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I found a old box of paper clips. They are a bit tarnished. How do I restore them so I can use them?
By MotherShip from Chino Valley, AZ
Rub with scrap of steel wool, not cleaning pads, just plain steel wool.
Try shaking them in a jar of sand. A plastic peanut butter jar will work best. Hold it closed with duct tape and put it in the dryer for a couple of cycles. It'll make some noise. Maybe you want to put it in a couple of thick socks. They ought to sparkle after that.
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Does anyone know how to clean up old metal paper clips so they look shiny again? I have 7 boxes of Quill Jumbo Smooth paper clips that I've had stored in an old desk. I want to use them, but they are leaving a lot of marks on my paperwork. Any ideas?
kurlyque from Northern California
If it were me, I'd use some Bar Keeper's Friend (look at the powdered cleansers area in your grocery) or another mild rust remover. The rust should come off, but making them shiny again. Well, I don't think it's going to happen.
You can keep the rust from coming back by threading them on fishing line and hanging them up outside. Give them a good misting (not a heavy coat or they won't open up again) with a polyurethane spray. Or clip them on a cotton line and do the same thing. Best idea I have for you.
Well, actually, the best idea is throw them out and get new ones. Your time is worth more than the trouble you will have to go through. (12/09/2008)
This video looked interesting and cheap and easy. They use Alka Seltzer tablets to remove rust:
Beats using a bunch of nasty chemicals most rust removers have in them.
After you clean them be sure to move them elsewhere. Possibly remove them from the boxes into something better (not plastic and lidded if you can help it).
You could also put 1 or 2 of those "DO NOT EAT" packets they put in aspirin bottles, etc. (silica gel packs I think they are) or I have heard even adding a piece of chalk will help draw the moisture to prevent future rust. (12/09/2008)
Have you tried a "bath" with Coca Cola? I hear it is a good rust remover. (12/10/2008)
You know I think that I might purchase two or three cans of spray paint from the Dollar Store, and spray them different colors. Sort of a lazy way to do it, without doing all the cleaning and scrubbing.
There is even a special spray paint for painting items that have rust on them. Especially for metal things that are used outdoors.
Get a shallow cardboard box from the grocery store. You know how they cut the sides down to put the canned goods in the shelf. Add a layer of waxed paper so the wet clips won't stick to the box. Scatter the paper clips on the wax paper. Then spray away; first one side, allow to dry, then turn them over.
String them together in different lengths, and make a wind chime out of them. It will be a pleasant way to celebrate your trip to the dollar tree to get some bright, colored, plastic coated ones. (12/11/2008)
I read somewhere that to remove rust from a bolt you could try covering it with ammonia. I have applied it in "small situations" and let it soak, and it worked. Be sure to use a mask for protection from odor of ammonia. Also Coca Cola works, I have read. (12/11/2008)