How should antique toys be cleaned?

Asked August 1, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT

Received a phone call from a client asking how to clean two antique toys that are from the late 1800s.

She indicated that they are tin with paint on them, but rusted. Are there any ways known to clean the toys without ruining them? A TV show is coming through our area next week and asking to see stuff like this, so she wants to have it cleaned up and ready by then. I have included my email as I have promised I would contact her back if I hear anything.

Van Wert County Ohio

1 Response

My advice would be NOT to do anything to the toys. Shows like "American Pickers" want to see items in their natural state of aging. Trying to "clean" an item may actually take away from the value of the item or damage the appearance of the item. Many people want to "refurbish" a toy or piece of furniture only to find out that they would have been better off leaving it alone. If anything, lightly brush off loose dirt, dust, and/or cobwebs with a soft paint brush. Do not apply any liquids, water or oil-based.