Brass can be commonly found in many household items such as antique headboards and footboards, light fixtures, kitchen and bathroom faucets, doorknobs, door plates, hinges, serving trays, and many types of locks. Musical instruments like trumpets, French horns, bells, and trombones as well as items like vintage telescopes, old candlesticks, lanterns, and beautiful pieces of jewelry are also commonly made of brass. To properly maintain and care for your prized brass items, you’ll want to utilize the best brass cleaner.
Other common things made of brass include zipper pulls on jeans and jackets and even the thumbtacks you use to pin notes to bulletin boards. While you probably wouldn’t want to worry about polishing a thumbtack, you certainly do want to keep other brass objects—especially your expensive musical instruments, fine antiques, and your favorite brass decor items in your home—all shiny and bright. That means that it is imperative that you invest in the best brass cleaner available on the market.
Over the years, people have tried various ways to clean brass, including natural ingredients to clean brass objects like cream of tartar, lemon, salt, ketchup, or vinegar. These DIY methods are not only messy and require a lot of mixing and measuring, but can also be harmful to brass. There are other chemical brass cleaners on the market, but which one works best? Do you want to know how to clean brass and what is the best brass cleaner to use? We’ll explore the answers to these questions and more in this article, so read on to discover the best effective and safe brass cleaner polish for your precious brass items!
How Do You Clean Brass?
While there are many DIY cleaning recipes on the Internet, our experience has shown that these DIY recipes are nothing more than brass cleaning myths that do more harm than good. Utilizing baking soda, salt, or any such abrasive ingredient, while they will remove tarnish, will also scratch delicate brass surfaces. Additionally, tartar sauce, lemon, vinegar, and other such acidic substances are counterproductive to your goal of keeping your brass items from tarnishing. These acidic ingredients could damage or etch brass surfaces. The safe and effective solution to remove tarnish from brass is to utilize the Champion Polishing Cloth. For over 90 years, this brass tarnish removing workhorse has earned its reputation of being the best brass cleaner on the market.
The Champion Polishing Cloth comes ready for immediate use. Simply roll the cloth into a ball and rub it onto the brass piece. The Champion Polishing Cloth utilizes its exclusive 90-year-old brass cleaning and polishing formulation. This brass cleaner and polish is impregnated into the cloth and offers an unparalleled ability to remove the toughest tarnish from brass. It delivers amazing value for your money. One large 9″ x 12″ polishing cloth is the equivalent of one gallon of brass cleaner and polish!
Soap and water won’t work well to clean a layer of tarnish and neither will the so-called home remedy recipes found on the Internet. The best way to remove tarnish from your brass valuables is to use a time-proven brass cleaner like the Champion Polishing Cloth.
What Exactly is Brass?
Brass is a bright and golden metal alloy primarily made up of the elements of copper (usually 85 percent) and zinc (usually 15 percent) along with small proportions of a variety of other elements and metals. It’s similar to bronze; however, bronze is made up of copper and tin, not zinc.
The amount of zinc gives the brass piece its distinctive color. A higher percentage of zinc creates a brass color that’s lighter and a lesser percentage of zinc produces a brass color that’s darker. Colors in a brass object can range from a dark, reddish, earthy brown to a light, silvery yellow.
Highly malleable, brass can be easily shaped by craftsmen into a brass piece of lasting quality. Brass is also very durable. It is often utilized in places where it’s critical that sparks aren’t created, such as in tools and fittings used near flammable or explosive materials. It’s also a good conductor of heat and doesn’t tend to corrode in saltwater.
Brass can be used to make architectural trim pieces in a building or a house, screws, radiators, and even cartridge casings for firearms. It can corrode after many years though, and it’s important to know how to clean heavily corroded brass. Regular maintenance can cut down on long-term corrosion.
Ancient metalworkers as early as 3000 B.C. made brass without realizing it when they were melting copper and tin to make bronze. This is due to the fact that tin and zinc ore deposits are commonly found together in nature. The two metals have similar properties and colors. Sometime between 20 B.C and 20 A.D., craftsmen around the Mediterranean Sea could tell the difference between zinc and tin and began to make coins and other objects out of brass.
More than 300 years later, metalworkers in what is now Germany and The Netherlands caused the brass industry to flourish. It wasn’t until 1781 that the process for combining copper with zinc to make brass was patented in England.
Today, not only can you find gleaming brass in your home in a variety of decorative and functional uses. You can also visit museums to see unique brass objects made long ago like chess sets, tea sets, swords, bells, military buttons, incense burners, intricate lanterns, and miniature sculptures of animals.
Demand for brass still shines brightly after thousands of years!
