How To Clean Brass

How To Clean Brass

Clean Brass. A very effective professional method to make brass looking as good as new. An eight-step approach to improving the appearance of your brass.

Step 1: You will need:

  • 1 magnet
  • some washing up liquid
  • some hot water
  • 1 old toothbrush
  • some cloths
  • a pair of rubber gloves
  • 1 Lacquer or varnish remover
  • some Brass polish
  • some Old newspapers
  • some Cotton wool
  • 1 Paintbrush
  • some clear lacquer

Step 2: To clean or not to clean?

Over time, brass tarnishes losing its shine. However, clean doesn't have to mean high gloss shiny when it comes to brass. Some people prefer a more weathered look. Also, over-cleaning and using abrasive materials can do more harm than good, especially in the case of antiques. If you have antique brass it's best to consult an expert, so you can be sure you won't remove the natural signs of ageing.

Step 3: Is it actually brass?

Press a magnet against the object. If it sticks, it's only brass plated. Be careful when cleaning brass plated objects, you could wear through the brass to the base metal.

Step 4: Is it just dirty?

If the brass is simply dirty, you can wash it with hot, soapy water.

Add a little washing-up liquid to a bowl of warm water. Dampen a cloth and rub away any dirt. Use a toothbrush to get into any awkward spots. Be careful not to rub away any delicate engravings on the surface of the brass.

Step 5: Lacquer removal

If your brass is truly tarnished, you may need to remove a lacquer coating before you can polish it. Lacquer remover is available from hardware and DIY stores.

Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands and lay down several sheets of old newspaper to cover your work surface. Make sure your space is well ventilated.

Use a paintbrush to apply the lacquer remover.

Step 6: Polishing

Once the lacquer has been stripped, put some brass polish on a cloth, and rub it in. Use another cloth to buff as much of a shine as you can into the brass.

Step 7: Lacquering

Lacquering helps the brass retain its shine for longer by providing a protective coating. Use cotton wool or a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of the lacquer.

Step 8: Don't touch

Clear up and wait for it to dry. As soon as your brass is dry, avoid touching it. Oils from your skin will begin tarnishing it immediately and leave lingering fingerprints. Use a clean cloth to handle your brass.