How to clean brass

How to clean brass

Cleaning old and antique brass can be a very frustrating endeavor, because over time, the brass oxidizes and becomes covered in tarnish. Proper cleaning is critical, though, because if you fail, improper cleaning can damage the brass permanently. If you are collecting the brass for its value, bear in mind that any cleaning efforts whatsoever can negatively impact the overall value, so consult a brass expert before attempting to clean a piece of valuable brass.

Lacquered Brass

Lacquer protects brass from oxidation, but old brass — especially antique brass — should never be lacquered. Nevertheless, if the brass has mistakenly been lacquered in the past, you should first remove the lacquer before attempting any other cleaning procedures. Gently pour hot water directly over the brass to soften the lacquer, and then peel it away. If hot water fails, rub the brass with denatured alcohol or nail polish remover. Lacquered brass will have a slight yellow tinge.

Basic Cleaning Procedure

Brass cleaners can sometimes do the trick, but for antique brass, try soaking the metal for a full hour in undiluted white vinegar or clear ammonia. Both are safe and natural products, and both will break down oxidation and leave the brass with a natural shine. If the brass object is too large to soak in vinegar or clear ammonia, or it contains nonbrass parts that may become damaged by an acid soak, proceed to the next section.

Salt and Lemon Method

The combination of lemon juice and salt can also break down oxidation, due to the intense combination of citric acid and sodium chloride. Simply cut a lemon in half, sprinkle salt on the moist surface and scrub the entire brass surface. Rub as hard as you can to slowly remove the tarnish. You can also try rubbing ketchup over your brass and then rinsing it. Ketchup similarly contains acids that break down tarnish.

Maintaining Old Brass

Do not apply lacquer to old brass. If you want to keep your old brass like new and protect it from oxidation, polish it once every few weeks using a very light acid treatment, like ketchup or white vinegar, which contains only 5 percent acetic acid. Avoid using harsh metal polishes, as they can leave residues behind.

Whether your household furniture or accessories are solid brass or brass-plated, here are cleaning tips for making anything brass bright and shiny again.

Related To:

Brass is a popular material for household furniture and accessories. Over time, though, brass tarnishes and loses its warm gleam. You can make it shiny and bright again with our guide on how to clean brass.

How to clean brass

Bathroom Countertop and Brass Fixtures

Brass fixtures dress up the cool marble countertop in this bathroom. The brass’s warm hues are continued via wood accessories, like the mirror and soap dispenser.

Photo by: Wake and Loom

Before Cleaning

First, check to see if your item is solid brass or brass-plated. Do this by grabbing a refrigerator magnet and placing it on the piece. Magnets don’t stick to solid brass, so if the magnet sticks, your item is brass-plated. This distinction is important because if you scrub a brass-plated item too hard you can remove the plating. How do you clean brass items if they’re plated? Wipe with hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly.

How to Clean Brass

How to clean brass depends on how dirty or tarnished it is. For light cleaning, hot, soapy water and a soft cleaning cloth may be all you need. Wipe down the surfaces with the cloth. Use a toothbrush to scrub in crevices. Rinse the item with clean, warm water and dry thoroughly.

If your brass is really dirty or tarnished, you can use commercial cleaners. Use them sparingly, though, because they’re abrasive, and frequent use can scratch the surface of the brass.

Natural Brass Cleaners

To clean brass naturally and more gently, use the ingredients found in your kitchen.

Ketchup & Tomato Juice

The first natural cleaner for brass is ketchup. Yes, ketchup. The mild acid in tomatoes removes tarnish and dirt from brass. Rub ketchup onto your brass item with a soft cloth, rinse with warm water and then dry thoroughly. You can also soak small brass items in a bowl of tomato juice to clean them. Put them in the juice and let them sit for 5 minutes (longer if they’re really dirty). Pull them out, rinse with warm water and then dry thoroughly.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice also contains a mild acid that will clean brass. There are two lemon-based cleaners you can make that will leave your brass shiny and bright. For light tarnish, cut a lemon in half and sprinkle it with table salt. Rub the salted lemon over the surface of the brass. Once you’ve covered the surface with the lemon juice and salt mixture, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff until the piece shines. For heavy tarnish, make a paste using two parts cream of tartar to one part lemon juice. Apply the paste to the brass item and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. Rinse the item thoroughly with warm water, then buff with a dry cloth.

