It can be tough to maintain and protect metal, as the material is affected by both air and moisture. Here’s a guide to the cleaning methods for various metals.

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Aluminium: Aluminium doesn’t rust, but it can discolour and develop a rough surface through oxidation. If the surface is only mildly discoloured, wash with a mixture of soap, water and lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon juice will help keep your aluminium shiny. If the surface is a bit rough, polish it with a steel-wool pot cleaner soaked in soapy water.

Copper: If your copper surface has tarnished and looks dull, apply acidic liquids such as vinegar or lemon. To remove grime, rub a mixture of salt and vinegar on the surface. Remember to rinse with water and then polish the surface with a soft, dry cloth.

Cast iron and steel: Furniture made from cast iron is extremely durable, but will rust easily if the protective surface is broken. Use sandpaper to remove the small rust spots or a rust remover from hardware stores. Then, seal the surface with paint, a rust protector or a sealant. It is advisable to cover outdoors cast-iron furniture pieces with a plastic cover to protect them from rain.

Stainless steel: The easiest metal to care for, stainless steel requires you to wipe its surface with only a damp cloth and a touch of detergent.

Fixing flaky paint: If it is just a tiny area that needs a touch-up, use nail polish of the same colour on the spot. But if it’s noticeable, scrape away and apply a metal primer followed by your colour of choice.