How To Clean Brass At Home- The Ultimate Guide

Age is just a number, right?

While we humans tend to age gracefully, unfortunately, most of our belongings don’t seem to follow the same trail at all!

The royal chandelier that never missed to collect compliments from your friends and onlookers, has lost its charm years ago and now just waiting for you to throw it to a corner of your room.

The shiny door-knocker on the front of your home looks dull and uninviting, something that screams “Change Me NOW!!”

Metals, especially, brass oxidizes and gets tarnished over time. The stylish décor that was once responsible for adding warmth to your interior, has perhaps now taken a different color rather than its original gleam.

Well, call me old-fashioned, but I believe in fixing things instead of changing them right away!

That’s why today I am going to ask every one of you to dust the dirt off from your favorite brass items, follow each step of this how to clean brass at home guideline and show off that retro charm of this timeless beauty to the rest of the world!

Let’s start.

How To Clean Brass Naturally In Different Ways?

Take a magnet off your fridge and hold it to the item you want to clean. Is the magnet sticking? Then, it’s not made of brass after all!

Most brass-plated items are likely to attract a magnet and they can't be treated with any abrasive method as that might lead to further damage. Use clean water and mild soap to wash these types of metal and air them out naturally.

In case the magnet doesn’t stick, then chances are, the item is made of pure brass material. To clean the tarnished piece, follow our step-by-step guidelines down below and enjoy its former shine within a few minutes!

Flour, Salt And Vinegar Mixture

The classic trio that’s found in almost every household!

  • Take a medium-size bowl and pour ½ cup of vinegar into it.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt into the mixture and stir it until the salt gets dissolved.
  • Then you add some flour so that the mixture becomes like a pate-like consistency, approximately about two tablespoons.
  • After the mixture is ready, smear it onto the desired object and wait for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the object with clean water and pat it dry with a towel.

Toothpaste

We know you brushed this morning. Want to see how this product can be used differently? 

Follow along!

  • Pick a regular, white toothpaste form your bathroom counter. It’s better to avoid 100% gel-like paste for this purpose.
  • Squeeze a bit of toothpaste and apply it to the affected area. You can start by putting a thin layer and gradually thicken the layer if necessary.
  • Let it rest there for a few minutes.
  • Use a soft cloth to wipe it off, rinse and pat it dry.

Lemon And Baking Soda

Two is better than one when it comes to handling a tough stain!

  • Take a lemon and cut in half. Squeeze out as much juice as you can into a bowl.
  • Add some baking soda, around 1 teaspoon into the mix and stir a little.
  • Take a clean cloth or a soft rage and dip into the mixture. Then apply it on the selected item.
  • You can repeat the above step as long as the mixture lasts. And then wipe the leftover with a dry towel afterward.

Ketchup

No, it's not for pouring over your spaghetti!

  • Take a piece of an old rag and squirt some of your favorite tomato ketchup on it.
  • Rub onto the selected item thoroughly and let it sit there for a while.
  • Rinse the item with warm water and let it dry naturally.
  • You can also use tomato juice for this purpose.

Soap And Water

Sometimes, the simplest ways are enough to deliver a top-notch performance.

  • Take a clean container and boil some water into it.
  • After taking the pot from the heat, throw a few tablespoons of liquid soap into it.
  • Make the items bathe into the mixture and then use a cloth or a toothbrush to rub on its surface.
  • Let it dry naturally or use a towel to clean afterward.

How To Clean Brass With Chemicals In Different Ways?

It's best to use the natural methods that we have discussed up until now. However, if you want to opt for a more powerful solution that’s able to get rid of the stubbornest stains, then we have listed some chemical methods that you can try at home.

WD-40

WD-40 is an easy and quick solution to any stain related problems and works quite effectively.

  • Unfasten the WD-40 can and insert the spray nozzle.
  • Take a piece of clean cloth and spray the solution directly into that.
  • Rub the cloth in a circular motion all over the selected items and keep repeating this action several times.
  • Wait for 15 to 30 minutes and let the solution dry.
  • Take a towel and clean the solution off to reveal a shiny surface.

Acetone

You have to be careful while using any chemical products on brass items. Acetone is one of the mildest organic solvents that you can use for this purpose. If you have trouble finding this product, then you can use a store-bought nail polish remover, which contains acetone in it.

  • Take a small ball of cotton and pour some acetone over it.
  • Gently rub the ball over the material in a circular motion.
  • If you have trouble reaching a particular spot, then you can use a toothbrush for this purpose. Careful! Don't use the toothbrush for brushing your teeth afterward!
  • Dry it with a towel and soon it will sparkle just like when you first purchased that item!

Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid, otherwise known as muriatic acid is an excellent chemical to peel off the outer layer to reveal a new, shiny one that exists underneath the surface.

