I often find myself hand sewing small seams or buttons, repairing a garment or embroidering something using standard hand sewing needles. After about 8 hours of active use, the needles start to become harder and harder to push through the fabric and they take on a dull, black color. I assume this is corrosion due to the natural sweat and acid on my hands.
Here's a picture of some of my needles. The ones on the bottom are (mostly) unused, the ones on the top are used for a few hours.
The problem is not that the tips of the needles are blunt, but the surface seems to become less smooth and has a harder time gliding through the fabric. Sometimes I hear the needle stopping in the fabric for a fraction of a second before going in further. Sewing with these needles gets increasingly frustrating until I realize what's going on and switch to a new one. New needles don't cost a fortune, but I find it frustrating how quick they become unusable.
Is there a way to restore a used needle to it's former smooth surface? Or is there a way I can treat a brand new needle to prolong the lifetime of it's smooth finish?