In our homes, zinc is everywhere, and it is just as present in the garden. Very fashionable, it brings an authentic touch to the place of life. But in order for it to retain its aesthetic appearance over time and not deteriorate, it is essential to carry out its maintenance on a very regular basis. You can also make the zinc shine without chemicals. Let’s do a check in.
What is Zinc?
Present in the environment in its natural state, zinc – whose symbol is Zn – is a metal which is used in the composition of many alloys. It is used, for example, for the manufacture of gutters, worktops, decorative objects, serving trays, splashbacks, pots and planters, etc.
Many objects are not made in genuine zinc (pure), but in zinc steel or galvanized steel : it is just a simple layer of zinc that covers steel. The manufacturing process is galvanizing.
Why does zinc oxidize?
You should know that zinc steel oxidizes more quickly than real zinc, although the latter also ends up oxidizing especially if we do not take care of it.
When zinc is in contact with water and air, it changes from its silver gray color to a dark gray because it is covered with a oxidation film relatively dense. Zinc is therefore patina, and this is what is appreciated in decoration, particularly in the Indus’ style. This first layer of oxidation gives it a very nice look.
Things go wrong when the zinc, even with a patina, is exposed to condensation and more generally to a humid atmosphere. In this case, we are witnessing corrosion. It is a new layer of oxidation which can be more or less thick. It has no comparison with patina in terms of aesthetics, and moreover, it ends up deteriorating the zinc. If we don’t react early enough, holes due to corrosion are unavoidable, knowing that second layer of oxidation quickly degrades zinc.
Stagnant water: the sworn enemy of zinc
Knowing that this metal is water sensitive, it is important not to let it stagnate on a zinc worktop for example. It is therefore necessary to get into the habit of always wiping it so that it does not remain wet, as soon as meals are prepared, the kitchen is cleared, and you must avoid putting a saucepan or dishes wet on this type of surface. The advice also holds with regard to utensils and hot meals since if they remain on the zinc for too long, the formation of steam that this entails turns out detrimental.
Zinc worktop manufacturers know best how to protect this substrate for many years. They advise to varnish the zinc because it is the only solution to avoid its oxidation.
Clean a zinc worktop
The zinc worktop, ultra trendy in terms of interior decoration, must be maintained on a daily basis to remain beautiful. It is obvious that in this particular environment, the zinc can only be cleaned with food compatible products.
Also, always be careful when using cleaning products as some may not be suitable for this type of metal. Similarly, zinc should not be cleaned with a scraper, which would only scratch it. We therefore use a sponge without scraper or a microfiber cloth for example.
Concerning the suitable productsthe dishwashing liquid fits perfectly as well as the black soap. A few drops of either inHot water are enough. These products are suitable for all surfaces and utensils that come into contact with food, and more generally for all zinc objects.
To clean a zinc surface, start with the laver with a soft sponge well soaked in soapy water then rinse with clean water after having thoroughly removed the foam from the sponge. Finally, it should carefully dry the zinc with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth, drying being an absolutely essential step.
We proceed in the same way as the zinc have been varnished or not.
Renovate oxidized zinc
It is necessary to use the smooth sanding. To do this, use an abrasive sheet such as 180 grit sandpaper for the start and 1200 grit for the end. The method proceeds as follows:
- Generously wet the zinc with a sponge,
- Dampen the sandpaper,
- Pass the abrasive paper over the zinc, making circular movements and without rubbing too hard, so as to roughen the sanding but without damaging the material,
- Rinse regularly with a sponge to remove the black layer and repeat the procedure three or four times,
- Then pass a sheet of 1200 grit sandpaper for the finish,
- Wash the zinc surface or the object concerned with clean water and a soft sponge,
- Place on a soft cloth a few drops of acetone then pass it over the zinc, rubbing to degrease it and remove the oxidation stains,
- Then pass another soft, clean cloth to polish the zinc.
This procedure also allows remove many scratches on a zinc surface.
The zinc object is cleaned with a sponge soaked in soapy water and sprinkled with a little baking soda, rubbing all the surfaces. Then just rinse with clear water and dry the zinc with an ultra soft cloth.
Zinc requires a regular maintenance to keep its good looks. It must therefore be cleaned to remove dust, clean it or degrease it, but also in order to remove the oxidation points. You also need to be able to make shine in order to sublimate it. Nothing is more beautiful than a perfectly polished zinc object or worktop.
However, like all metals, le zinc even true must be varnished so as not to oxidize. Once varnished, it is therefore protected from water and air. Thanks to this precaution, it is much easier later to recover a zinc surface that has been altered by time, or quite simply very dirty.
But be careful, you have to put a edible varnish composed of a catalyst, in particular for all the zinc elements which are reserved for food use, which includes the kitchen worktop. This type of varnish prevents any rise of metals and makes it impossible for the zinc to oxidize. Thus hardened, the zinc has a much longer lifespan as long as we take care of it and respect the maintenance conditions.