Does Brass Tarnish?
The answer to this question is a definitive yes. All metals, when exposed to oxygen, will eventually tarnish and will require polishing to make them gleam again. But what is tarnish? Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion on metals—a chemical reaction between a metal and non-metal.
Tarnish can appear on brass as a dull, black film or coating and can even take on a bluish or greenish patina called verdigris. At first, your brass object loses its original sheen and begins to haze into a dull, misty appearance. If it’s allowed to sit too long and isn’t polished, the tarnish will thicken to a point where it is difficult to remove. While some people may like the look of overly tarnished brass, dull-looking fixtures and decor can disrupt your home’s aesthetic.
Thankfully, brass tarnish is only a problem on the surface of the object. Unlike rust—which can eat away at all levels of other metals—brass tarnish only affects the top few layers. Unfortunately, the surfaces of pure brass objects can also corrode when exposed to moisture, chlorides, acetates, ammonia, and certain acids, so take care to clean brass regularly with a polishing cloth and store your brass items carefully when not using them.
How to Polish Intricately Detailed Tarnished Brass Items
No matter how good your housekeeping habits are, all brass items in your home will eventually tarnish. It can be difficult to safely remove the tarnish without scratching the intricately detailed finish of brass jewelry or brass scrollwork on your decor items. It’s never a good idea to aggressively scrub tarnished brass with a bristle brush, as it may scratch and damage the surface. The safest and proven method to remove tarnish from brass items is to use the 90-year-old Champion Polishing Cloth. One useful feature of the Champion Polishing Cloth is that if the brass item you’re cleaning has an intricately designed surface, this brass cleaner and polisher will not leave behind any sediment in the crevices of the piece. It is the best copper and brass cleaning solution.
Another useful feature and benefit the Champion Polishing Cloth offers you is that its proprietary formula leaves behind a tough but transparent protective coating, which will greatly retard any potential tarnish from appearing on the metal surface. This protective coating is accomplished due to the unique formulation of specialized ingredients that penetrate deep into the pores of the metal surface. A wax-like barrier is left behind which delivers a polished surface that retains its brilliant luster for a much longer period of time.
With over 90 years of customer feedback, we’re confident to state that the Champion Polishing Cloth is the best brass cleaner available today!
DIY Methods of Cleaning Brass: Pros and Cons
You have options and many potential strategies to consider when it comes to cleaning tarnished brass. The Internet offers various DIY homemade brass cleaning recipes. These DIY recipes involve the use of common household items. They claim to be a cheap and easy solution for removing tarnish from your precious brass items. The question arises whether these recipes are safe alternatives to a store-bought brass cleaner and polish.
The first thing to remember is that brass is not an extremely hard metal. Using the wrong cleaner, whether it’s one made at home or one purchased in the store, requires the use of caution.
The first DIY recipe involves the use of lemon juice and baking soda. Lemon juice is an effective cleaner due to its acidity. Baking soda can also be a good cleaner due to its abrasiveness. Combining these two ingredients will result in a strong cleaner, but we must emphasize that these two ingredients may be too caustic and aggressive to the brass item’s surface.
Baking soda may scratch and lemon juice, because of its acidity, could actually cause the brass item to tarnish again far faster than expected.
The next popular DIY brass cleaning recipe found on the Internet involves the use of table salt and vinegar. Also, part of the recipe involves using an old toothbrush, which by the way will contains residues of toothpaste. Toothpaste is also abrasive.
Then, the recipe goes on to state that you should put your brass items in a solution of salt and vinegar, letting it sit for 45 minutes. Hmmm… That’s a bit dangerous. Why? Vinegar is quite acidic and caustic. No doubt, this solution will remove the tarnish, but what effect will the vinegar and salt ultimately have on your precious brass item? Listen, vinegar will attack metal and corrode it if any residue is left! The same can be said for salt.
Think about salt and what it can do to metal. A perfect example would be cars that operate around coastal areas where there’s saltwater in the air, or in winter ice storms, where salt is used to melt ice. Unless you wash away the salt from the vehicle consistently, it will rust the car’s metal surface. Combining salt and vinegar with your brass item is no different. Care and caution must be used, or ultimately your brass items will immediately start to corrode and tarnish due to the combination of aggressive ingredients found in this DIY brass cleaning recipe.
The issues we have with these DIY recipes do not lie in their cleaning effectiveness, but rather the unseen or unintended consequences that such homemade recipes could have on the integrity of your brass items. To properly make a safe but effective brass cleaner and polish requires some understanding and experience with chemistry.
