How To Clean Brass - Tips For Polishing Brass

brass clock
Spring Cleaning Tips

Within this article on how to clean brass I will tell you how to polish brass and make it shine brighter than ever, how to protect it from damage and how to clean it with natural household prodcucts.

Before you learn how to clean your brass you'll need to check whether the object in question is solid brass or just brass plated because this will affect how you should treat it. Brass plated objects should not be cleaned with abrasive cleaning products such as steel wool or salt (below), doing so could ruin it.

To test whether or not it is solid brass you can use a magnet, usually brass plated objects will have metal underneath such as steel, therefore the magnet will stick to it. If your item is solid brass the magnet won't stick to it. However if the 'brass' item is light (in weight) then the material underneath could be non-metalic. For a more definiate result you can do a little patch test on an area of the object that is not generally viiewed. To do this grab yourself a sharp intsrument and make a scratch. If the object is solid brass the scratch will leave a bright yellow mark. If the mark is any other colour then your object is brass plated.

So without beating around the bush, let's get started.

How to polish brass

Ketchup - Believe it or not ketchup can be used to make brass shine. Grab yourself a cloth and wipe the ketchup on the piece of brass you want to clean, why not start on something simple like a door knob / handle, to give you the peace of mind that it works (it reall does work :-) )? When the ketchup has dried use a toothbrush to remove it, give a quick buff and marvel at the shine.

Lemon - The versatile lemon can be used for cleaning many things and it's use in cleaning brass shouldn't be underestimated. Grab yourself a lemon and squeeze it over a saucer to gather the juice, next add enough salt to form a paste and lightly rub it on the brass, before washing away with warm water.

Baking soda & lemon - For this tip on how to clean brass, liberally sprinkle baking soda over a lemon that has been chopped in half and rub it over the surface of the brass ornament, door handle (etc) you want to clean and rinse with warm water.

Cream of tartar - For this tip you'll need to make a paste from lemon juice and cream of tartar and smear it over the surface of the intended piece of brass to be poilished, rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

Olive oil - Using olive oil to polish brass will make it shine beautifully and will also brighten tarnished brass too. So grab a cloth and dampen it with olive oil before wiping the brass.

Flour, vinegar and salt - This is one of the mnost interesting methods of cleaning brass I have used and what's more it works brilliantly. Pour 250ml of white vinegar into a suitable mixing bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt and enough flour to form a thick paste. Smear the paste over the brass, clean away with warm water and buff with a soft cloth.

Tothpaste - For this tip on how to clean brass add a few drops of water to the toothpaste and with this begin to polish the brass with a soft bristled toothbrush (use an old one, the bristles should be perfectly soft), before rinsing with warm water.

Worcesteshire sauce - Worcestershire sauce is one of my favourite household condiments; not only does it taste really nice it can be used to clean brass too. To polish the brass dampen a soft cloth with the sauce, wipe over the brass and rinse with warm water, before finally buffing the brass with a separate soft cloth.

Sour milk - For this brass cleaning tip cover the brass with the milk, wait for it to dry before rinsing with warm water, alternatively you can use plain unflavoured yogurt.

Onion - This is one of the most bizzare methods on how to clean brass, but it does work. Get yourself a couple of onions peel and chop them into small cubes, place in a pan and pour in enough water to cover them. Next, bring to the boil and simmer for two hours. When the time has elapsed remove the onion from the pan and use the water to polish your brass.

How to protect brass

The best way to protect brass is to lacquere it. You can do this with car wax. This will last for months without having to re-apply, however on items which are heavily used such as door handles you will have to apply it more often.

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