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topic 10366

Removing Coating on Bronze Flatware


I have many pieces of bronze flatware, some of which have a coating which is spotted and peeling, and I cannot polish the pieces. Some of it is Dirilyte/Dirigold and they use a coating which I have tried many methods to remove. What can I use to remove the coating and what should I use to polish the pieces afterward?

Belinda E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rockville, Maryland


I have just purchased some Dirigold (bronze) flatware. It's beautiful stuff! Maas metal polish [affil. link to product info on Amazon] works good for cleaning. You have to sit there and polish but the results are extraordinary! Happy polishing!

Michael Ann M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rockford, Illinois


Years ago we acquired a set of "A.B. Dirigold / Sweden" gold-plated flatware. Now I want to clean the set. What product, or procedure, would you recommend?

Rich B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lenexa, Kansas


The Dirilyte company still sells their polish. They also offer a refinishing service where they remove the BP (bonded protectant) coating and polish the flatware.

Alfred B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Memphis, Tennessee


I own an extensive collection of Dirilyte Flatware. It is a bronze alloy, (I believe nickel/bronze) and if badly tarnished, can be cleaned with Brasso [affil. link to product info on Amazon], but wash before using. Maas metal polish [affil. link to product info on Amazon] also makes a great polish for this, as does DIRILYTE. Both on line and inexpensive. The BP stamped on reverse pieces are suppose never to be cleaned, but that's not always the case. Dirilyte will not tell you how to remove it, and heavy abrasives will scratch the finish. They will remove it for you, but at a price !

Kenneth F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Marietta, Georgia


I have recently inherited some Dirilyte Dirigold flatware, and have purchased their polish. Can I put this flatware in the dishwasher, or should it always be washed by hand? Thanks!

Gail H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
consumer - Lakeville, Massachusetts


This is a response to the inquiry about putting Dirilyte/Dirigold in the dishwasher. NO! Always wash and dry by hand. Also, do not store in plastic bags or Saran wrap or foil. Wrap the pieces in untreated flannel (not anti-tarnish flannel or felt used to store sterling and silverplate). I made up some plain flannel wraps which are rectangles with pockets added and each rectangle holds a place setting of pieces and can be rolled up and tied for storage. No scratches or oxidation so far and they are always clean and ready to use. Make sure pieces are completely dry before storing.

I'm still working on removing the damaged coating from my pieces. I will try the boiling water method that has been posted here because nothing else seems to work. I did get a quote of $3.00 per piece to clean and polish and removal of damaged finish if required, but multiplied x many pieces it gets expensive when you add on postage both ways.

While I am here, I have a salt shaker (Dirilyte) that was stored with salt inside and the screw off lid no longer can be turned. I have tried everything I can think of, but I fear a chemical reaction with the bronze, salt and moisture has oxidized and fused the top and bottom together. Any suggestions are welcome!

Belinda E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rockville, Maryland

Ed. note: Liquid Wrench [affil. link to product info on Amazon] is inedible, of course, but it's made for just this kind of problem.


I have inherited 350 pieces of Dirigold, and had the pieces, not the flatware, finished with BP in the 50's.....To remove the finish so you can polish the pieces, cover the piece with water, and boil it....The finish will dissolve and be removed....polish with a buffer and jeweler's rouge [affil. link to product info on Amazon]....Also, copper cleaner will do a pretty good job, but will not give the mirror finish that is so beautiful. After polishing with the buffer, spray the piece with brass lacquer [affil. link to product info on Amazon]. If it doesn't work, boil it again and start over. Dirigold is solid all the way through. Just thought I'd put in my 'cent's worth'....

Betsy F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Danbury, Wisconsin


Received Dirigold and Dirilyte from an estate sale as a gift--have tried several ways to clean it. Son-in-law is son of a chemist and recommended several treatments to clean--this one works! Line a loaf pan in couple of layers of aluminum--don't have to be neat--put in several inches of white vinegar, and a handful of salt--put in your Dirigold, and gently move pan to keep liquid in motion--after several minutes, use clean soft cloth and clean and dry each piece--don't let them sit outside of pan--he spots reappear. So lift out each piece separately to dry..stubborn spots can be cleaned with SimiChrome [affil. link to product info on Amazon], Maas metal polish [affil. link to product info on Amazon], or Peek [affil. link to product info on Amazon]. . . did my whole box full of 12 place settings in under an hour!

Eve M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Copper, California


Hello. I tried the boiling water to remove the BP coating-didn't remove it. I have already tried the Liquid Wrench on the salt shaker and it didn't work. I tried vinegar solution, putting it in the freezer and then immersing the top in boiling water (the expand-contract theory), double wrenching, lime-a-way, sewing machine oil, boiling the whole shaker. It is still stuck tight. It is the tall Dirilyte shaker and the construction of the top and bottom pieces doesn't really allow access to the area between the 2 sections. Now it has become a challenge and I will keep experimenting. I did hear from someone at sometime that there is something at the hardware store that will remove the BP from the silverware, but I can't remember what it is.

