You can keep your pins looking new by carefully cleaning them and repairing any damage as it occurs.
How do you protect enamel pins? The first step is to avoid household cleaners, which will have harsh chemicals that can ruin the color and shine of your pins. You can use tools made for jewelry cleaning and maintenance to keep them in top shape.
Before you try to clean or repair a pin, it is essential to understand that for classic or collection pieces, the process of “fixing” them may result in them being devalued in the eyes of fellow collectors. For all others, the grime from wearing them daily is pretty straightforward to remove with a microfiber or other soft cloth. When not using or displaying your pins, you can keep them safely stored so that their surface will remain unblemished.
Even the most ardent pin collector can have accidents happen where a prized pin gets damaged in some way. Most issues can be dealt with or temporarily fixed until you get a chance to apply a permanent solution. For more significant issues, you can also find a local professional who may be able to help you restore your favorite piece.
We all have a handful of pins that hold sentimental or monetary value. If you want to keep them looking the same as the first day you pinned them on, but the wear and tear of years proudly displayed is starting to show, then do not worry. We have a few tips and tricks to share that will keep your favorite pins looking fantastic.
If you notice dust or other debris clinging to your enamel pins, then you can use a cotton cloth to wipe them down. Soft enamel is more likely to experience buildup since there are dips on the surface, but they are also easier to scratch. You will want to use gentle swiping motions rather than scrubbing at the paint.
For hard enamel, you can use a dry cloth. If there are noticeable stains, you can dampen the cloth with warm water. Always thoroughly dry the pin before putting it away to keep the metal from tarnishing.
Sometimes humidity in the air or other natural processes cause the metal to begin showing unsightly tarnish. For enamel painted pins, it will be noticeable as discoloration along the metal detail lines of the pin. A soft cloth and jewelry polish will usually return the metal to its previous luster.
It is easier to remove the buildup of dirt or debris on pins displayed in cases or on fabric flags by making a routine to schedule wiping them down. This is also an ideal time to check for any new damage, such as loose backings, so that they can be fixed if needed. For pins that you wear every day you might want to take a closer look at them once or twice a week.
If you find that your pin has attracted a hard stain from mud, food, drinks, or some other substance, then removing it as quickly and gently as possible is vital. The longer it stays on, the more likely it will permanently discolor the paint. You can try using a soft cloth, warm water, and gentle circular motions to dislodge it.
One quick fix for repairing a loose or damaged backing is to use super glue or hot glue to keep the pin in place. These temporary fixes can be reversed later if you choose to try a more permanent solution like soldering for metal backings. Strengthening a post with glue is safe, reliable, and easy to do.
For more options on fixing broken pin posts, you can read this article: https://www.custompinsnow.com/post/can-you-fix-a-lapel-pin-with-a-broken-post
Accidents sometimes happen, resulting in a lost backing post, bent pin, or gouges in the enamel. Whatever damage may occur to your accessory, you can usually take steps to repair it to like-new condition. However, there are instances where this is not enough.
Sometimes the damage is too extensive for a DIY fix, which means taking your pin to a professional. Most jewelry repair shops will have the necessary tools, but if you are lucky, there will be a shop specializing in pin maintenance and repair. This is something you would only want to consider for pieces that have monetary or sentimental value; otherwise, it is usually cheaper to simply order a brand-new pin.
Many pins have a thin layer of epoxy or some other transparent sealant, which may yellow over time. There are many instances where yellowing on enamel pins is permanent and due to sun damage from the UV light. However, sometimes the color change is caused by a thin layer of gunk buildup, and you may be able to remove it with warm water and a soft cloth.
Another common problem is chips or scratches in the enamel paint. You want to make sure when transporting or mailing out your pins that you always put them in individualized bags or wrapping so they cannot bang against each other and cause this type of damage. Proper storage will be one of the most significant factors for retaining the new look for longer.
Some pins are meant for one-time events, which means creating bulk orders that user cheaper materials are more cost-effective. It makes sense not to spend a lot on pins that people do not intend to keep around for decades. However, if you are planning to order specially customized pins to give as gifts, awards, or to represent a team, then stronger, more secure materials and features such as locked clasps would be worth the extra cost.
You can find out more about the various material options for custom pins here