How To Clean Engraved Metal, Nameplates & Plaques

How To Clean Engraved Metal, Nameplates & Plaques

Whether an engraved metal nameplate or plaque is in memoriam, to celebrate a victory, as part of your business signage or for another purpose it is important to clean plaques to keep them looking bright and tarnish free. 

Different types of metals require different cleaning techniques and materials so here is a complete, quick guide on how to clean engraved nameplates, whichever metal they are made of.  

Metalphoto Nameplates and Plaques 

Cleaning Materials

  • Non scratch/non abrasive brush or sponge.
  • Lint free, soft cloth.
  • Pressure washer. 
  • Mild liquid detergent (washing up liquid is ideal).
  • Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.

How to Clean

  • If the metalphoto nameplate/sign/plaque has a lot of oil or wax on it then it may benefit from being rubbed down with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.
  • For dirt, mud and oil begin by using a pressure washer to blast away residue. Leave it to air dry but ensure it is out of direct sunlight. 
  • Use washing up liquid or similar gentle detergent and a sponge or soft bristled brush. 
  • Rinse thoroughly. 
  • Dry completely and buff with a lint free cloth.

Cleaning Tips 

  • Do not leave to soak
  • Rinse detergent immediately
  • Keep out of direct sunlight while washing and drying
  • Rub, wipe and buff in the same direction to keep the finish in tip-top condition

Anodized Aluminium Nameplates and Plaques

Cleaning Materials

  • Damp sponge or soft cloth.
  • Dry towel or cotton cloth.
  • Mild detergent (such as washing up liquid).
  • Hose with spray attachment or pressure washer (on low setting).

How to Clean 

  • Gently sponge and wipe down with mild soapy (use washing up liquid) water.
  • Remove hard to clean dirt that did not come off with a damp, soapy sponge or cloth with water spray from a pressure washer or hose. 
  • Dry quickly and thoroughly to prevent watermarks.

Cleaning Tips

  • Do not use chemical or abrasive cleaners as they may react with the anodized surface. 
  • Regular wiping down with a damp cloth and drying with a soft dry cloth (tea towels are great) will help prevent build up of dust and grease and so prolong the life and quality of the anodized aluminium surface.

Aluminium Nameplates and Plaques 

Cleaning materials 

  • Gloves to prevent finger marks.
  • Damp cloth.
  • Soft bristled brush or non-scratch sponge scourer for tough dirt. 
  • Mild liquid detergent (washing up liquid).
  • Slice of lemon, dipped in salt.
  • Dry lint free or cotton cloth for drying/buffing.
  • Cream of tartar.

How to Clean 

  • Remove tough dirt with a brush or sponge scourer.
  • Wash with a cloth, mild detergent and water.
  • Remove dark, tarnished areas by rubbing with a lemon dipped in salt.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry and buff with a dry cloth.
  • For ultimate shine use a small amount of cream on tartar on a soft, damp cloth and rub in circular motions.
  • Buff with a lint free cloth (don’t forget gloves to prevent finger marks)

Cleaning Tips 

  • Aluminium can get very hot so don’t leave it in the sun or use water that is too hot or the metal could burn you. 

Stainless Steel Nameplates and Plaques 

Cleaning Materials

  • Soft bristled brush or sponge.
  • Mild liquid detergent (such as dishwashing liquid).
  • Glass cleaner/ammonia/vinegar
  • Microfibre/lint free cloth

How to Clean 

  • Use soapy water to wet the sponge or brush and clean gently.
  • Dry thoroughly.
  • For more shine use a very small amount of glass cleaner/vinegar/ammonia on a lint free cloth and buff.

Cleaning Tips

  • Following the grain on stainless steel can prevent dulling the natural shine. 
  • Going with the grain will also help remove small bits of dust etc from within the tiny grooves.

Brass and Bronze Nameplates and Plaques

Cleaning Materials 

  • Homemade brass and bronze cleaner: ½ tsp salt and 100ml vinegar, add flour to make a paste.
  • 2x Lint free, microfibre cloths; 1 damp, 1 dry.

How to Clean 

  • Remove surface dirt with a damp cloth.
  • Use a dry cloth to rub in the homemade brass cleaner in small, circular motions and leave for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Buff dry. 

Cleaning Tips 

  • Always make sure dirt and particles are cleaned off brass and bronze before polishing to avoid scratching it.
  • Do not use harsh, chemical cleaners or abrasive cloths or brushes.

For further advice on caring for your engraved metal nameplates or plaques or to have something engraved get in touch with us at Furnells and we’ll be happy to help.

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