facilities. These places do not have the best environment for caring for your pewter.
  • Do not stack pewter without padding to prevent scratches on polished pewter. 
  • Do not use citrus foods in your pewter tableware. Citrus fruits are acidic, and acid can damage the pewter. 
  • Be careful not to use abrasive cleaners on your pewter to avoid damage.

Dusting your pewter pieces and regular care will preserve the finish on your decorative pewter pieces, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for much longer. Pewter will darken over time, but it does not tarnish like silver. It would help to wash it regularly to remove particles and dust that builds up over time. 

These methods can help you preserve and care for your pewter. Many pewter pieces may be sentimental or valuable to you and may be best managed by a professional. There are many cleaners available that can help you clean and preserve your precious pewter.

Make sure you use the proper cleaning method for the specific pewter you own. Follow these simple techniques to ensure you keep your pewter looking great for years.

We have many cleaning articles to help you efficiently clean and care for your homes with everyday household items.