Enamel pins have become an increasingly popular accessory. However, keeping these stylish little darlings looking their best requires proper cleaning and maintenance. Before we dive into detailed cleaning instructions, it’s worth distinguishing between hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins. This distinction is crucial because each type may require different cleaning methods.
In today’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at how to clean and care for enamel pins. Read this guide carefully and follow the steps below to bring your enamel pins back to life.
1. How to Clean Enamel Pins
Over time, enamel pins may tarnish or lose their original luster. Additionally, dirt and debris can accumulate on the pins, making them appear dull. Understanding proper cleaning techniques is essential to maintaining the beauty of your pins and extending their lifespan.
By using gentle cleaning methods and avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, enamel pin enthusiasts can keep their beloved items in pristine condition. Here are the specific steps on how to clean enamel pins.
1) Gather necessary supplies
Because enamel pins are often made in different finishes, colors, and backing types, the specific supplies you need may vary depending on the pin. Varies. That said, you can clean most enamel pins using the following simple supplies.
- a small bowl
- dish detergent
- warm water
- an old toothbrush
- a piece of polishing cloth
- soft cleaning cloth
- cotton swab
If you don’t have all the items on this list, don’t worry! If you have dish soap and something that can gently scrub the pins, you can successfully clean your precious accessories.
2) Step by step process
The following is the distribution process for cleaning enamel pins.
#1. Mix cleaning solution
Making enamel pins is an art that requires skill and resources. Thankfully, keeping them clean is much simpler. The most complicated step in maintaining your beloved pins is developing an effective cleaning solution; thankfully, it’s a simple process! Most pins can be cleaned with water and dish soap. Add warm water to a bowl and add a few drops of dish soap. Mix mix. Then dip the pin into the soapy water and let it soak for a few minutes.
While it may be tempting to clean your pins with a store-bought all-purpose cleaner or vinegar solution, be very careful. Highly acidic or harsh chemical cleaners can damage delicate enamel accessories. Sticking to simple cleaners, such as dish soap, is a safe bet.
(Another related product guide: Materials of Different Types Enamel Pins – A Complete Guide)
#2. Check for damage
Before you begin cleaning, inspect your pins thoroughly for any damage. Although enamel is durable, pins undergo a lot of movement due to frequent wear and tear. Think about all the pins on your child’s backpack hitting the floor when you get home from school.
Or you sometimes forget to remove the pins from your jacket before tossing it in the washing machine. When enamel pins are struck, they can chip or crack, causing more damage or even breaking the pin. If you notice any serious damage, consider repairing or replacing the pins.
#3. Dust lightly
If your favorite accessory is in good condition, dust it lightly and get started. This may be especially necessary if your pins have been sitting on surfaces in your home, such as a dresser or bathroom counter. You might be surprised how much this alone can change the look of your pins.
If your enamel pin is made with bright pigments, dust can easily dull the bold color, causing it to look dull. After dusting, evaluate whether your accessories need a more thorough cleaning. If so, continue to the next step.
#4. Clean with a soft cloth or brush
This is where a cleaning cloth or toothbrush comes in. After letting your pins soak for at least a few minutes, dampen a cloth or toothbrush head with the cleaning solution. Then, gently scrub all surfaces of the dowel.
Keep the backing in mind as over time it can collect debris that will affect how well it holds. Avoid damaging the accessory by using a soft cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush. If using a stiffer brush, be careful about the pressure you apply.
#5. Rinse and dry
When you’re satisfied with the shine and dirt removal of your pins, rinse and dry them. Rinse pins in warm water to remove soap residue. Then, place the pins on a drying tray or towel in a room with low humidity and let them air dry. When dry, allow the backing to separate from the pins. Make sure to place them where they are easily visible and away from other clutter, as it is easy to misplace small pieces.
Once dry, you can gently wipe the pins with a polishing cloth. Look! Your beloved accessories should look as bright and shiny as the day you bought them. It’s that simple!
#6. Store properly to prevent damage
Whether your pins are made of hard enamel or soft enamel, you must store them correctly to prevent damage. Plus, the right storage method may mean you don’t have to clean your accessories as often, which can save you time and money in the long run.
You may love the bright colors of your pins, but those colors can actually fade over time if overexposed to light and heat. Therefore, it is best to store the pins at room temperature or cooler. Ideally, these accessories should be kept covered to avoid excessive light, such as in a jewelry box.
Pins can also get scratched if thrown into a box with a bunch of other jewelry. Store these accessories in separate containers away from other items to protect fragile enamel. It’s also important to limit their exposure to humidity, as this increases the likelihood of rust.
(Another related product guide: Best 15 Enamel Tie Pins of 2023)
2. How to maintain enamel pins
Above we talked about how to clean enamel pins, we will introduce some tips on how to care for enamel pins.
1）Keep it Simple
If you notice dust or other debris on your enamel pins, you can wipe them clean with a cotton cloth. Soft enamel is more susceptible to buildup due to the dimpled surface, but it is also more susceptible to scratching. You will want to use gentle gliding motions rather than scrubbing the paint.
For hard enamel, you can use a dry cloth. If there are obvious stains, dampen a cloth with warm water. Be sure to dry your pins thoroughly before putting them away to prevent the metal from tarnishing.