If the decision is made to use an acidic or caustic cleaner such as lemon or vinegar, then the chemist must choose some sort of acid neutralizer to buffer the damage such an acidic ingredient could cause to the brass surface. Creating a brass cleaner and polish that works but does not harm the item to be cleaned is a ballet dance in chemistry and simply put, these DIY recipes totally ignore this reality.
Home Improvement Projects with Brass are Trending
Once considered outdated, decorating your home with brass is now one of the hottest home trends. So, if home improvement ideas are at the top of your New Year’s resolution list, be sure to include a lot of brass: planters, bookends, lamps, candlesticks, clocks, light fixtures, shelves, picture frames, and even armories and bookcases. Use a brass item as either a focal point in a room or as a base neutral to build upon and you’ll be right on-trend.
Don’t forget to keep handy your faithful Champion Polishing Cloth, which has been trending now for over 90 years! 🙂
Brass in Home Decor Will be Hot for the Foreseeable Future
In an online article titled “The Hottest Interior Design Trends for 2020—And Beyond” by Natalie Way and Jennifer Geddes from realtor.com, brass in home decor is a sizzling trend according to interior designers. “There are no two ways about it: Brass is here to stay. But this isn’t the chintzy stuff you may have seen in your grandmother’s house. ‘Brass is not the brass we have known from the ‘90s,’ says [Karen] Gray-Plaisted.”
In the same article, the authors state that the best way to work brass into your decor is to combine it with other metals. “Mixing metals is a great way to ensure brass doesn’t feel dated in a few years’ time,” [Amy] Kartheiser says. The authors add that “Contrary to what you may have been told, combining warm brass tones with its cooler cousins (silver, chrome) is definitely allowed.”
Brass Cleaning Supplies
With all of that brass in your home improvement project or in your newly purchased decor, you’ll want to keep it looking its best. What is the best brass cleaner polish for the job?
If you’re trying to figure out how to polish brass to a mirror finish, soap and water won’t work well when removing tarnish and neither will other DIY home remedy myths. The best brass cleaner to remove tarnish from your brass valuables is the tried-and-true brass cleaner and polish called the Champion Polishing Cloth.
What About Coating My Brass Pieces with Lacquer?
While a layer of inert lacquer doesn’t actually hurt the surface of the brass itself, the lacquer can become easily scratched and wear off. It may also cause color distortion and doesn’t completely prevent tarnishing. It is not recommended as a way to take care of your brass pieces. Another drawback is that the lacquer is difficult to apply evenly over the surface of your item. The better solution is to use the Champion Polishing Cloth. As stated earlier, it leaves a long-lasting protective coating on your brass items, keeping the beautiful shine and luster lasting a very long time.
Getting Married? Consider Wedding Rings Made of Brass
In an online article titled “Brass Wedding Rings and Bands—Should I Buy or Avoid?” on the website weddingknowhow.com, the author says “The warm tones of brass and its beautiful luster make it perfect for use in jewelry. Brass has been used to create intricate and detailed jewelry pieces in certain regions of the world, like India and Thailand, for centuries. It’s also an excellent non-traditional metal choice for wedding rings and is durable enough for daily wear.”
The author goes on to say that “Unlike bronze, brass can achieve a look very similar to gold. In fact, this is why it’s often called ‘the poor man’s gold. Brass gives you the look without the cost.”
A word of caution if you are considering a brass wedding ring: Sometimes, cheap base metals can be plated with a brass coating. Here are a couple of tips from the author to tell if your selected ring is solid brass or simply plated with brass:
- Use a magnet to test the authenticity of your ring. If it’s solid brass, it will not react to the magnet, but brass-plated items will.
- You can also scratch a hidden corner of your ring with a sharp pin. If the color under the surface layer is also gold, you know it’s brass, but if it’s white or gray, it’s a cheaper metal that’s been plated over.
Of course, it’s always best to buy from a trusted jeweler or speak with an appraiser. If you choose brass wedding rings, you’ll be buying affordable, uniquely colored, and durable rings. Be aware that brass wedding rings aren’t hypoallergenic due to the zinc in the brass, but brass rings are nickel-free. Your brass rings and other jewelry will tarnish so you’ll need to clean them regularly.
Remember, if your brass jewelry contains intricately detailed aspects, the Champion Polishing Cloth will remove any accumulated tarnish without leaving any unwanted sediment.
What is the Best Brass Cleaner?
Choosing the best product for cleaning brass based on what’s available in the marketplace can be confusing. There are very few brass cleaners and polishes on the marketplaces that can claim to have been delivering amazing results for over 90 years and at the same time, able to say that they’re made in the USA.
