Culture & Lifestyle / DIY: Handy Cleaning Tips For Your Silver, Brass And More!

DIY: Handy Cleaning Tips For Your Silver, Brass And More!

Culture & Lifestyle Jan 05, 2017

Ever wonder how your mom kept the silver and brass sparkling? Here are our five tips on how to do just that!

Growing up in a Desi home, this writer has witnessed some ingenious techniques to keep everything from silver jewelry to clothes irons sparkling using simple, common household products.

Here’s a list of handy tricks to put that extra bit of shine on some common Desi household items.

1. Silver Jewelry

Use toothpaste to clean silver jewelry.
Photo Credit:

If it’s not worn close to the skin regularly, silver jewelry tends to tarnish and become dull. To bring back its original lustre, grab a toothbrush and toothpaste and gently scrub those earrings, chains or bangles until the shine returns. Simply wash off the excess foam with tap water and you’ll find your silver pieces looking as good as new. This technique also works on silver trays, glasses or silverware.

Plain white toothpaste works best. Gels don’t deliver the same results. Also, be sure to store your silver-cleaning toothbrush away from the toothbrushes you use for your teeth!


2. Brass Idols and Ornaments

Lime and salt keep brass idols shiny as new.
Photo Credit:

Many of us grew up with household shrines featuring brass idols or decorative brass statuettes adorning our homes. To ensure these pieces stay shiny, cut a lime in half and dip the cut end in sea salt. Use this wedge to scrub the brass object thoroughly.

Squeeze the wedge as you go and dip it in salt periodically as needed until you’ve scrubbed the entire item clean. Wash away the lime and salt with tap water and dry with a paper towel or soft cloth napkin to avoid water stains.


3. Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers can get grungy with caked-on food.
Photo Credit:

The ubiquitous pressure cooker is a Desi home staple, and it’s definitely put through its paces regularly — whether for cooking up daals, steaming idlis or simply boiling potatoes.

With constant use, your pressure cooker can get pretty grungy, and no amount of scrubbing with dish soap seems to get it clean enough. To dislodge any caked-on food residue and remove lingering stains, fill the pressure cooker about halfway with water. Cut a lime in half, squeeze some of its juices into the water, and add the lime halves to the water as well.

Close the cooker, attach its whistle and place the cooker on the stove on high heat until it whistles about three to four times. Turn off the heat, let it cool, and release all the built-up steam. Empty the contents and give it a quick rinse with tap water to reveal a clean, glistening and freshly citrus-scented pressure cooker!


4. Pots, Pans and Tawas 

Caked-on grease is easy to dislodge with hot water and vinegar.
Photo Credit:

South Asian cooking can lead to some stubborn masala stains and, if you’re like this writer, burns and charred grease as well!

To easily dislodge these stains with minimal elbow grease, pour a cup of water into the pot or skillet and a tablespoon of white vinegar. For larger pots, increase the amount of water, keeping the proportion of water to vinegar the same.For a shallow dish like a tawa or pan, just a few tablespoons of water and half a tablespoon of vinegar will suffice. Bring the water to a rolling boil on the stove and let it sit on high heat for a few minutes. Switch off the stove, carefully discard the boiling water and cool the pot with cold running water. Wash as usual with your regular dish soap.The stains and burned-on food will wash away very easily with just a light scrubbing.


4. Clothes Iron

Burn marks on a clothes iron can transfer onto your clothing.
Photo Credit:

We’ve all been there: burned a shirt or singed a sheet while ironing the laundry, leaving a big, dark mark on the surface of the iron that will surely transfer onto your favourite white blouse. Cleaning off the mark can be tricky since washing an electrical appliance is hardly safe or smart! But removing burned-on textiles and dark residue from an iron’s surface is fairly simple. All you need is a candlestick and a dish rag.Plug the iron in on a low setting and let it heat up. If you have a steam iron, don’t fill it with water. In the meantime, fold the dish rag a few times and hang it on one edge of your ironing board. Be sure to unplug the iron before this next step. Holding the candlestick from one end, rub it on the heated surface of the iron and allow the wax to coat the surface. Be careful not to clog the steam holes on the iron’s surface while you do this step.

While the molten wax is still warm, wipe it off by gliding the iron over the dish rag against the edge of the ironing board. Alternatively, you can use the folded dish rag to simply wipe off the surface. While this is a tricky manoeuvre, it’s highly effective. The stains and burned textile will easily slide off with the hot wax, leaving you with a clean iron and no risk of ruining other garments.

Please exercise extreme caution while dealing with hot irons. Do not, under any circumstances, touch the iron’s surface while it’s plugged in or hot.


Main Image Photo Credit:

Original Post Date: September 10, 2016 


Dilshad Burman

Dilshad Burman


Dilshad Burman is an award winning TV host and Canadian media personality.   Born in Mumbai, India, she was surrounded by its creative energy and grew up with a passion for music, film and television. While completing her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from The University of Mumbai, she i...