Brass tarnishes quickly despite its excellent corrosion resistance. After being exposed to moisture, or even only air, it will lose its original luster within hours. Fortunately, with careful polishing, the tarnish on brass may be extracted almost as quickly. But, before we show you how to restore your brass pieces to their former glory and how to polish a trumpet, let us first learn more about brass.
What Is Brass Made From
When they hear the term brass, most people first think of a musical instrument like a trombone, cymbal, or trumpet. This is because brass instruments are among the most popular types of brass pieces. Few people are aware of the continuing use of brass extrusion, bars, and tubing. This is a copper and zinc metal. Trace quantities such as phosphorus, arsenic, plume, manganese, aluminum, and silicone are often applied to improve their properties.
Brass’s corrosion resistance is due to its copper content, though zinc is also corrosion-resistant. When exposed to the elements, brass, like copper, gradually develops a patina on its surface, as compared to other metals, including ferrous metals, which form rust. A patina is a thin film of material that forms as a result of the interaction of copper molecules on the surface of brass with oxygen molecules.
Regrettably, the rustic charm of patina does not appeal to everyone. Some people like their brass pieces to look elegantly antiquated, while others prefer them to be polished at all times. Since the initial stage of patination is marked by the development of tarnish, those who oppose it should deal with it when it is still in the form of tarnish. Tarnish is, predictably, much simpler to strip than a fully developed coat of patina.
What Causes Brass To Tarnish
Tarnish is, as said, an unformed patina, but how does it truly form? The easiest way to find out is by placing a brass fragment beneath the electron microscope and studying how its molecules
react with the air or some other element or material on its surface.
The combination of copper and zinc forms a very unusual arrangement of molecules. The atoms of these molecules exchange electrons of valence. Many who have lost their electrons of valence have become ions, and they are the ones who create tarnish. When brass ions bind with air or moisture ions, a different color film of chemical compounds appears from the metal itself. This layer begins as dull tan in stages and leads to dark gray, blue, or green. Allow us to provide some useful cleaning tips on tarnished brass.
How To Take Tarnish Off Brass
As previously stated, it is easier to remove patina in its early stages, especially when it is just in the form of tarnish, so cleaning your brass item should not be difficult at this point. There are two approaches: natural (using natural and ordinary products) and artificial (using chemicals). Regardless of your favorite cleaning agent for tarnished brass, here’s what you can do to remove tarnish from your brass pieces.
Step 1: Double-check that it’s made of brass
Since it resembles gold, brass is often used as a decorative material. This mimicking property is not exclusive to brass; other metals will appear the same as brass with the correct alloying or coating. If you are not cautious and begin cleaning the item without first ensuring that it is really brass, you can end up damaging it with the chemicals you purchased. Keep a magnet on the object to see if it is really brass.
Since brass is not magnetic, if the magnet holds, the object is not brass and can need a separate polishing method. Ironically, if the piece isn’t brass, you would not even need to clean it so it wouldn’t have tarnished in the first place.
Step 2: Determine whether or not the object is lacquered
Lacquer is a clear coating that is placed on the surface of metal to protect it and give it a satin sheen. Simply wiping your item with a clean, dry cloth will reveal whether it is lacquer-finished or not. If the surface immediately shines again, it has lacquer on it. That’s because lacquer, like a windshield laminate, is designed to keep the gleaming appearance of brass. It only looks dull when it’s already covered in dust and grime. You should perform this test because certain metal cleaners have the potential to damage the lacquer.
Step 3: Carefully wash the brass instrument
Wash it in advance to rid of excess dust and grime before you start cleaning the surface of your brass instrument. These pollutants can be made from tiny, jagged particles that may damage your brass instrument’s surface if blended in with the soap suds. Dry the object very carefully after rinsing, so it does not leave any sign of water. Water will ruin the Champion Polishing Cloth.
Step 4: Use a polishing cloth
To clean your brass trumpet or instrument, use a soft cloth impregnated with a cleaner and polish engineered as a tarnish remover.
The Champion Polishing Cloth is prepared to use right out of the package. There’s no reason to spend time looking for DIY ingredients that could do more damage than good.
How to Polish a Trumpet with the Champion Polishing Cloth
1. To scrub, shine, and wax products in good condition, roll a Champion Polishing Cloth into a ball and lightly massage the material in a linear pattern, with the grain if necessary.
2. To get the greatest results, clean just a small portion at a time, then shine it with a gentle, clean, dry fabric.
3.Transfer to a clean section of the dried cloth and polish and highlight the surface again for a smoother, lustrous look. A single Champion Polishing Cloth (9′′ x 12′′) will outlast one gallon of
brass cleaner. During polishing, it would not leave residues in nooks and crannies or rub off lacquered or glossed metal surfaces.
4. The easiest way to cure tarnish is as it first appears. Cleaning the brass instruments on a regular basis will make them polished and sparkly. As the polished surface is handled with Champion Polishing Cloth, the cloth’s shielding chemicals and waxes penetrate the metal pores and leave a wax coating, allowing the polished surface to retain its luster for much longer.
The Champion Polishing Cloth is gentle on your hands and will not damage even the most delicate finishes. One of the useful benefits of the Champion Polishing Cloth is that after using it on your brass instrument, it leaves behind an invisible protective film that fights against tarnishing.