How to Clean Zinc

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Zinc is a very popular material that is preferable for many objects or things, including jewelry, decoration items, countertops, and others. In fact, zinc is a form of reactive metal that consists of a blue-grey hue.

It will then develop the hazy-grey patina over time. The patina evolves gradually in zinc products. The countertops made out of zinc have no coating over them. It is pure metal!

However, cleaning zinc is different from that of other materials or metals. It is because of its unique properties and presence of patina. Therefore, an ideal cleaning approach is essential for zinc. 

How to Clean Zinc

Natural patina intends to form over unsealed zinc. It is a form of coating over the zinc surface.

Patina is easy to remove from the surface of zinc, but most people admire its presence. The presence of patina gives a rustic feel to the zinc object or material.

Therefore, if someone desires to get a rustic and industrial feel out of the zinc objects, then they should consider preserving patina. And it can be done only with the rightful cleaning approach. 

Therefore, refer to this guide and learn how to clean zinc properly. You just need to keep in mind that you have to follow all the steps appropriately to ensure the rightful approach.

a pile of tin cans

Method 1: Cleaning Patina Over Zinc Surface Without Removing It

Patina doesn’t replicate the same appeal on all zinc pieces. It tends to give a unique feel to your object as well. This also changes color over time while it starts to develop.

Expect there to be design changes also! The unsealed zinc objects will eventually have more patina as they age. 

Therefore, preserving it with ideal cleaning is an utmost concern for most people. The zinc objects develop a patina over them in about 1-2 years.

And if you are using any kind of wrong cleaning approach or products, the patina will deteriorate. Any minute accident might deteriorate the look of the zinc object that you desire.

Therefore, here are the steps for you to clean the patina finish of zinc without risking its removal:

Step 1: Get the Supplies Ready  

  • Mild soap solution or Windex Cleaning solution
  • A clean rag or cloth. 

These essentials are important when you seek daily cleaning of the zinc. The process is not time-consuming and protects the patina of zinc as well.

Step 2: The Process Of Cleaning

  1. You can either get a Windex solution or prepare a water & soap solution at home. 
  2. For preparing your own cleaning solution, you need to mix mild soap with water. Stir it well, and you will have your cleaning solution ready. 
  3. Use the cloth or rag to soak it in the solution. Wring out the excess solution from it.
  4. Now wipe the cloth over the zinc surface with gentle pressure. It will wipe clean the dirt, dust, and debris over the surface of zinc. 
  5. If your cloth starts to get visibly dirty, then it is time for you to change the rag or cloth and proceed with a clean one. 
  6. If you are cleaning any kind of zinc jewelry, you can prefer using a toothbrush for better cleaning. Repeat the same process if necessary.

Method 2: Cleaning Zinc With the Use of Baking Soda

Baking Soda is a robust cleaning agent and ideal for zinc surfaces. And you can count on it for your deep cleaning needs.

In addition to that, if your zinc object has some critical stains and dirt over it, then baking soda is an ideal remedy. Here are the steps to help you approach it:

  1. It would be best to use a big bowl first, which will be the container for preparing the paste. 
  2. Pour baking soda into the container, and then slowly & simultaneously, you can add water into it. 
  3. Keep stirring the solution within the container until it turns out to be a paste. 
  4. You need to have a cleaning brush, toothbrush, or a clean cloth. Use any of them as your cleaning tool, and dip it in the paste or formula you have. But, it would be best if you kept in mind that you should not prefer a hard-bristled brush over the zinc surface. 
  5. Apply the paste over the surface of zinc thoroughly.
  6. Rub and scrub the paste gently to remove all the dirt, dust, and debris from the zinc surface. 
  7. In the end, you will need a damp cloth for cleaning up the surface after all the rubbing & scrubbing is over. 
toothbrushes with baking soda on the side

Method 3: Cleaning Zinc With a Toothpaste

Toothpaste is yet another product that has the potential to clean your zinc surface deeply. Getting an idea of all the household cleaning options for zinc surfaces is highly recommendable.

This will be convenient for you. So, here are the steps for you to carry on this method of cleaning zinc:

  1. Do not prefer to use any gel-like toothpaste. Instead, you should use only the standard forms of toothpaste. 
  2. You need to directly apply it over the zinc surface that you wish to clean. 
  3. You can use a toothbrush, cleaning brush, or a clean cloth as your tool. 
  4. Use it to rub the paste over the zinc surface and clean out the debris, dirt, and accumulations over it. 
  5. You might observe dust and dirt popping out from the surface textures of zinc. 
  6. In the end, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the entire zinc object or surface, to remove the cleaning residues. 
  7. Now, you will find a clean and new-like zinc object. 

Method 4: Cleaning Zinc With the Use of Lemon or Vinegar

When there are discussions about cleaning some essentials, lemon or vinegar will never stay behind the tracks. Vinegar and lemon are acidic and highly proficient in terms of cleaning outcomes.

And with research and practical uses, it is proven that they can help with the cleaning of zinc as well. The steps include:

  1. You need to pick between vinegar or lemon as your cleaning solution. If you choose to use vinegar, then consider using plain and white vinegar. For the lemon juice, you will need just 1 or 2 lemons that are cut in half. 
  2. Make arrangements for any old rag or a clean cloth. 
  3. Lemon juice or vinegar solutions are safe to use on the patina. To know more about patina, you can go through this write-up. 
  4. Place the zinc item over an old rag if it is too big for cleaning. For small pieces of jewelry, you can use paper towels to place them on the floor. 
  5. Whether you have chosen lemon or vinegar, you need to scrub the surface of the zinc item with it. If you have selected lemon, then take its slices and rub them against the surface of the zinc item. And if you have prepared a vinegar-water solution, then use a gentle brush to scrub the surface of the zinc object with it. 
  6. After loosening and removing all the dust & debris from the surface of the zinc item, you need to clean it with the use of a cloth or paper towel. 
  7. Soak a paper towel or cloth with clean water and wipe the surface of the zinc object. 
  8. Remove all the cleaning solutions from the surface of zinc. 
  9. Now, you have to pat dry it with a dry paper towel or cloth. 
A toothbrush with toothpaste on top

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is It Easy for the Zinc Metal to Scratch?

Zinc is very soft and is not that durable as steel and other materials. Therefore, it is pretty easy for zinc surfaces to experience a scratch. These imperfections are also appreciated over-the-countertops on priority.

It is because these scratches give out a rustic and antique charm. To know more about the benefits of opting for a zinc countertop, you can check this article out.

Does Zinc Have Tarnishing Problems?

Yes, like copper and most metals, zinc alloy also has tarnishing possibilities. Therefore, to help such conditions, you must try to keep the zinc items away from wet or moist conditions, especially jewelry pieces.

When you are not using your zinc items, you just need to store them in air-tight containers or packets. 


You need to keep in mind that zinc is one of the most favorable pieces of metal, useful in various items. The appeal of zinc is quite mesmerizing, and the pricing is also nominal for it.

Therefore, it becomes more important to put effort into maintaining its charm. And to do so, master the cleaning approaches, and take the initiative to preserve your zinc items. 

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.