Cleaning and removing plating from Mail shirts


Removing plating from Mailshirts
The majority of mail shirts that are now purchased from various suppliers come with a bright metal finish, usually either glavanised or zinc plated. Some are plated with other various finishes. The bright finishes in particular look particularly poor, especially if the mail shirt is a recent purchase.
These bright finishes will dull down with prolonged exposure to the elements and to the sun but typically we never have them out for more than a few days each year.

The best thing to do is to take immediate action to remove the finish. There are a number of methods but the one that I adopted is the use of ordinary vinegar. You will need:
  • An old bucket
  • enough vinegar to cover the entire mail shirt once in the bucket when diluted with water
{short description of image}The vinegar is the normal stuff that you can buy from a supermarket. I found that I needed 4 litres of the stuff to cover my shirt and that it was good for three shirts (at least that's how many I needed to do). Simply dump the mail into a bucket and pour 50/50 mixture of vinegar and hot water over. Agitate it and ensure that all of the mail is immersed; failure to do this will cause the mail that is exposed to rust.
It is also better to do this outside or in a shed or garage as it smells a bit. 

Leave overnight. Remove, shake vigorously and then rinse off the excess vinegar with lots of water ( I used the hose). Shake the water off and hang the mailshirt up, like you would with a proper shirt, in a warm place to dry. If the finish is patchy or if you left a bit exposed and it's rusted then you will need to clean it.

Cleaning Mailshirts 
You will need a strong sack/bag, pillowcase or something similar. Add a couple of handfuls of DRY fine sand and the DRY mailshirt and then close the bag. Shake the bag, grind it on the ground, turn it over and generally pound it for 10-15 minutes. On removing the mailshirt, you should find it any rust or stains removed. Shake off the remaining sand.
This is actually an authentic method for cleaning mailshirts.