There are still plenty of zinc canning lids from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s in circulation today, and they are found in cellars, attics and old trash sites. There are even sources that offer zinc canning lids still in their original packaging. Wherever you find these lids, they can be used for a variety of craft projects, and they are still viable for their original canning purpose.

Things You'll Need

Remove dirt from the zinc canning lids by placing the lids in warm soapy water. This is done until the dirt has loosened and can be washed off.

Brush the lid with a stiff brush or toothbrush to loosen and remove any remaining dirt, then wash again with warm soapy water and rinse.

Cut a thick slice of lemon and rub it over any stain or tarnish spots on the lid. Lemon juice and a soft cloth may be used instead. Let the lemon juice sit on the zinc lid for about an hour. Then wash with soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Lemon juice, because of its acidity, will brighten zinc. After using lemon juice on zinc, the acid must be thoroughly removed or the tarnish will form again quickly because the oxidation is hastened by the acid.

Sterilize the lids for canning by submerging the lids in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove with tongs and place on a clean towel to cool.