You can have hundreds of sporting trophies; however, if they're grimy and dusty, they won't impress anyone.
If you want to wash your trophies, you can use a jewelry cleaning solution that you can obtain from any jeweler, or you can try doing it yourself at home.
Unlike silver, gold doesn't get tarnished and dull over time; it just gets dirty.
- Letting the trophy soak in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of liquid dish detergent mixed in can restore the shine and luster it lost. Rub the dirt away with a soft brush, and let air dry.
- If the trophies have accumulated a lot of hard-to-clean grime, you can soak them in club water for a few minutes. The acid will loosen the dirt, and then you can go ahead and wipe them with a cloth soaked in warm water.
- For desperate cases you can also use a solution of one part ammonia to six parts water. However, be wary that this can be quite caustic and might damage your trophies unless you're very careful.
Silver can accumulate grime and dirt over time as well as get dull and tarnished.
- Toothpaste is very efficient at cleaning grime and restoring patina, and it's best used in combination with a hard brush. Clean with fast short strokes, and afterwards rinse. Dry with a soft cloth with a circular motion for maximum shine.
- If the trophy is just dull, then a pinch of laundry detergent will do the job. Soak the item in a mix of two cups water and one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent for a few minutes. Rinse, and let air dry.
Bronze, brass and copper
Medals made of copper and its alloys (brass and bronze) will develop a green-grey layer of build up on their surface as time passes, due to exposure to air.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and lemon juice until a thick paste forms. The mixture will bubble at first - you can use it after it settles. With a polishing cloth or a toothbrush, clean the item using small circular motions. Let the paste stay on for 15-30 minutes, and then rinse it off thoroughly with warm water. Dry with a clean cloth.
- Mix equal parts flour and salt, and then add vinegar until a soft paste forms (as consistent as toothpaste). Rub the paste in small circular motions with a cloth or a brush, and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.
Keep in mind that the techniques you use on trophies made entirely of precious metals also apply on those that are only plated. However, be wary of using lemon or vinegar mixtures, as they can be quite acidic and might damage the foil.
Keep in mind that frequent dusting and care is the best way to keep your trophies in top condition, and that the deep cleaning described above should be used infrequently. For more advice, speak with professionals like Scotia Engraving.