Also, consider the toxic ingredients commonly found in liquid brass cleaners and polishes and the impact they have on the environment. Choosing a biodegradable and environmentally friendly brass tarnish remover is a good way to narrow down your choice even further.
Such a brass cleaning product is available from Champion Supplies: the Champion Polishing Cloth. You can clean and polish everything brass, from a small object like a brass faucet valve to a large one like a brass stairway railing trim. You don’t need to find a specialist because you can do it yourself with the time-tested Champion Polishing Cloth. Here are a few pointers to help you polish your brass pieces effectively.
The Champion Polishing Cloth is ready for immediate use right out of its package. One note of caution: DO NOT get the cloth wet nor clean anything that is wet. Water will ruin the cloth. Use the cloth as is and follow these directions:
- Roll the Champion Polishing Cloth into a ball and gently rub the brass object in a straight line, with the grain if possible.
- For the best results, try to clean only a small space at a time, then buff with a soft, clean, dry cloth.
- For a cleaner and higher luster, change to a clean part of the dry cloth, polish and buff over again.
A single 9″ x 12″ Champion Polishing Cloth will outlast a single gallon of brass cleaner and polish. When polishing, it will not leave deposits in crevices or wear off enameled or varnished surfaces on the metal.
The production of tarnish or rust on metals is significantly slowed following treatment with Champion Polishing Cloth. The protective chemicals and waxes in the cloth reach into the pores of the metal and leave a wax covering, allowing the polished surface to maintain its luster for a much longer period of time. The Champion Polishing Cloth is non-irritating to the hands and would not damage even the most delicate finishes. It is considered biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
When using the Champion Polishing Cloth, put a thick cloth behind it to keep your hands clean. One little tip to consider: once you’ve cleaned and removed the tarnish, minimize tarnish returning by using cheap disposable gloves. Why? Well, our hands are slightly acidic due to the secretion of sweat, and this acidity will ultimately cause tarnish. Also, by wearing gloves you minimize fingerprints.
The Champion Polishing Cloth should never be washed. The cloth’s discoloration while cleaning has no effect on its efficiency or performance. In fact, the more it turns black, the better it works at removing tarnish! The Champion Polishing Cloth’s unique chemistry will not evaporate. After you’re finished cleaning your piece, store it in the seal-tight packaging that the polishing cloth comes in. How long does the polishing cloth last? That depends on the frequency of use. If you don’t get it wet, it will offer long-term service! Simply use it till it’s worn to shreds!
The Champion Polishing Cloth is safe to use and is so gentle that you’re able to clean your most precious heirloom brass jewelry with it. We’ve had countless discussions with professional jewelers when it comes to their opinions on cleaning brass jewelry. The overall consensus amongst them is that they are not convinced of the efficacy and safety of brass jewelry cleaning with the use of DIY recipes. The Champion Polishing Cloth has a strong presence in the professional jewelry industry due to its acceptance as a safe and effective brass jewelry cleaner.
Another market where the Champion Polishing Cloth has found widespread acceptance is in the antique collecting and antique store industries. Whether they’re collect vintage candlestick holders, vintage brass jewelry, or anything brass that is considered antique, antique store owners across the United States have been loyal customers of the Champion Polishing Cloth. Time and time again, we get positive feedback from antique retailers and collectors, all commenting on how easy it is to remove old tarnish from brass. They also appreciate how the Champion Polishing Cloth leaves behind a long-lasting invisible film, making having to remove tarnish again a thing of the past. In other words, once cleaned, the shine remains for a long period of time.
Even the most delicate of brass musical instruments can be safely cleaned with the Champion Polishing Cloth. Furthermore, if you’re a percussionist or drummer and are looking to have brilliantly shining brass drum cymbals for your next concert, then be sure to pull out your Champion Polishing Cloth. It has a loyal following among drummers and percussionists.
Whether you’re a musician that plays one of the many brass horn instruments, or if you have brass items such as brass jewelry, brass door handles, brass candlestick holders, brass faucets, or brass hardware on your boat, there is no need to wonder what is the best product for cleaning brass. The Champion Polishing Cloth has answered this question for over 90+ years.
If you want a simple, but extremely safe method to clean tarnished brass, then don’t hesitate to purchase a Champion Polishing Cloth! It truly is a workhorse and there is no amount of tarnish that it can’t remove from brass.
As an aside, it may surprise you to know that the Champion Polishing Cloth is a multipurpose cleaning product. Its versatility is not limited to only brass. Its unique and exclusive chemistry can clean, polish, and protect a myriad of other metals and hard surfaces! This is just another example of its true uniqueness and explains why this best-kept secret for cleaning tarnish from brass has been in existence for over 90 years. It is the best brass cleaner, bar none.