There are multiple home remedies that you can try to remove tarnish from your favorite brass items. Most of the methods require common products that you can find in your home. In this post, we will present various do-it-yourself solutions, and also we will provide a unique but time-tested product that is the quickest way to clean brass and will bring back that lustrous shine to your favorite treasured brass items.
Brass is an extremely popular material that finds its place in interior design and is quite common in older buildings. Many items such as doorknobs, coat racks, hardware fixtures, etc. are typically made from brass. Brass metal can have a beautiful sheen and shine, but over time it can begin to oxidize.
What exactly is oxidation? Brass is a copper alloy. Oxidation occurs when there is a chemical reaction as the brass metal is exposed to air. Typically when brass is first manufactured, it is given a protective seal by using lacquer. Over time, the lacquer tends to wear away. Through long-term handling and use, the brass will undoubtedly be exposed to the oxygen found in the air. As the oxidation starts to happen, this results in a patina or tarnish on the surface of the brass metal. This tarnish hides the sheen or shine of the metal.
As the brass oxidizes, its shiny and bright original state disappears. The oxidation actually serves a function in that the tarnish or patina acts as a protective coating that helps to protect the outer surface from damage or further corrosion. Oxidized brass takes on a blue, green, or blackish look. Oxidation does not have any impact on the integrity of brass in the way that corrosion would. In fact, oxidized brass for some individuals is the desired outcome. This look is sometimes known as “patina”. In some instances, interior decorators will deliberately create a patina look so that the brass takes on an antique or weathered appearance.
Cleaning Brass with Toothpaste
One simple yet effective way to clean tarnished brass is found in your bathroom. The same item used to clean and whiten your teeth, toothpaste, can be an effective brass cleaner and polish. White, plain toothpaste is sufficient to clean brass. Put a thin layer of toothpaste onto the affected tarnished area of the brass item. Let the toothpaste work on the tarnished area by leaving it in place for a few minutes, then take a clean cloth, wipe, and polish.
If the brass item is particularly oxidized and tarnished, you’ll need to apply a little more elbow grease to get the job done. Don’t be afraid to add a little more of the paste to those tougher tarnished areas. After you’ve gotten the desired sheen or shine, take the brass item and rinse with cool water, and then dry with a soft absorbent towel.
Cleaning Brass with Vinegar and Salt
In your kitchen cabinets, you should find three very common items that can work wonders in removing oxidation from brass surfaces. This effective do-it-yourself formula utilizes vinegar because of its acidic qualities, salt because of its abrasive qualities, and all-purpose flour, whose function is to thicken the solution. Choose a mid-sized bowl, add a half cup of vinegar, plus one teaspoon of salt.
Stir until the salt looks as if it’s been dissolved. Then take approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mix until you get a paste-like consistency. Apply the paste to the tarnished area on the brass, rub, and then let dry for approximately ten minutes. Rinse the paste solution away, then wipe any leftover residue until it is clean, and then completely dry with a clean cloth.
How to Clean Brass with Ketchup
For all you hamburger lovers, one of your favorite toppings, ketchup, can act as an effective tarnish remover for brass. The acids that are naturally found in tomatoes, plus the vinegar and spices found in ketchup, make it a useful method to clean and polish brass.
A note to consider: whenever attempting to clean a brass item, choose an inconspicuous area such as at the bottom to test and see how the solution may work.
In terms of using ketchup, put a small dab at the bottom, allow the ketchup to sit for a few seconds, and then take a damp cloth and wipe the ketchup away until the spot is clean. If everything looks good, then use it on the rest of the brass piece. When finished, rinse away thoroughly, then clean and dry with a dry, clean cloth.
Clean Brass with Lemon Juice
Not only is lemon juice useful for making cold lemonade, but you can take a little lemon juice and baking soda to make an effective brass cleaner. You can either take half of the fresh lemon and squeeze it into a bowl or you can use the bottled lemon juice you have in your fridge. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Next, take a clean, soft cloth, dip it into the lemon mixture, and rub it onto the tarnished brass area. You can next rub, polish, and buff away any oxidation or tarnish.
If the area is tougher than expected then simply add more of the lemon baking soda mixture. Take a wet cloth and clean away any leftover residue. Finally, take a clean cloth and dry and buff thoroughly.
The Quickest Way to Clean Brass
We’ve left the best for last. If you’re looking for the fastest and easiest way to clean brass, then this product is exactly what you’ve been looking for. The Champion Polishing Cloth is a safe, easy, fast, and non-toxic solution to cleaning heavily tarnished and oxidized brass. This simple and easy-to-use polishing cloth has been cleaning tarnished brass for almost 100 years. One cloth is equivalent to one gallon of brass cleaner and polish. In other words, this one cloth will last a long, long time.
Simply take your tarnished brass item, remove the cloth from the bag, rub the tarnished area with the cloth, notice how the cloth starts to turn black, then take a soft, clean cloth and rub/buff. It’s a simple one-two step. There’s no need to rinse, make solutions, or any of those inconvenient methods. Sure, we’ve given you some DIY solutions that work, but the Champion Polishing Cloth not only cleans brass to an amazing shine but is so versatile that you can pretty much clean any type of metal, such as copper, silver, sterling silver, stainless steel, pewter, aluminum, chrome, etc.
It’s an effective cleaner for any brass musical instrument. It’ll even remove stubborn dried water stains on antique furniture! It offers an endless possibility for cleaning tarnished, rusted, and oxidized metal components and many other items. Another unique aspect of the Champion Polishing Cloth is it will leave an invisible yet tough protective film behind that helps to prolong and maintain the beautiful shine on your brass items.
One tip when cleaning your brass items or any metal that can tarnish is to wear some sort of disposable gloves. The reason for this is that the oils on your skin can help accelerate tarnishing, so wearing disposable gloves will eliminate that possibility.
We’ve given you some simple DIY brass cleaning solutions. If you’re looking for the quickest way to clean brass, then the Champion Polishing Cloth will provide you with a product that will last for years and deliver time-proven, amazing brass cleaning and polishing power.
For 40 years, Champion Supplies has provided customers with solutions to their cleaning problems through the use of unique high-performance products, the majority of which are made in the USA. Our philosophy has always been to custom make, source, and market products of the highest quality that are typically not available in stores.