Craft and Hobby

Top Things to Avoid When Cleaning and Polishing



SKILL LEVEL beginner

Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Cleaning and polishing are all about the finer details. Whether you’re removing rust from a household item or polishing silver valuables, you want to get it just right. Follow our complete guide to help you avoid common mishaps, and save time while you clean or polish.

by Dremel ®


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Supplies Needed For This Project


3000 Variable Speed Rotary Tool

Model # 3000


Dremel 442 Carbon Steel Brush

Model # 442


A550 Shield Rotary Attachment

Model # A550


401 Mandrel

Model # 401


Dremel 414 Felt Polishing Wheel

Model # 414

Let's Get Started

To reduce the risk of injury user must read instruction manuals for all tools used in this project. Wear eye and respiratory protection. Use clamps to support work piece whenever practical.


Connect the Mandrel Correctly

For both safety and accuracy, it’s essential that you connect the mandrel to your Dremel tool correctly. First, disconnect the tool from the power outlet by pulling out the plug. Second, press the ‘lock’ button and insert at least half the shank into the shaft. Ideally, there’s a 0.5 cm shank protrusion. Lastly, use the wrench or nose cap to screw on the mandrel as tightly as possible. Now it’s time to attach your polishing or cleaning accessory.


Connect the Accessory Properly

Make sure that those accessories that need attaching to the mandrel, such as a polishing wheel or point, are screwed on properly. If they’re not, they may become loose and fly off, putting you in harm’s way. The easiest way to attach the accessory properly is to screw it on after the mandrel has been inserted into the shaft (see tip 1). As for the 401 screw mandrel, press the ‘lock’ button while turning the accessory clockwise until the screw thread is no longer visible.


Use Just Enough Polishing Compound

One of the best polishing tips relates to the polishing compound. The more compound, the better, you might think. But that’s not how it works. Using too much compound will actually transform your object into a greasy mess. There won’t be enough friction for the accessory to do any actual polishing. Using too little compound won’t do either as it’s the polishing compound that will give you that extra bit of shine and sparkle. To get it just right, hold the accessory in the compound while rotating just long enough to impregnate the entire cloth, without it building up a thick layer.


Replace Dirty Cleaning and Polishing Accessories

It almost goes without saying: you can’t clean with a dirty cloth. Just like conventional cleaning supplies, to ensure maximum cleaning power our cleaning and polishing tools need replacing regularly. Once an accessory has become too dirty, it won’t clean the object you are using it on, no matter how much time you spend cleaning or polishing it. So check your accessory regularly. Once you notice it has a layer of dirt on it and you can no longer see the cloth underneath, it’s time to swap your accessory for a clean one.


Do a Trial Run

Do you want to avoid the most common mistake of them all? Diving in unprepared is a mistake everyone make from time to time. The solution is simple: curb your enthusiasm and do a trial run first. To see the results your Dremel produces and prevents any unwanted effects, test your skills, and chosen accessories on a suitable piece of scrap material. While you’re at it, make sure you test the different speeds as well. Don’t have any scrap materials to practice on? Practice on a hidden part of your object instead.


Go Easy on the RPM

Whether you’re using your Dremel polishing kit, your cleaning tools or any other accessory, choosing the right RPM is essential. For cleaning and polishing projects, the RPM should be set between 5,000 and 15,000 RPM. Always start with the lowest possible rotation first, and then observe what happens. If things aren’t moving quickly enough for you, or if more surface material needs removing, you can turn the RPM up slowly. This way, you won’t make the mistake of polishing away too much material. When cleaning or polishing the maximum speed should be set at 15,000 RPM.


Ease the Pressure

If you’re overly keen or perhaps just a little nervous, you can easily apply too much pressure on your polishing wheel or cleaning brush. Unfortunately, this pressure can result in surface damage or scratching, especially on delicate materials such as silver or gold. The hairs of the brush may even get pushed aside, causing the shaft to touch the object. High pressure will lead to your accessories wearing down a lot quicker too. A light touch is therefore recommended when using our cleaning and polishing tools. Just let your Dremel do the hard work for you - all you have to do is guide it.


Use a Shield Attachment

When you’re polishing your favorite objects, all that dirt, rust or dust has got to go somewhere. The Dremel Shield Rotary Attachment (A550) will prevent those particles from flying towards you. Swapping one cleaning project for another is the last thing you need! The Shield Rotary Attachment will block and retain the particles. To be on the safe side, however, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of safety glasses to prevent any particles or flyaway hairs from getting into your eyes.

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