How to clean brass

25 Natural Cleaners You Can Make and Use at Home 25 Photos

Say bye-bye to store-bought cleaners and give these homemade solutions a try. Each one has four-ingredients — or less!

How to Prevent Tarnishing

To prevent your newly clean brass from tarnishing, rub it with a thin coat of mineral or linseed oil. Also, avoid touching brass items as much as possible because the oil on your hands will hasten tarnishing.

Knowing how to clean brass will keep it shiny and beautiful with a minimum of work.

With a bit of knowledge—and some elbow grease, too—you can keep clean brass with many common products that may be in your kitchen cabinets already.

How to clean brass

Brass brings a warm, burnished glow to household items—everything from switch plates and door knockers to bathroom fixtures, furniture, and even kitchen utensils. A strong and corrosion-resistant metal, brass is a relatively inexpensive alloy made from zinc and copper. On account of its bright, golden color, the material has long been a favorite material in home design. However, like any metal, brass can become dull and tarnished over time. Fortunately, with only a little bit of knowledge—and some elbow grease, too—you can learn how to clean brass and keep it clean for the long haul. Believe it or not, many effective brass-cleaning products are already in your kitchen!

Note: The first thing you need to determine is whether the item you wish to clean is, indeed, brass. Though it may look like solid brass, it may in fact be brass-plated steel, zinc, or cast iron. The easiest way to check? Place a small magnet on the metal. Magnets will not stick to solid brass. So if the magnet sticks, the piece is brass-plated. Plated items can be cleaned with hot soapy water, but rubbing or polishing them too aggressively can remove the brass plating, so proceed with caution.

There are numerous ways to clean solid brass. Your approach should depending on the level of dust, dirt, or tarnish that has built up. Here are a few tips and techniques:

  • Start with hot, soapy water and a microfiber cleaning cloth: Go over all of the surfaces thoroughly with the cleaning cloth, using a clean toothbrush to get into any crevices. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.
  • For tougher cleaning jobs, pull out the ketchup, tomato sauce, or tomato paste. Simply rub a thin coat onto the brass, let sit for an hour or so, and then clean the piece with hot, soapy water.
  • Another option is to make a paste of equal parts salt, flour, and white vinegar. Apply the paste to the brass and let sit for up to an hour. Rinse with warm water and buff dry.
  • An alternative natural cleaning combination is salt and lemon. Cut a lemon in half and remove the seeds. Coat the cut half of the lemon with table salt and rub it over the surface of the brass, re-coating the lemon with salt as needed. Once you’ve covered the entire surface, buff to a shine with a clean, dry cloth. You can also make a paste using two parts cream of tartar powder to one part lemon juice—rub the paste on the brass, let sit for 30 minutes, rinse with warm water and buff.
  • Commercial metal cleaners and polishes can also be effective for cleaning brass and are commonly available at most home centers and supermarkets. Leading products available on Amazon include Brasso, Bar Keepers Friend, Never Dull, Cameo, Hagerty and Blitz.

How to clean brass

Mistakes to Avoid

There are a few areas of concern that you should be aware of when it comes to polishing and cleaning brass:

  • Avoid using highly abrasive scrubbing cloths, metal-bristled brushes, or steel wool; these will scratch the surface of the brass.
  • To prevent tarnishing, a thin coating of linseed oil or mineral oil can be applied to clean brass with a soft terry towel.
  • Many brass objects are protected with a lacquer finish and should only be cleaned with hot, soapy water. If pieces of this type are heavily tarnished, you will need to remove the lacquer with a paint or varnish remover, clean and polish the brass using one of the techniques above, then re-lacquer the piece.
  • You should avoid touching your brass items as much as possible; oils in your skin can hasten tarnishing.

Regular cleaning and polishing with a microfiber cloth will help keep dust and dirt from accumulating and keep your brass accents lovely and lustrous.

From jewelry to cookware and home décor, brass is a staple material used to make some of your favorite goods. While you may handle brass regularly, do you actually know the best way to clean it? In all of its beauty, the chemical properties of brass require special care to maintain shine and keep it clean. "Brass is an alloy made up of various proportions of copper and zinc, and sometimes additional metals," explains Kim Kanary, a certified diamontologist and VP of community development and engagement at JTV. When exposed to air and moisture, oxygen combines with the metal to form an oxide on its surface—this results in the greenish color we see on tarnished, dull brass. Cleaning with an acidic homemade solution or a store-bought cleaner can dissolve those oxides and bring back a shiny exterior, but it's important to be gentle with your cleaning.

