There are multiple home remedy recipes that you can try to remove tarnish from your favorite brass items. Most of these DIY methods require common ingredients that you can find in your home. In this blog post, we will present various do-it-yourself brass cleaning methods, 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 and tarnish.
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.
Let’s look at some of the so-called DIY methods that claim to clean oxidized or tarnished brass. These DIY strategies intimate that they are able to remove tarnish or oxidation from the surface of brass with common items found around the home. Do they work? Maybe. Are they safe? We’ll discuss that shortly. Is there a product that can claim to be not only the quickest way to clean brass but a safe one? The answer is absolutely yes! We’ll get into that further into this blog post.
Cleaning Brass with Toothpaste
One prevalent DIY method claims to be able to clean tarnished brass with a product found in your bathroom. The same item used to clean and whiten your teeth, toothpaste, is said to be an effective brass cleaner and polish. The assumption is that because of its abrasiveness, this white, plain toothpaste is sufficient to clean brass. The method involves putting a thin layer of toothpaste onto the affected tarnished area of the brass item. Then you’re supposed to let the toothpaste work on the tarnished area by leaving it in place for a few minutes. You then take a clean cloth, wipe, and polish.
The recipe then states that if the brass item is particularly oxidized and tarnished, applying a little more elbow grease is needed to get the job done. It further states not to be afraid to add a little more of the paste to tougher tarnished areas. Lastly, it says that after you’ve achieved the desired sheen or shine, to take the brass item and rinse with cool water, finally drying with a soft absorbent towel.
This process could bring some results, but because toothpaste is an abrasive product, caution needs to be applied. Like any abrasive item, this abrasive substance will remove tarnish from brass surfaces. Nevertheless, one needs to consider whether the abrasiveness in toothpaste could also cause unsightly scratches on the brass item. There is always the risk of damaging a brass item with this DIY method.
The last section about applying more elbow grease when rubbing the toothpaste into the brass item, and also utilizing more of the abrasive paste seems to be an even riskier strategy. We don’t at all doubt that there is a myriad of abrasive materials found in your home that will not only remove tarnish but also remove many other things from brass surfaces. The question is: how much scratching will be tolerated on the surface of the brass items being cleaned?
Maybe a less aggressive and non-abrasive method could be available. Come to think of it, we may just have a safe and effective solution that is the quickest way to clean brass. To not keep you in suspense much longer, we’d like to present the Champion Polishing Cloth. It’s a 90+ year tried-and-true brass cleaner and polish.
Cleaning Brass with Vinegar and Salt
The next DIY brass cleaning recipe that has found some notoriety on the Internet involves three common ingredients found inside your kitchen cabinets. This DIY recipe says that these three cooking staples can work wonders in removing oxidation from brass surfaces. This brass cleaning 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. This brass cleaning recipe states to take a mid-sized bowl and add a half cup of vinegar, plus one teaspoon of salt.
You then stir until the salt looks as if it’s been dissolved. Then, you take approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mix until you get a paste-like consistency. Next, the recipe states to apply the paste to the tarnished area on the brass, rub, and then let dry for approximately ten minutes. After, you rinse the paste solution away and then wipe any leftover residue until it is clean, finally drying with a clean cloth.
The feeling about this recipe is one of concern. Again, the concern is not about the efficacy of the ingredients when it comes to removing tarnish from the surface of brass items. The risk lies in the fact that vinegar is far too acidic to be considered safe for brass items, or any metal items. Vinegar is a caustic element. Unless one is 100% certain that the vinegar has been rinsed away completely, then any vinegar residue left behind will start to attack the brass metal.
If left unattended, not only will the brass oxidize and tarnish far quicker, but it’s possible that corrosion could also set in, leading to pitting. At that point, your brass item will require far more drastic measures if it’s to be restored to its original state.
The other primary component in this recipe is another abrasive and very corrosive ingredient: salt. The abrasiveness of salt will indeed help to remove tarnish, but its corrosive nature renders it far too risky to use as a safe brass cleaner and polish.
Why not eliminate risk and consider a proven, effective, and very safe brass cleaner and polish such as the Champion Polishing Cloth? Here is a product that is made in the USA that has established itself as a brass cleaning powerhouse over its 90-year existence. It is simple to use. It will fantastically remove even the toughest tarnish on brass and there’s no need to worry about any corrosive ingredients in the cloth that may be harmful to brass.
How to Clean Brass with Ketchup
For all you hamburger lovers, one of your favorite toppings, ketchup, has somehow found its way into the DIY brass cleaning space as an effective tarnish remover. The claim is that 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.
Amazingly, there is a note of caution that was stated in one of the recipes we saw. It said that 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. We appreciate that at least there was a word of caution. We go a step further and would add not only to check to see that it works but to check the damage that may have been caused.
How are you supposed to implement this ketchup brass cleaning recipe? First, you’re to 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, you use it on the rest of the brass piece. When finished, rinse away thoroughly, finally drying with a clean cloth.
We suppose that if you’re willing to take the risk, that decision is yours to make. Here’s another situation that hasn’t been completely thought through. What if your brass item has a surface that’s intricately designed? What happens if you’re unable to get all that acidic ketchup completely out of the crevices? How do they explain away the corrosion and pitting that is bound to form from the leftover ketchup residue in this scenario?
With the majority of these DIY cleaning recipes, they lack any semblance of an understanding of chemistry. There are consequences that can lead to more damage than when you started the cleaning process.
If you’re looking for the quickest way to clean brass, the only safe shortcut is to go with a tried-and-true product that was engineered by a reputable company. A product with some real history behind it and one that has been proven to be safe and extremely effective. A product like the Champion Polishing Cloth.
Clean Brass with Lemon Juice
The final primary DIY brass cleaning recipe involves taking a little lemon juice and baking soda to make a brass cleaner. For this recipe, 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.
Much like the three prior DIY brass cleaning recipes, we recommend you proceed with the utmost caution if trying to implement this method. Lemon juice is very acidic and could potentially damage your brass item. Baking soda is abrasive and may cause unwanted scratches. In our opinion, you’re better off grabbing the lemon juice, water, and some sugar and making lemonade, bypassing this recipe completely.
A far superior alternative that would be the quickest way to clean brass is to opt for the Champion Polishing Cloth. Why bother with messy DIY solutions that deliver more risk than reward? The Champion Polishing Cloth has been a winner for decades. Overall, it’s the best brass cleaner on the market.
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 9″ x 12″ 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 seal-tight bag, rub the tarnished area with the cloth, 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 may 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. with it.
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.
One thing we’d like to bring to your attention is that when using the Champion Polishing Cloth, it is important that the brass item is completely dry and void of any water or moisture. Never allow the Champion Polishing Cloth to come in contact with moisture, water, or any liquids. Also, never attempt to wash the cloth.
When removing oxidation and tarnish from brass items, you’ll notice that the Champion Polishing Cloth starts to discolor and turn black. This discoloration does not in any manner affect its performance. In fact, the darker the cloth becomes, the better it works. The chemicals formulated into the unique polishing cloth’s fabric will not evaporate. With that said, after use, return the cloth back into its handy seal-tight package.
Continue to use the Champion Polishing Cloth regardless of how black it turns. It will provide you with long service and it lasts until the fabric shreds and wears out.
We’ve covered some of the so-called DIY brass cleaning methods. If you’re looking for the quickest way to clean brass, then hands down, the clear winner to choose is the Champion Polishing Cloth. This high-performance brass cleaner will last for years and deliver time-proven, amazing brass cleaning and polishing power.