Belinda E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rockville, Maryland


I inherited my mother-in-law's Dirilyte/Dirigold and have it all polished and ready to use. I intended to store it in Crate and Barrel felt wrappings. But I just read on this site that it should not be stored in either felt or in anti-tarnish and I would like to know what harm this would cause.

Gail W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
sculpture - Nokomis Florida


My change to the above vinegar post.
Line a pan with a couple of layers of aluminum--don't have to be neat--put in 1 qt. med. to hot water tap water, and 1/2 cup salt--1/2 cup/ water softener powder like trisodium phosphate [affil. link to product info on Amazon], mix well, put in your Dirigold, and gently move pan to keep liquid in motion, rinse well under running water I rinse by hand to make sure all the soap and salt is removed) and dry immediately.

DO a test of one or two pieces before you start, the water must feel slippery, if not add more TSP.

Larry E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]


My mother has a set of Dirilyte with a lacquer finish, the polish she was going to use says NOT to use on Dirilyte with a lacquer finish. Any suggestions as to what she can use?
Thank-you for your help,

Jennifer K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Consumer - Fountain, Minnesota


Dear Readers,

I just finished reading, with some amusement, the previously posted comments on this site concerning the polishing of Dirigold flatware. *Warning* Most of you will be in shock after reading the following: There is no mystery to polishing Dirigold! I tried many of the techniques previously described with no luck. So, what I did was take a fork that had considerable damage from pitting and years of neglect that I thought was essentially garbage. WRONG! Remember, Dirigold is a solid bronze and you can polish it all day long and never rub through any plating (with exception of the lacquer finish). Simply take a green kitchen brillo pad and in the same direction length wise, rub the flatware until any scratches or tarnish is gone. DO NOT RUB IN CIRCLES OR CROSS WISE! This will, of course, create fine scratches while at the same time removing deeper scratches, pits, and tarnish. Next, take 00 0000 steel wool [affil. link to Rockler], pour Brasso [affil. link to product info on Amazon] or any other copper polish on the steel wool and in the same fashion as described with the brillo pad, rub the flatware until the scratches from the brillo pad are reduced to much finer scratches produced by the 00 steel wool. Next, use 0000 steel wool and repeat the process as just described for the 00 steel wool. Finally, using any old rag and more Brasso, polish the flatware until the desired finish is achieved. It took hours of trial and error to come up with this method but the results are spectacular! The finish is so highly polished that you can take a large serving spoon outside and see the reflection of the clouds in the sky! This method is incredibly hard on the hands! It takes about 1 hour of constant polishing for each piece and believe me your hands will ache. NOTE! I have only used this method on the Regal pattern marked Dirigold. But I imagine it will work on other Dirigold products. I'm sure there are "experts" who are still shaking their heads. This skepticism is probably fueling the price that professional polishers charge for polishing this flatware. I'm going to be taking before and after pictures for anyone who would like to see them. Good luck with the workout!

John H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Salt Lake City, Utah


John H of Salt Lake posted that Dirigold is solid bronze. If so, what is Dirilyte made up of and can I polish it in the same fashion as Mr. Hone described for Dirigold?

Christine L [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
no company name - Delray Beach, Florida


I have a set of Dirilyte, prob. purchased late 'thirties, early forties. It is badly tarnished and the special polish does not restore it. Is there a way to fix this? Can pieces be "repolished"? At what cost? Where?

Christine S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Homeowner - Wichita, Kansas

I have a set of bronze flatware. It has some spots, generally silver in color, and mostly on the knives. Is there a way to restore it to unspotted beauty? Also, one fork broke between the handle and the tines. Is there a way to repair that fork?

Karen S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
consumer - Fort Wayne, Indiana


In response to all these "do it yourself" techniques for Dirilyte/Dirigold (same company, same product). I have not tried any of the liquid suggestions but I do know that using a buffing wheel and white chrome rouge (a very, very fine jewelers rouge)will put an unbelievable shine on your Dirilyte/Dirigold items - and it will remove the Bonded Protectorant (BP finish). In response to the person who wants to know why you shouldn't use plastic/pacific cloth (the felt used for silver and gold), etc., it is because the bronze alloy in the Dirilyte/Dirigold reacts chemically with them and they tarnish a lot faster. I have used Maas polish on my holloware items and they have stayed beautiful for a long time, even while "out" to be seen every day. It also works beautifully on the flatware and you don't have to wash it before you eat with it if it's polished properly (so there is no residue left to be seen).

Patricia T [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- High Point, North Carolina

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