"If you don't use a brass product often, I would refrain from soaking, cleaning, or scrubbing it regularly, and just make that part of your spring cleaning," says Danielle Smith Parker, CEO and founder of Detroit Maid (soon to be called Clean Break). Be aware that brass will gradually become duller the more regularly it's used but going overboard with unnecessary cleaning can contribute to tarnishing, too. In the case of regularly worn brass jewelry which is constantly exposed to moisture and oils on your skin, Kanary says you can be a bit more liberal with your cleaning and rinse your jewelry with soap and water after each wear. With the help of some cleaning experts, here's a step-by-step guide to properly cleaning brass.

Make a homemade acidic paste.

Chances are when you search how to clean brass, many DIY cleaning solutions like Coca-Cola and toothpaste will appear. Sean Parry, a cleaning expert at the house cleaning company Neat Services, explains that this is because of the mild acid present in dark soda. "The acid can react with oxides to effectively reverse the process of tarnishing," he says. In the case of toothpaste, Parry says, "It's believed the whitening agent in toothpaste can have a similar effect on tarnished brass." However, our pro says it often only makes somewhat of a difference on smaller surfaces, like brass jewelry, and is generally not the most effective way to clean brass.

While soda and toothpaste may be helpful in a pinch, one of the most effective DIY cleaning solutions you can make is a paste with three ingredients: vinegar, salt, and flour. First, Parry says to dissolve one teaspoon of salt into one-half cup of vinegar, then add flour until the mixture becomes a paste. Next, rub this paste onto the brass, leaving it on the metal for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water using your hand or a soft cloth and buff dry. "The acid in the paste dissolves the metal oxides that make the brass tarnish," Parry says, "leaving only shiny metal behind."

Use vinegar on its own.

"We swear by vinegar. It's one of the best natural cleaners," says Smith Parker. In addition to that homemade paste, vinegar on its own can get the job done better than other ingredients because of its high acidity. Smith Parker recommends soaking jewelry and cookware in a bowl of vinegar for at least one hour—but no longer than two. Then take your brass product out of the vinegar and rinse it off with water. If grime or dullness remains, Smith Parker says you can use soap and water to scrub the brass with a microfiber cloth towel or sponge. Do not use scouring pads or steel wool since that can leave scratches on the brass. (Also, if you don't have vinegar, Smith Parker says that Worcestershire sauce works on its own, too.)

If you need to clean a stationary brass product, such as a faucet or handle, she recommends pouring some vinegar into a sandwich bag, then wrapping the bag around the brass with a twist tie for one to two hours so that it can soak. If you don't regularly use the item you're cleaning—for example, if you hang brass pots in your kitchen as décor—then you shouldn't clean the items too often. If your goal is to simply prevent tarnishing of an unused brass object, Smith Parker says occasional water rinses with two vinegar soaks per year will do the trick.

Store-bought cleaners work, too.

Bar Keeper's Friend Copper Glo Powder ($7.90, amazon.com) is a go-to brass cleaner for Smith Parker's company. Use water to turn the powder into a paste, then scrub it on the brass for a few minutes before rinsing it off. When you're shopping for cleaners, though, Smith Parker says to not buy all-purpose soap or sprays since they won't work well with brass's properties.

If your brass is especially tarnished or dirty, Parry recommends going with a store-bought cleaner or brass polish right away since you'll need stronger cleaning agents than what you can pull together from your kitchen pantry.

Bring back the beautiful shine of your favorite brass items with these editor-tested cleaning methods. We’ll show you how to use common household ingredients to remove grime and buildup.

Over time, your favorite brass pieces can lose their shine as oxygen, water, and other elements cause the metal to corrode or tarnish. Luckily, there are many simple ways to bring luster back to your brass. With our editor-tested methods for how to clean brass, you'll only need basic household supplies and a few minutes of your time to restore shine to hardware, doorknobs, decorative objects, and more. Before you begin cleaning brass, however, make sure that what you're polishing is actually made with the material. Just because an item looks like brass doesn't mean that it's pure. Many items are simply brass-plated, and these cleaning methods could damage them. If you're not sure, try this easy test: Check the metal with a magnet; if it sticks, it's not real brass.

Before you start cleaning your brass item, you should also check to see if the brass has been lacquered. Lacquer is a thin, shiny layer that helps to prevent tarnish. Unfortunately, most cleaning methods will damage lacquered brass, so your best option is to take the piece to a professional.

