How to Start Cleaning and Polishing
Looking to put a shine on things? Whether you want to revamp your valuables, give an old bike a new lease of life or simply combat limescale in the kitchen, your Dremel tool and its accompanying accessories will help you. In this beginner’s guide to cleaning and polishing, you’ll find all the basics covered. From identifying the exact material and dirt you are about to clean – that all-important first step – right up until that final shine-inducing buff, this guide will take you by the hand, so you can make your favourite objects look their best.
Know your metal
Different metals require different cleaning and polishing approaches. To determine the metal type, start with the most obvious features: colour and shine. Weight and sound can also help identify your metal. For instance, gold is heavier than brass. Did you know that brass sounds like a bell when you tap it? A magnet will help determine whether your metal is ferrous (magnetic) or non-ferrous. Even the sparks a metal makes when you hold it against a grindstone provide you with useful information: carbon steel gives off bright-white sparks, whereas stainless steel sparks are a mix of white and straw colours.
Using a Dremel versus conventional cleaning products
Cleaning is often a chore, and it can be hard work too. It’s the friction between the cloth or brush and the surface of your object that lifts the dirt out of surfaces and reduces minor scratches. Therefore, the more you rub, the cleaner the surface gets. By using a Dremel tool instead of conventional cleaning tools, cleaning is faster, easier and more fun. Try matching a Dremel tool’s RPM while cleaning with your hands! Furthermore, the tiny hairs on a Dremel brush can reach the narrowest of grooves and ridges, meaning that you get a much better result.
Choose the right cleaning and polishing accessories
Go for the right accessories to get your cleaning or polishing project off to a flying start. Here’s how to decide:
1 Choose the material
To clean hard materials, such as plastic or steel, use one of the stronger nylon or carbon steel brushes. To prevent marks on delicate materials, such as bronze or gold, a softer brass brush is the way to go. To bring out the shine, use the white polishing accessories.
2 Choose your project’s purpose
Not every cleaning project is the same. There are separate accessories for removing rust, degreasing, descaling or simply polishing.
Our Comparative Fact Sheet will help you further.
Use a polishing compound
For that coveted as-good-as-new finish to your polishing project, don’t forget to use a polishing compound, which is ideal for removing dull, oxidised film or small imperfections from metals and plastics. This solid paste can be used in combination with all cloth or felt polishing accessories and nylon bristle brushes. All you have to do is hold your chosen accessory in the compound – while rotating – until evenly spread, or rotate it by hand. Use sparingly – a little compound goes a long way! Now you can start polishing, but remember to use the recommended RPM and replace your accessory when necessary, How to Avoid.
How to polish silver and other valuables
The more you love an object, the more you’ll want to keep it shining bright. With a Dremel, polishing precious items, such as silver jewellery, is safe, efficient and easy. Just choose the right polishing tools (see tip 3), don’t press down too hard on the object’s surface and go slow on the RPMs. Start at 5,000 RPM for a soft polish, and then turn it up slowly if you want, but, for the best results, stay below 15,000 RPM. A brass brush (535, 536 or 537) will remove any scratches, while a polishing wheel will do the polishing for you. Finish by buffing with a polishing cloth, and you’re done!
How to remove rust
Rusty spots on bikes, furniture or kitchen appliances can be a real eyesore. But rest assured, removing rust is easy. All you need is your Dremel, a carbon steel brush (442, 443 or 428) and a pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes from rust particles. Covering surrounding surfaces is a good idea too, or try our Shield Rotary Attachment (A550). Putting too much pressure on your tool will be counterproductive: the results are neither faster nor better. You’ll only push away the hairs of the brush, risking damage to your object. So be gentle and let your Dremel do the all the hard work.
How to bring out the shine
When it comes to cleaning and polishing, it can be hard to know when to stop. Bits of dust, dirt and grease get dislodged in the process, covering up all your progress. Use a buff or cloth to wipe away these grimy particles at regular intervals between bouts of polishing and cleaning. This way, you can keep a close eye on your progress and you’ll know exactly when to give it a rest: when your object is evenly polished with a pretty sheen.
How to attach polishing accessories
You can’t clean things with a dirty cloth! For the best results, change your polishing accessories, such as polishing tips or wheels, regularly – once they have absorbed as much dirt, dust and grease as they possibly can. Don’t worry, it’s easy! Unplug your tool first, and then unscrew it from the mandrel by pressing the ‘lock’ button while turning the accessory anticlockwise. Take a clean point or wheel, press the ‘lock’ button again and then screw on the accessory clockwise this time. Make sure that you use the right accessory with the right mandrel. Our Comparative Fact Sheet will help you.
How to use your Dremel for everyday cleaning
A Dremel tool comes in handy in the most unexpected places, making difficult cleaning jobs effortless. With the right accessories (see tip 3 and our Comparative Fact Sheet ) you can remove limescale and mineral build-up from around your taps and sink, degrease your oven rack and clean those hard-to-reach parts of your stove. No more endless scrubbing required; simply run the spinning tool over the problem areas until most of the grime has been removed. Give it a quick wipe, and then attach a polishing wheel to finish the job with some sparkle and shine.