How to Clean Engraved and Etched Metal Plates

Cleaning Etched Metal PlatesEngraved and etched metal plates are similar in many ways, and are also different in quite a few ways as well. Some of the differences that these two have include how these are made, with etching being a chemical process and engraving being a physical process. Also worth mentioning is that when it comes to the lines created using these two marking methods, engraving is said to create crisper and sharper lines, while etching creates softer and more fluid lines, much like the lines you create with your hand.

Despite these differences though, these two are pretty similar in many ways. For one, these have deep lines cut into the material that was used for the plate. These deep lines created via either method can also be filled with ink or paint to give the nameplate a more defined look. Also, these deep lines, if left without being cared for or maintained, can gather quite a bit of dirt and grime over time. This is where these two plates have another similarity, and that is in how to clean them

How can you clean both etched and engraved plates? First you will need to consider the kind of metal that was used in the manufacture of such a plate.

For brass, you can use a mixture of fine salt, vinegar and flour. These can be made into a kind-of paste, then rubbed onto and into the metal to remove any tarnish and dirt on it. The paste should be left on your brass plates until this dries, then can be wiped off with the use of a clean rag and warm water. If you can run the plate under a stream of warm water, then that would be better.

For stainless steel, omit the salt (since this can scratch the surface of the metal) and instead, use either your standard grease-removing dishwashing soap, or plain white vinegar. Simply wipe off the dirt from the surface of the metal nameplate with a damp rag that is dipped in either of these two cleaning agents.

For aluminum, you can also use the same cleaning method as stainless steel, since these two are generally alike. After you’ve cleaned the surface, you will usually notice that the grooves that were made by either etching or engraving will have some dirt and grime in them. Since wiping these down won’t remove the dirt in these lines, you will need to get your hands on a wooden cuticle stick. Dip the end of this stick in either a solution of dishwashing liquid and some water, or just plain vinegar, and start gouging out the dirt found inside these deep lines. To buff the inside of these lines once the dirt is removed, use the same stick but wrap the pointy end in tissue or a thin piece of cloth and buff away.

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