However, it will also make your brass to lose its original thickness, so use this ingredient only when there’s no other option left.

  • Plug your sink and fill it with warm water.
  • Pour some liquid dish soap into the water and dip the items into that mix.
  • Take an old toothbrush with soft bristles and scrub the item gently.
  • Take a bowl that’s big enough to submerge the selected item completely and fill it with 32% hydrochloric acid.
  • Wait for 1 minute and then take it off the solution.
  • Rinse it with cold water and remove all traces of the chemical.

Here's a detail guideline on the Best Brass Cleaners, If you are interested in buying one then you can check it out.

Tips And Cautions While Cleaning Brass

No matter which option you prefer to choose from our list, don't forget to follow these tips and tricks, which might turn super helpful and save you from a potential disaster while cleaning brass items.

1. Avoid Using Abrasive Cloth

A lot of methods explained here requires you to pat the objects dry with the help of a clean cloth, right?

When you towel-dry an object, it prevents any blemishes or water spots to set its marks on the surface instantly. However, you can't use abrasive towels or clothes that are brand-new and have rough textures for this purpose. Doing so might lead to permanent scratch marks on the object.

2. Be Careful With Lacquered Objects

For instance, if you own a brass table lamp, chances are, it comes with a lacquered finish. In that case, it’s highly advisable not to treat it with soap or warm water!

If the objects are ruined beyond normal polishing work, then you have to remove the lacquered layer first, follow one of the techniques mentioned in this article and then relacquer it to retain the former shine effectively.

3. Try Not Touching Brass Items Unnecessarily

If it's a showpiece or something that you don't need to use every day, then try to avoid touching with your hands frequently.

Oil present in our hands hurries up the tarnishing process of bass materials and cuts the lifespan of that object by half. If you have to touch the object for some reason, make sure to wash your hands with soap before that.

Special Tip- How To Polish Brass

It’s great that you are trying to restore the shine of the antique items. But did you know you if you polish the surface and take care of any brass items on a regular basis, there will be no need to go to any extensive measures anymore?

It might sound like hard work. But trust me, it is fun. On top of that, your hard work will be rewarded with an ever-new brass décor that’s going to last for a long time!

Lacquered Brass

A lot of brass items are coated with a protective layer, which is called “Lacquered”.  You have to be a little careful with this type of material, as too much abrasive compound can damage this outer layer.

  • Soak a soft cloth into lukewarm water.
  • Squeeze out the excess water and rub the cloth over the piece using circular motion.
  • Take a dry towel or you can use a jeweler’s cloth and buff the material to remove any leftover residue.

Non-Lacquered Brass

A non-lacquered brass is a whole different story. There are several ways you can choose to clean a non-lacquered material as it doesn’t require you to be extra attentive to it.

As you need to deal with a lot of polishing products at this point, it's recommended that you use a pair of cotton gloves to avoid any kind of skin damage.

Liquid Polish

Whether you are looking for a way to fix those scratch marks or any kind of other imperfections, the commercial liquid polishing solutions work best for both purposes.

Popular liquid polishes include some renowned names like Brasso, Bar Keepers Friend, Cameo, Blitz etc.

Before using one of these solutions, make sure to shake it well. Then pour some of the liquid onto a clean cloth or sponge and rub over the surface. Wipe it off with a clean towel afterward.

​Solid Polish

If you are looking for a milder product that doesn’t contain any abrasive compound in it, then solid polish is your best option.

Solid polishes are cream or paste based products that help restore the shine in any metal materials without harming it for even a little bit. Products like Simichrome and BlueMagic falls under this category.

To get the best result, just smear some of the paste onto the desired object, wait for it to dry and then rinse it with cold water.

Cotton Wadding

If you are constantly thinking about the water spots that get left on the surface even when you have just finished polishing a brass material, then a cotton-wadding polishing technique might be right up to your alley.

Products like Nevr-Dull works well on any kind of metal surfaces. And the good news is, it's super easy to use!

There’s no need to measure any liquids or fear of spilling the solution by mistake. The cotton wads are already treated with necessary compounds. All you have to do is to rub the cotton pieces onto the selected object and voila! The surface will automatically be polished with no scratch marks or leftover residue.  

Final Words

Brass is making a huge comeback in recent years. The 70’s retro charm and vibe are so back in this season!

And the most amazing thing about this element is that it can be as bold or as subtle as you want it to be and goes perfectly with any traditional or modern décor.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s bring in some metallic charm into our home and create a little jazz to the surrounding environment!

And in case the metal begins to lose its bites, you can always follow this how to clean brass at home guidelines and make the item shine like a new one in no time!

Don’t forget to have fun while redecorating your home with some chic brass decorative pieces. And be sure to clean them once in a while to keep the beautiful shine last forever.  

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