Does Metal Polish Expire?

It doesn’t matter on the style or decor of the home, there is always an abundance of objects around the home that are made of metal. Keeping those objects looking pristine, clean, and like new requires polishing on a semi-frequent basis.

This could be anything from polishing your fixtures to your silverware, but since these jobs don’t occur very frequently, you could have some metal polish just sitting around the house that may have been there awhile. So when you pull that polish out of the drawer you may ask yourself “does metal polish expire?” Metal polish does expire and typically on average has a life span of up to 2 years. But it does depend on the product you have. Make sure to check the consistency of the polish before using it, to ensure that the polish is still healthy.

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There are many factors that can go into how long metal polish can last. Let’s dive into some more details about metal polish to gain an understanding of the product.

What is Metal Polish

Metal polish is used to restore gloss, reflection, shine and to create a smoother surface on the metal object being polished. Polishing not only makes the the metal look brand new, but it also creates a protective covering that will increase the life span of the object.

There are two different types of polishes that can be used.

  1. Chemical Polishes – these polishes use the chemicals in the polish to effect the evenness of the surface. These polishes are great for adding gloss and mirror like finishes, but are less effective in helping corrosion or scratches.
  2. Abrasive Polishes – This is the more traditional polish which uses minuscule abrasive parts that will remove small microscopic layers of the surface to achieve the correction. When the small surface is removed, it also removes any oxidation that occurred. This polish is great for correcting surface imperfections.

Most people in their homes will use abrasive polishes as they are safer and are good enough to get the job done. Please be sure, if you use chemical polishes, to get the advice or help from a chemical professional.

What is Metal Polish Made Of?

Finding out what is in a metal polish can be tricky. They don’t always list the ingredients on the bottles, my guess is to keep their recipes a secret from the competition. After doing some research, I found that most metal polish mixtures consist of some similar and key ingredients:

  • Cleaner – can include ammonia, different alcohols, or hydrocarbon solvents.
  • Acids – either can be oxalic, phosporic, or sulfuric.
  • Silica – this is used to hold the compound together.

Believe it or not, there isn’t any major differences in the mixtures between the cheaper and the more expensive polishes, so when you need to purchase a new bottle or tube of polish, find something reasonably priced and keep using it.

What Can Metal Polish Be Used For?

Metal polish can be used to polish all kinds of things in the home. You can can use metal polish for anything that is made of chrome, nickel, copper, stainless steel, silver, brass, aluminum, gold, or are items that are diamond plated.

Below is a list of a few things around the home you may not have known that metal polish could be used on:

  • Shower Curtain Rods
  • Towel Bars
  • Mirror Frames
  • Bath Tub Plugs
  • Cabinet Knobs
  • Shower and Sink Faucets

If it is made of metal, then you can use metal polish to get it to look nice and shiny again! Metal polish will be your new best friend around the home!

How to Use Metal Polish

So now that we know what we can use metal polish on in our homes, it is time to learn how to use it. The good thing is, it is a pretty simple and straight forward process.

Grab the bottle of metal polish and make sure to shake it well. Then get yourself a microfiber towel and squeeze some metal polish onto it. Take the towel and rub it on the metal surface that needs polishing, then let it sit for a few minutes until it dries. After that, the surface should have a hazy look to it to show that the polish has dried. Next, take a clean towel and begin buffing the polish off of it. Repeat these steps as often as needed to get the shine and cleanliness that is desired.

Keep in mind every time you go through this process the metal polish leaves another protective layer over the surface, so it shouldn’t take too many rounds of polishing to get that amazing brand new like look!

A Few Metal Polishes on the Market

There is an abundance of polishes on the market and it can be hard to determine the right polish for the job. Below is a list of a few polishes that are recommended:

  • Simichrome Polish – A great polish that comes in a thick, heavy duty paste. It’s best used for all non-ferrous surfaces (doesn’t contain iron in it). It can remove rust, restores shine, and de-oxidizes. It works fast and leaves a protective film. Unfortunately, it’s expensive and only comes in a small tube.
  • 303 Metal Polish – This polish is inexpensive and works on all metals. It comes in a nice 12 ounce bottle, making sure you have enough polish for any job. The only downfall is it doesn’t remove rust or scratches.
  • 3M Chrome and Metal Polish – This is a reasonably priced polish that works on all non-ferrous metals and can even polish non metal parts. It’s high quality and works fast. Negatives include it doesn’t protect well and won’t remove rust or scratches.

What Happens If You Use Expired Metal Polish

Using metal polish that is passed its expiration date is not the end of the world. The polish will most likely not have the nice consistency it once had and therefore not be as effective at getting the most pristine shine that it usually does.

If this happens, just wipe the object clean of the old metal polish and go buy some new metal polish to finish the job.


Metal polish does wonders to all metal fixtures in the home. It gives it that brand new look and the extra shine we are all looking for. However, keep in mind your metal polish will expire around 2 years of age. So before using that old polish make sure it’s still good by reviewing the consistency of the polish.

Related Questions

Can I polish stainless steel? You can polish stainless steel. Metal polish works wonders on stainless steel and is just as effective as using on metal.

Does toothpaste polish metal? Sometimes using toothpaste to polish metal works. Toothpaste is very abrasive and can work on surfaces that are not too damaged. But overall, metal polish is the way to go.

Can you make homemade metal polish? It is possible to make homemade metal polish, but it will only work on metals that do not need toxic or abrasive cleaners. An example of a polish mixture made from home for metals is equal parts salt, plain flour and white vinegar mixed into a paste.

Does polish compound expire? Polish compound does expire, if the compound has not separated it is still good to use. Some bottles have a shelf life between 15-20 years old.

Do Autoglym products expire? Autoglym products do not have an expiry date and should be good for life. Just be sure to store the product in normal temperature conditions.

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