VINTAGE METAL LUNCHBOX CLEANERS AND TOOLS
Cleaners- As with any cleaner, its always a good idea to test the cleaner on a less expensive
box first. It might even make sense to buy a rusty one on ebay to practice on before potentially
ruining your collectible. When using these toxins always do so in a well ventilated area to avoid
getting higher than a kite.
Car Polish Perhaps the better choice for cleaning and ultimately preserving your lunch box.
Always be sure that any product you use does not contain any abrasives and is safe for all finishes.
Harsh cleaners and paste wax are not recommended for your lunch box. Never let this stuff sit on
the box for too long.
Chrome Polish - Polish is used to clean and protect the metal hardware. The hardware is
susceptible to tarnish, rust and oxidize. Dont apply the polish directly to the lithograph. If any
polish gets on the litho, gently remove it with a damp cloth immediately. The polish has the
potential to scratch the litho or actually remove the paint. Ive tried Turtle Wax® Chrome Polish
and Rust Remover and it worked pretty good. My only complaint is that it was hard to buff all the
small areas. The end result should bring a fresh shine, as well as remove light rust.
Goo Gone® - If you have a sticker problem or gooey residue stuck to your box then start here.
This product contains no abrasives. Watch out-- Goo Gone® may react and dull some of the plastic
parts on your metal lunch box. For cleaning the plastic handles and clasp on your metal box, use
a plastic cleaner or polish.
Guitar Polish - Guitar polish can be used on your steel boxes. Use a cotton cloth to apply it.
Guitar polish will provide a deep shine. Safe for all finishes.
Nail Polish Remover I do not recommend using this potent stuff. You can ruin your box instantly
and theres no undo button. If this gets under your paint, forget it. Different colors might react worse
like red for example. Practice on different colors on cheaper boxes that are worse condition first.
Use a very small amount at a time.
Plastic Cleaner/Scratch Remover/Polish Use these products on all the plastic parts of your
lunch box and thermos. Always use caution anytime you apply a scratch remover, use your common
sense and, oh yea, read the label!
Rubbing Alcohol My favorite. Very effective on heavy dirt and grime. Can also be used for removing
stickers and at least it smells better then some of the other cleaners. Always use caution when applying
directly onto the lithograph.
Soap/Detergent/Water Good old water and a mild soap or dish detergent might help if the dirt is
not too bad. This will clean and remove any oils and grease from your box. Dip the sponge in the soapy
water and wax on wax off, sorry got carried away. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the sponge
before applying it to your box. Remember, boxes hate water so use it sparingly and then immediately
dry the entire box with a soft towel or tissue. You can also try hot water for harder dirt/stains. Remember,
any time you use water, it can cause rust so dry it thouroughly.
Tooth Paste Ya know, the extra whitening stuff
Just apply a small amount to a damp cloth and
proceed to clean your box. If any residue is present on the box after wiping clean, use a toothbrush,
I mean use a damp cloth and go over the area again.
WD-40® - If you have an older thermos, and the metal collar won't come off due to age or rust, use
WD-40® to ease off the collar. I've also heard from one collector that it can be rubbed onto the box
for a nice shine but I have not tried this myself.