Say no to toxic cleaners. Look to your pantry for ways to clean your antiques and collectibles. Ten tips from Kovels:
1. To “uncrush” a beer can, fill it up to the top with dried split peas. Just drop them in the hole, then add water to the top. Let stand and add water again an hour later. In about three hours the swelling peas will push all the dents from the can. Remove the peas or they may keep swelling and crack the can at a weak spot. This works only if the top is on.
2. Toothpaste makes good silver polish. It can also be used to clean ceramic doll faces. A toothbrush makes a good small scrubber.
3. Polish brass with this homemade remedy: Make a paste of equal parts salt, flour, and vinegar. Rub the paste on the brass with a soft cloth. Rinse completely. Buff with a clean, dry, soft cloth.
3. Coca-Cola will remove stain from glazed china.
4. Ketchup is a good emergency copper cleaner.
5. Try the old-time recipe for cleaning copper. Mix lemon juice or vinegar with salt and use as a metal polish.
6. Mahogany furniture can be cleaned with a sponge dipped in equal parts of warm water and white vinegar. Dry with a soft cloth.
7. Gilt frames can be cleaned with beer.
8. Remove the musty smell from a bureau drawer by sprinkling fresh coffee grounds inside. Leave them for 24 hours.
9. To clean a gold leaf frame, rub the gold leaf with a cloth that has been dipped in onion juice. Boil three medium-sized onions in two cups of water until the onions are soft. When the liquid is cool, use it to moisten the cloth.
10. Rub a black walnut on furniture scuffs to make them less noticeable. The walnut will blend into the color of the wood.