You'll also want to understand what kind of stain, grime, or buildup you're working with. Always test the cleaning method first in a small, inconspicuous area. For stubborn stains, you can try several different cleaning methods on the same spot; just make sure to complete the entire process before moving on to the next method. If you have any doubts or if the item you're trying to clean is high in value, consider taking the brass piece in for a professional cleaning.

1. How to Clean Brass with Ketchup

Who would have guessed that your favorite burger topping could double as a brass cleaner? Ketchup's mix of tomatoes, spices, and vinegar is a cheap, straightforward way to revive old brass. This simple cleaning hack requires only the condiment and a few clean cloths. Start by squirting a small amount of ketchup onto the brass in an inconspicuous spot, such as the bottom. Let it sit for a couple of seconds, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. If it works well, repeat on the remainder of the brass piece. Rinse thoroughly, then dry with a clean cloth.

2. How to Clean Brass with Vinegar

Three common household items unite for this brass cleaning method. To make tough stains disappear, combine salt's abrasive power, vinegar's tough acid, and all-purpose flour as a thickener. In a medium-size bowl, add 1 teaspoon salt to 1/2 cup vinegar. Stir the mixture until the salt is dissolved. Then add enough flour to make a paste (about two tablespoons). Rub the paste onto your brass object and let it dry for 10 minutes. Rinse, wipe clean, and thoroughly dry the brass with a clean cloth.

3. How to Clean Brass with Lemon and Baking Soda

Lemon juice and baking soda are powerful natural cleaners on their own, but when united, this dynamic duo removes brass buildup with ease. Start by squeezing the juice from half of a lemon into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and mix. With a clean cloth, rub some of the mixture onto the brass. Polish and buff away grime, reapplying the mixture as needed. Wipe away any leftover residue with a wet rag, then dry with a clean cloth.

Editor's Tip: Try this method on brass items that you can't easily soak, such as doorknobs and knockers. You'll revive the shine without having to remove any hardware.

4. How to Clean Brass with Soap and Water

Sometimes the simplest brass cleaning methods are the most effective. If you're short on cleaning supplies, try soap and water to clean tarnished brass. Make a warm bath for your brass in a clean container, then mix in a few tablespoons of soap. Soak the brass for a few seconds, then use a microfiber cloth or clean toothbrush to work out any stains. The warm water and soap will do some of the work, but this method might still require a bit of elbow grease! Once all of the tarnish is gone, remove the brass piece from the soapy water. Rinse and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

5. How to Clean Brass with Toothpaste

Toothpaste helps whiten your teeth, and you can use that same cleaning magic on brass. To clean brass with toothpaste, first pick a plain, white toothpaste (you don't need any gels or fancy flavors). Then, apply a thin layer of the paste to your brass object. Let rest for a few minutes, then polish with a clean cloth. For tough spots, you'll likely need to use a bit more effort. Feel free to apply extra dabs of toothpaste to particularly stubborn areas. Once the brass is polished to your liking, rinse with cool water and dry with a microfiber cloth.

More Tips for Cleaning and Polishing Brass

If you prefer to use a commercial brass cleaner, be sure to choose one that's specifically designed for brass. You can easily find these tried-and-true brass cleaners on Amazon and at a variety of other retailers: Brasso metal polish ($8), Bar Keepers Friend cleanser ($8), and Mr. Metal liquid polish ($14). Always wash the item with mild soap and water to remove dust or other debris before polishing. Then follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to clean and polish your brass item.

Brass polishes typically leave a protective coating on the surface, which helps prevent future tarnish and discoloration. To keep your brass looking shiny and clean, avoid touching the piece too often (the oils on your skin can accelerate tarnishing) and use a soft cloth when cleaning or polishing to prevent scratches on the surface. With regular upkeep, your brass will maintain its beautiful shine for years to come.

How to clean brass

Brass pops up on everything from lamps and vases to coffee tables and flatware—and while brass is in style, tarnish isn’t. It’s critical to know how to clean brass so you can keep all your brass items gleaming. We turned to the experts to get their best tips on caring for brass: Teri Hartman, manager of Liz’s Antique Hardware in Los Angeles, and Carl Sorenson, founder of Nanz, a New York company that produces custom-made solid-brass hardware. Here, they reveal their favorite brass cleaners, how to make a DIY brass polish, and other key insights on cleaning brass. Whether you’ve picked up a vintage lamp or just replaced your cabinet pulls, here’s how to make your brass items look their best.

