This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
In order to clean articles of zinc, stir rye bran into a paste with boiling water, and add a handful of silver sand and a little vitriol. Rub the article with this paste, rinse with water, dry, and polish with a cloth.
Smear the rusted parts well with grease (ordinary animal fat will do), and allow the article to stand several days. If the rust is not thick the grease and rust may be rubbed off with a cloth dipped in ammonia. If the rust is very deep, apply a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid, taking care that the acid does not touch the metal, and the rust may be easily rubbed off. Then wash the article and polish in the usual way.
To make a brass cleaning compound use oxalic acid, 1 ounce; rotten stone, 6 ounces; enough whale oil and spirits of turpentine of equal parts, to mix, and make a paste.
Into an ordinary drinking glass pour about 20 drops of ammonia, immerse the piece to be cleaned repeatedly in this, and brush with a soft brush. Treat the article with pure water, then with alcohol, and wipe with a soft rag.
Boil common alum in soft, pure water, and immerse the article in the solution, or rub the spot with it, and dry with sawdust.
For cleaning picture frames,
moldings, and, in fact, all kinds of gilded work, the best medium is liquor potasssę, diluted with about 5 volumes of water. Dilute alcohol is also excellent. Methylated wood spirit, if the odor is not objectionable, answers admirably.
To remove the scale from cast iron use a solution of 1 part vitriol and 2 parts water; after mixing, apply to the scale with a cloth rolled in the form of a brush, using enough to wet the surface well. After 8 or 10 hours wash off with water, when the hard, scaly surface will be completely removed.
Funnels and measures used for measuring varnishes, oils, etc., may be cleaned by soaking them in a strong solution of lye or pearlash. Another mixture for the same purpose consists of pearlash with quicklime in aqueous solution. The measures are allowed to soak in the solution for a short time, when the resinous matter of the paint or varnish is easily removed. A thin coating of petroleum lubricating oils may be removed, it is said, by the use of naphtha or petroleum benzine.