Cleaning metal armour

I’ve always shied away wearing metal armour at LRP (live-action roleplay) before, partly due to the often high costs associated with such equipment and also due to the fact that my one attempt to wear partial chainmail had resulted in a lot of back pain even with a large leather hero belt supporting much of the weight. However, recently I was lucky enough to be given two pieces of metal armour (shoulder pauldrons and a set of arm bracers) by a couple of friends; as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love free stuff and so determined to give metal armour another go- my excursions to the Outcast system proved an ideal run out for the metal armour.

The armour I was given was pretty rusty when I got it and I did not have time (or the knowledge how) to clean it prior to the event and so I wore it as it was; I had a great time during the event (as detailed in this post) and was able to cope with the weight of the metal armour (although I did end up going to bed early most nights due to fatigue). Whilst at the event I was able to ask a few people there who have experience of metal armour and caring for it (such as CJ Bateman) for any tips and advice they might give me about how I look after the armour.

The process below is based on what they told me and some additional research that I did into the subject.

This is what the armour looked like when I got it – note the rust on it.

Step 1: Removing the Rust

There were two main ways that I had found online to remove rust from metal without have to use specialised cleaning materials; the first was to use white wine vinegar and scouring pads, the second was to soak the plates in diet coke for a few days.

I decided to attempt the white wine vinegar method first; a quick trip to Morrison’s furnished me with the necessary vinegar and scouring pads and I set to work on the armour when I got back.

The vinegar had the effect of making the armour plates take on a slightly duller finish but this didn’t particularly bother me and it was possible to visibly see the rust being removed from the plate.

The armour after the surface rust had been removed with white wine vinegar.
Step 2: Removing any lingering vinegar or rust particles on the surface of the metal
I did this simply using some toilet tissue and gently dabbing at the surface of the armour plates.
Step 3: Polish the metal

In order to polish up the metal a little I purchased some Brasso wadding that I used in a circular motion to bring some shine back to the metal; although it hasn’t restored the former shine to the unrusted sections of metal I believe that this may have been due to some linger rust particles (despite my attempts to remove them), I plan to have another attempt at polishing the plates once it has had chance to dry.
Cleaned up pauldron when I started polishing.
Set of pauldrons, cleaned plates on the right and still rusty plates on the left.
Many thanks to all the people who offered me advice on how to clean and take care of metal armour, I also found the following website very useful:

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