1. Determine Whether the Brass Has Been Lacquered

There’s a surprisingly easy way to determine the lacquer-related status of your brass: If there is already tarnish on the brass, it probably has not been lacquered. “Chances are it hasn’t, because the point of lacquer is to prevent tarnishing,” says Hartman. “But if there’s a thin, shiny coating that is coming off in places, then the piece has been lacquered and the only real option is to take it to a metal refinisher.”

2. Determine if the Object is Brass or Brass-Plated

The way to know whether or not something is fully brass is simple: Place a magnet on it. If it doesn’t stick, it’s brass. If it does stick, it’s only brass-plated—and if the object is just brass-plated, all you actually need to clean it is warm water and soap. Polishing isn’t necessary on objects that are only brass-plated, and, in fact, it could actually scratch the plating off. That’s why it’s important to identify whether or not the brass is just a plating before you embark on any brass cleaning project.

3. Polish the Brass Regularly

To remove discoloration, use a polish designed specifically for brass. Apply it according to the instructions on the bottle using a soft cleaning cloth (Sorenson prefers a knit-cotton material, like that of an undershirt). Though Hartman rubs in polish with very fine steel wool, she warns that you should never use any steel wool that’s thicker than grade 00, to avoid scratching the surface. And before you get started on polishing, always wash the brass before polishing it. All you need is warm water and mild dish soap. Use a soft, damp cloth to apply the soapy water, and clean it until all debris, dust, and dirt are gone.

4. Choose a Tried-and-True Brass Cleaner

There are plenty of store-bought brass cleaners that you can use. Here's a list of what Sorenson and Hartman consider the best brass cleaners.

5. Or, Make a Natural, DIY Brass Polish at Home

Of course, you don’t have to buy your brass polish. You probably have everything you need to make your own brass polish in your kitchen. Your ingredients will be all-natural, but fair warning: Hartman says, “The procedure is the same, but it takes a lot more elbow grease.”

Combine the juice of half a lemon with a teaspoon of baking soda and stir until it becomes a paste. Apply the paste with a soft cloth. If the tarnish is heavy, let the piece sit with the paste on it for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry. Repeat if necessary.

Slice a lemon in half and cover the cut section with a teaspoon of table salt. Rub the lemon on the tarnished piece, squeezing it as you go to release the lemon juice. Rinse with warm water and dry.

Combine equal parts of all three ingredients to create a paste. Apply a thin layer of that paste to the tarnished brass and leave it for an hour before rinsing with warm water and drying.

When you wondered how to clean brass, you probably didn’t think ketchup would be involved, but—surprise—it is! Tomatoes contain an acid that helps to remove tarnish on brass and other metals; that’s why applying a tomato-based product can work wonders on your brass. Ketchup, tomato paste, and tomato sauce all work equally well. Apply a layer to your brass and leave it on for an hour. Then wash with warm water and dish soap. Let it dry.

6. Enlist an Expert for Certain Items

For functional elements, such as locks, hinges, hardware, or light fixtures, Sorenson suggests seeking the help of a professional. “Wiring, mechanical complexity, and lubricating requirements generally turn these types of projects into more than simple DIY chores,” he says.

7. Consider Letting the Brass Age Gracefully, and Not Polishing It at All

Sometimes the beauty of an antique brass object is its tarnish, in which case Sorenson recommends leaving it alone. “Oftentimes it’s best to forgo the polishing process altogether,” he says, noting that polishing antiques could significantly reduce their value. “Too often I see what would be a wonderfully patinated item significantly degraded by a bad decision to restore it to a like-new state.”

Whether your household furniture or accessories are solid brass or brass-plated, here are cleaning tips for making anything brass bright and shiny again.

Related To:

Brass is a popular material for household furniture and accessories. Over time, though, brass tarnishes and loses its warm gleam. You can make it shiny and bright again with our guide on how to clean brass.

How to clean brass

Bathroom Countertop and Brass Fixtures

Brass fixtures dress up the cool marble countertop in this bathroom. The brass’s warm hues are continued via wood accessories, like the mirror and soap dispenser.

Photo by: Wake and Loom

Before Cleaning

First, check to see if your item is solid brass or brass-plated. Do this by grabbing a refrigerator magnet and placing it on the piece. Magnets don’t stick to solid brass, so if the magnet sticks, your item is brass-plated. This distinction is important because if you scrub a brass-plated item too hard you can remove the plating. How do you clean brass items if they’re plated? Wipe with hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly.

