How To Clean Brass

If you have a brass statue or instrument, you may want to know how to clean brass. This soft, malleable metal has been used since ancient times for everything from mirrors and coins to doorknobs and electrical appliances. All it takes is a few steps to ensure your clean brass shines like new.

To clean brass, you'll need:

  • Basin of warm water
  • 2 or 3 soft cloths
  • mild dish detergent or white vinegar
  • brass polish (optional-only use if your brass is scratched or very dirty)
  1. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any loose dust or dirt. Dry and buff the piece with another cloth. This will help you determine if the brass even needs a deeper cleaning. If it looks clean and shiny, skip the other steps. Excessive cleaning may corrode or deteriorate the outer layers, resulting in a dull finish.
  2. Fill a basin with warm water, and add a half-cup white vinegar or a small amount of dish liquid. Use a cloth dipped in the water to carefully wash away dirt and debris from the brass item.
  3. Rinse your cloth to wipe away the soap, or rinse the item directly. Make sure you remove all traces or soap or vinegar.
  4. Dry the clean brass item completely with a clean, soft cloth. Buff to a shine, and you're all done. If the item looks scratched or dull after a cleaning, it may need to be polished.
  5. Follow the manufacturer's directions on your brass polish. Most polishes need to be applied to the clean brass, and buffed away with a soft cloth. All polishes are different, so make sure to use them as directed depending on the brand you have.

If you clean brass items and they still don't shine, you may need to take them to a professional. Frequent cleanings may result in damage, so be sure to store it in an area free of excess dirt and dust. Moisture is also bad for brass, so keep it away from water.

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