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topic 12602

How do you clean an old zinc countertop on a hoosier cabinet

Can anyone tell me how I can clean the zinc countertop of an old hoosier cabinet? Thanks so much.

Crystal Kautz
- Pomeroy, Ohio



I have exactly the same question. I just inherited a hoosier. The zinc countertop is stained with globs of paint, glue, and other stuff. How can I clean/restore it? Thanks.

Patrick Bosa
- Exeter, New Hampshire


How do I finish the countertop (tin?) of an antique Hoosier cabinet?

Marilyn Walt
- Westville, Indiana


I found a FAQ on zinc countertops: Minor scratches and mineral streaking can be brushed with a household Scotchbrite pad. Deep scratches may be sanded through the grades up to 220 and buffed with the same pad. Use a circular pattern for a #4 finish or a straight line motion for a machine brush.

Dash Fab
- Ann Arbor, Michigan

July 8, 2008

Hi, My name is CJ, I use my hoosier for counter space, and also have my microwave on it. A friend of mine told me the old zinc can give off poison toxins. Does anyone know if this is true?

Carrie Jo Jordan
professional painter - Kenton, Ohio

July 10, 2008

Hi, Carrie. If you were to weld something that is zinc plated it can vaporize the zinc and cause "metal fume fever", but that requires a temperature of thousands of degrees. It is also true that zinc is not considered a "food-safe surface", which means that the zinc can dissolve into acidic foods. For example, it is considered inadvisable to slice tomatoes on this surface -- but people (apparently including the kitchen servants of the Vanderbilts) have done so for centuries, so it's not like it's an extreme hazard.

Zinc countertops have become fashionable once again despite this problem. So, for counterspace and a microwave, I think your zinc-topped hoosier cabinet is ideal; enjoy it.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 29, 2010

I work at a restaurant with a zinc bar and we use a metal polish called Flitz [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. It takes almost anything off from dark rings from glasses to oxidation.

Anna Zalner
- Madison,Wisconsin, USA

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