frequently asked questions

Polishing and BUffing techniques



Polishing and buffing are techniques used to clean, restore, and enhance the shine of smooth metal surfaces, like watches, jewelry, and metal buckles. These methods help remove tarnish, scratches, and imperfections, resulting in a polished and lustrous appearance.

Polishing is the initial step in the process and involves applying a specialized polishing compound, such as a Cape Cod polishing cloth, to the metal surface. This compound helps to remove oxidation, stains, and minor scratches. Buffing, on the other hand, is the subsequent step where excess polish is removed and the surface is buffed to a brilliant shine.

Start by cutting a small piece of Cape Cod Polishing cloth. Then, apply gentle, circular motions onto the metal surface. Continue this process until you see the desired improvement in shine and cleanliness.

After polishing, use Cape Cod Buffing cloth to buff the surface. This step involves using light pressure and circular motions to remove any excess polish and reveal a high-gloss shine.

The number of times you alternate between polishing and buffing may vary depending on the condition of the metal surface and your desired results. Typically, repeating the process a few times will gradually improve the shine.

For plated surface, rub gently on plated metals especially on delicate items like jewelry, to avoid causing any damage. It’s also important to work in a well-ventilated area and, if necessary, wear protective gloves. Not recommended for use on thinly plated objects.

Yes, you can certainly polish your metal items using Cape Cod Polishing Cloth without buffing, but the results may not be as brilliant as when you polish and then buff.

Polishing is the initial step, and it helps remove tarnish, oxidation, and minor scratches. It can improve the appearance of your items to some extent. However, buffing is the subsequent step that takes the shine to the next level. It removes excess polish and reveals a high-gloss, mirror-like finish.

To achieve the most impressive results and restore the full shine of your precious items, it’s recommended to alternate between polishing and buffing techniques as needed.

It’s not recommended to use a kitchen towel for buffing metal items after polishing. While it might seem like a convenient option, kitchen towels can have a texture that’s similar to very fine sandpaper.

When you use them to buff, there’s a risk of causing micro-scratches on the metal surface, which can diminish the overall shine and finish. To achieve the best results and maintain the integrity of your items, it’s advisable to use a proper buffing cloth, such as the Cape Cod Buffing Cloth or a soft, clean, and dedicated cloth specifically designed for buffing.

This will help you avoid inadvertently damaging your valuable possessions and ensure they shine brilliantly without any imperfections.

The frequency of polishing and buffing depends on the level of wear and exposure to elements. As needed, or when you notice a loss of shine or the appearance of tarnish or scratches, is a good rule of thumb.

Metal Types

A brushed metal surface features fine, parallel lines created through brushing, giving it a textured appearance. In contrast, a smooth metal surface is polished to a glossy, reflective finish without visible lines.

Textured metal surfaces such as brushed, satin or sandblasted have deliberate patterns or irregularities, providing a tactile and visually interesting feel. These variations can include dimples, ridges, or hammered effects, adding depth and uniqueness to the metal.

A smooth metal surface refers to a metal finish characterized by an absence of visible texture, bumps, or irregularities. It is often achieved through polishing or grinding processes, resulting in a sleek and reflective appearance. Smooth surfaces are common in jewelry, watches, and other metal accessories, offering a clean and refined aesthetic.

A brushed metal surface is achieved by brushing the metal with a fine abrasive material, creating a pattern of fine parallel lines. This technique imparts a textured and matte finish, reducing the visibility of scratches and fingerprints. Commonly used in watches and appliances, brushed surfaces add a contemporary and industrial touch to metal items.

No, brushed metals are typically cleaned to maintain their matte finish, as attempting to manually polish them can alter the intentional textured pattern created during the brushing process.

On the other hand, smooth metal surfaces, lacking the textured finish of brushed metals, are conducive to manual polishing by hand. This process involves the application of polishing compounds and cloth to restore to a mirror like shine.


Cut a small piece and rub onto tarnished object gently, for tough jobs rub harder. Wipe polish off with Cape Cod® Buffing & Dusting Cloth

No, do not wash the polishing cloths. Polishing cloths may be used over and over, however discoloured– continue to use them repeatedly until they disintegrate.

One cloth will last quite some time. From our testing we’ve found that one cloth will polish a silverware of one-eighth 1/8 of a brass tuba musical instrument.

Keep in mind that the Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths can be used over and over again until they disintegrate. Discard after cloth turns black.

Should cloth become dry, a few drops of mineral oil will revitalize. To prevent the cloth from drying out, return to tin or foil pouch after use.

Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths may be used to clean, polish and protect all fine metals. These cloths are not recommended for brushed or satin finishes.

For brushed and satin finishes, we recommend Cape Cod® Metal Clean Link Spray 

The best product to use to clean brushed or satin finishes is Cape Cod® Metal Clean Link Spray.

Cape Cod polishing cloths are effective at removing fine hardline and minor scratches and imperfections. However, deep scratches may require professional repair or specialized products.

Cape Cod offers universal polishing cloths that work well on various metals, including gold and silver. You don’t typically need different cloths for different metals.

Store the cloths in their original packaging or a sealed container to prevent them from drying out. Keep them away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Cape Cod cloths are primarily for polishing and not rust removal. For rust removal, consider using dedicated rust removers or consult a professional.

Cape Cod cloths are generally non-toxic and safe for the environment. They contain a minimal amount of chemicals, making them a relatively eco-friendly choice for metal polishing.

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