2) Develop a cleaning routine
With regular wiping, it will be easier to remove accumulated dirt or debris from pins or fabric flags displayed in the case. This is also an ideal time to check for any new damage, such as loose backing, so you can repair it if needed. For pins you wear every day, you may want to take a closer look once or twice a week.
3) Remove hard stains instantly!
If your pins have hard stains from dirt, food, drink, or other similar substances, remove them as soon as possible. The longer these stains remain on the enamel, the more likely they are to permanently discolor the paint.
We recommend using a soft cloth with some warm water and gentle circular motions on the enamel needle to remove stains.
(Another related product guide: 15 Custom Enamel Pins for Book Lovers)
4) Storage Tips
Proper storage of enamel pins is key to maintaining their appearance. It’s important to keep them away from harsh chemicals, sunlight, and moisture. Some simple storage tips include:
- Use plugboards or display cabinets for organized storage
- Wrap them in a microfiber cloth and put them in a box or drawer
- Store them separately from other materials that may scratch tooth enamel
We love the enamel pins because they are so colorful! However, in order to make these colors last longer, we must follow certain precautions. To ensure that your pins don’t fade over time, you should avoid exposing them to light and heat.
Please note: Repeated and prolonged exposure to light and heat may cause the pins to fade and may also affect the durability of the item. Some pins are also prone to scratching, which may cause certain problems for the owner. If you have such pins and you understand the nuances, be sure to store them separately.
You can use individual packages or keep each pin in its own box. That way, your collection will be safe and scratch-free!
5) Avoid using harsh chemicals when polishing, cleaning, or storing your pins!
When you’re cleaning, storing, or even displaying your pins, remember the main rule of thumb: It’s important to avoid using any harsh chemicals! This isn’t just about direct contact with chemicals, such as when cleaning pins.
For example, if you display enamel pins on a board or hoop (or anywhere in the open air) and place them next to something that is regularly cleaned with chemicals, that’s it! In this case, you need to take extra precautions to ensure that chemicals don’t accidentally get on your pins.
You may be wondering what chemicals you should avoid. These are typically household and chemical cleaners and other similar solutions that can damage tooth enamel. Also, stay away from citrus and/or vinegar-based solutions. Their high acidity is fatal to fragile tooth enamel!
Also, make sure your pins are not stored or displayed on the wood! You might be surprised to learn that wood may contain chemicals that could stain your pins! Fortunately, there is a way out.
If you store your pins on a wooden shelf or box for any reason, simply place them on a soft cloth.
6) Make quick repairs if needed
Anything can happen, and oftentimes, your pin may lose its backing, or the backing may become damaged. In this case, a quick fix is needed. You can salvage loose pins or damaged backing by using superglue or hot glue to hold the pins in place.
(Another related product guide: Enamel Pins VS. Button Pins: What is the Difference?)
3. Common mistakes to avoid
When cleaning your enamel pins, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid to protect their vibrant color and maintain their overall quality. We’ll focus on two key mistakes: using abrasive cleaners and exposing pins to water or moisture.
1) Use abrasive cleaners
A common mistake is using abrasive cleansers or harsh chemicals, which can damage the enamel surface and even strip away the color.
A mild cleaning solution and a soft, non-abrasive cloth or brush must be used. Some suggestions include:
- Mild dish soap: Mix a small amount with warm water to make a mild cleaning solution.
- Soft toothbrush: Use it to gently scrub the surface of the pin without causing scratches or damage.
- Microfiber Cloth: Great for polishing pins without causing damage to the enamel surface.
It’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals, household cleaners, and abrasive materials like rough brushes or sponges, as they can cause irreparable damage to your enamel pins.
2) Expose pins to water or moisture
Another common mistake is exposing enamel pins to excess water or moisture. Although you need to use a small amount of water when cleaning, you must avoid soaking the pins or leaving them wet for an extended period of time.
Some tips for avoiding water damage include:
- Rinse pins thoroughly: After cleaning with a mild soap solution, rinse pins in warm water to remove any residue.
- Dry your pins properly: Use a soft cloth to dry your enamel pins immediately after cleaning, making sure no excess moisture is left behind.
- Store pins correctly: Store enamel pins in a dry, cool environment, away from direct sunlight or moisture, which may cause the color to fade or the metal parts to rust.
By taking these precautions and avoiding these common mistakes, you can help preserve the quality and longevity of your enamel pins while keeping them clean and vibrant. Now you know a little more about cleaning enamel pins. And, because we’ve shared some information about the proper storage of these beautiful items, you’ll now be able to properly maintain your colorful pins and enjoy them longer.
(Another related product guide: Magnet Vs Pins: Which Is Better for an Enamel Pin?)
4. Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about cleaning enamel pins.
1) If I use acetone to clean, will it remove the gold plating from the pins?
Under normal circumstances, the coating should not be damaged. You see, acetone is used to degrease metal before plating or coating because it does not damage the metal.
2) What machine is used to make enamel pins?
It’s called a CNC mill and is used to make pins and badges. By the way, it can be purchased for home use!
3) Can enamel pins be made at home?
Yes, it is possible. But you have to buy the required equipment (such as a needle-making machine).
(Another related product guide: Top 10 Soft Enamel Pins in 2023)
Taking care of your pins is easy when you follow a daily maintenance routine and avoid certain things! If you’re careful about how you handle your pins, store them, and clean them, they’ll look like new for years to come!