Cleaning tin-ware is very simple; use ordinary blackboard chalk and a
dab of water, then make little circles by rubbing the mixure onto the
surface of the tin. When the item is bright then wash it off with
clean water and dry thoroughly so there is no longer any spots or
droplets. This little tid-bit was taught to me by the master tin-
smith at Black Creek Pioneer Village and works very well if you have
the time and it is a period technique.
Tin-ware is actually steel (in our time iron) sheets given a thin
coat of molten tin. Tin is a preservative for the ferrous metal which
when worn or scraped will allow oxidization (rust). When cleaning
your tin-ware, never use harsh chemicals or metalic cleaning utensils
or steel wool. These will quickly remove or degrade the tin coat
whereas the chalk will not.
If a metal cleaner says it brightens and shines, then it is most
likely removing a portion of the tin coating and may be leaving
something behind that you could be consuming or breathing. No-one
wants to leave something like Silvo on their plate or cutlery to be
eaten later if it were missed. Dire and painful consiquences will
Oh, remember to ask and demand lead-free solder.