How to Clean Brass

How to clean brass depends on how dirty or tarnished it is. For light cleaning, hot, soapy water and a soft cleaning cloth may be all you need. Wipe down the surfaces with the cloth. Use a toothbrush to scrub in crevices. Rinse the item with clean, warm water and dry thoroughly.

If your brass is really dirty or tarnished, you can use commercial cleaners. Use them sparingly, though, because they’re abrasive, and frequent use can scratch the surface of the brass.

Natural Brass Cleaners

To clean brass naturally and more gently, use the ingredients found in your kitchen.

Ketchup & Tomato Juice

The first natural cleaner for brass is ketchup. Yes, ketchup. The mild acid in tomatoes removes tarnish and dirt from brass. Rub ketchup onto your brass item with a soft cloth, rinse with warm water and then dry thoroughly. You can also soak small brass items in a bowl of tomato juice to clean them. Put them in the juice and let them sit for 5 minutes (longer if they’re really dirty). Pull them out, rinse with warm water and then dry thoroughly.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice also contains a mild acid that will clean brass. There are two lemon-based cleaners you can make that will leave your brass shiny and bright. For light tarnish, cut a lemon in half and sprinkle it with table salt. Rub the salted lemon over the surface of the brass. Once you’ve covered the surface with the lemon juice and salt mixture, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff until the piece shines. For heavy tarnish, make a paste using two parts cream of tartar to one part lemon juice. Apply the paste to the brass item and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. Rinse the item thoroughly with warm water, then buff with a dry cloth.

How to clean brass

25 Natural Cleaners You Can Make and Use at Home 25 Photos

Say bye-bye to store-bought cleaners and give these homemade solutions a try. Each one has four-ingredients — or less!

How to Prevent Tarnishing

To prevent your newly clean brass from tarnishing, rub it with a thin coat of mineral or linseed oil. Also, avoid touching brass items as much as possible because the oil on your hands will hasten tarnishing.

Knowing how to clean brass will keep it shiny and beautiful with a minimum of work.

How to clean brass

Cleaning brass can be easy or it can be a challenge. It all depends on what you know about how it tarnishes, how to remove tarnish, and how to reduce tarnishing. Brass tarnishing is a natural process of oxidation that will happen when a brass surface is exposed to air. You can keep your brass shiny and untarnished by covering its surface with lacquer. You can also remove the tarnish with a commercial brass cleaner and by cleaning it with a household brass cleaner such as vinegar. Here are a few ideas on how to make and use a vinegar brass cleaner.

Step 1 – Identify Lacquered Brass

As said previously, in order for it to tarnish, brass must be exposed to air. If yours is lacquered, it will not be exposed to air and will not likely become tarnished unless the lacquer becomes compromised. To clean fingerprints and other marks off lacquered brass you need only to wipe it with a clean damp cloth. Then, dry the brass, and buff it. You can usually tell if it’s lacquered, because a lacquer finish can scratch. If you see scratches or marks on your brass surface that you can widen with your fingernail, it is likely lacquered.

Step 2 – Clean With a Vinegar-Water Solution

Make a vinegar-water solution by mixing one part water and two parts vinegar in a container. Be sure your container is large enough to allow your brass item to be completely submerged. Sink your object into the solution and allow it to soak for two to three hours. Then, remove it, rinse it with clean water, and dry it.

Step 3 – Clean With a Vinegar Paste

Alternatively, you can make a paste to clean it using equal parts vinegar, salt, and white flour. Use a soft brush (a toothbrush will work) to apply the paste to the non-lacquered brass surface, and work it in. If you don’t have a brush, you can use your fingers. Allow the brass item to sit with this paste on it for up to one hour. If it sits longer, the paste will dry, lose its effectiveness, and be more difficult to remove. Rinse the paste off with clean water and then dry with a soft, dry cloth, and polish.

Step 4 – Buff Your Brass

Once your piece has been cleaned and dried, use a soft cloth such as flannel to buff. Rub the cloth against the brass finish in fast circular motions to produce a brilliant shine.

Step 5 – Prevent Tarnish

Avoid unnecessary cleaning by protecting brass from exposure to air. You can do this by lacquering these surfaces, or by applying several thin coats of olive oil with a soft cloth.