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topic 5777

How to Age Galvanized Steel


Q. How would we dull the finish on a piece of galvanized steel so that it matches other galvanized steel on our house? We've tried wiping on full-strength bleach, vinegar, and CLR [affiliate link to product info at Amazon], but the finish remains new looking. Any ideas for etching it?

Jim Elzinga
- Vesper, Wisconsin


A. WHAT? After all the work that went into making that galvanized steel look so pretty, you want to age it?

Seriously, you should be able to "age" the steel by wiping it with a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid (Muriatic Acid [affiliate link to product info at Amazon]).

It is possible that the galvanize is protected by an acrylic film, and that is why you have not been able to etch it. You can tell by lightly scraping the surface to see if you can lift flakes of the coating off. Normally, acrylic coatings also give a shiny, or glossy look to the metals.

David J. Sugg
Worthington Steel - Malvern, Pennsylvania

similarly 2003

Q. I would like to know of a cheap and rapid way to age new galvanized steel buckets, inside and out? I have heard Clorox bleach heated up-outside will work on steel, will it also work on galvanized?

Stehen John Hodge
manufacturing - Alexandria, Virginia


Q. I want to purposely "age" a new galvanized tank back to look "old". Can anyone advise a simple backyard process ?

thank you.

Dusty Erickson
hobbyist - Scottsdale, Arizona

Ed. note: see also letter 24550, which recommends canned tomatoes.


Q. I need to find a quick and simple (and preferably non-toxic) solution/finish to apply to hot dipped galvanized steel to dull the shiny surface. Any suggestions?

Michael Glenn
Designer - Surry Hills, NSW, Australia

November 23, 2009

A. I work at a Galvanizing Facility doing Safety Compliance. This link should be able to help you out.

Richard E.
- Waco, Texas

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