How to Polish Brass Jewelry – Jewelry Guide

Bring back the spectacular shine of your favorite brass pieces with these easy cleaning methods. We'll show you how to use common household ingredients to remove gunk and buildup.

1) Before you begin to tidy up brass, make sure that what you're touching up is actually created from brass material. Just because an item looks like brass doesn't mean that it's pure. Many items are simply brass-plated and damaged by these cleaning methods. If you're not sure, try this easy test: Verify the metal with a magnet; if it sticks, it's not real brass.

2) You should also check to that brass piece is not lacquered before you start cleaning it. Lacquer is a thin, bright coating that prevents tarnish. Unfortunately, several cleaning techniques damage lacquered brass, so you should take these pieces to a specialist.

The best way to clean brass depends on how dirty or tarnished your piece is. For light cleaning, hot, soapy water and a soft cleaning cloth will suffice. Wipe down the surfaces with a cotton cloth. Use a toothbrush to reach hard to get crevices. Flush the item with clean, warm water and pat dry.

If your brass is rusty or tarnished, the best way to clean brass is to use industrial cleaners. However, use them sparingly as they're corrosive and can scratch your brass piece 's surface.

Cleaning Brass At Home 101

There are a few ways to clean your brass naturally and the ingredients are in your kitchen.

1) Lemon juice produces a mild brass-cleaning acid. For mild tarnish, cut a lemon in half and season it with table salt. Gently massage the salted lemon over the surface of the brass. Once you’ve coated the surface with the lemon juice and salt mishmash, sweep the area with a soft cloth and buff till the piece glistens.

2) Brass is easily cleaned with vinegar if it gets dirty, smudged, or stained. Disperse 1 teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup vinegar and add enough flour for paste. Apply to the brass piece, leave for 10 minutes, wash and dry thoroughly.

3) Boil a pint of water and add 2 tablespoons each of salt and white vinegar to create another natural recipe for buffing tarnished brass. Apply the solution onto the brass, then dry with a fresh rag.

Tips & Tricks

Here are some safety tips you should keep in mind when cleaning and polishing brass.

  • Do not use scrubbing cloths that are highly abrasive. Similarly, avoid using steel wool or metal bristled brushes as they will leave scratches.
  • Linseed oil is a time-honored way of cleaning all kinds of metals. To prevent your newly clean brass from tarnishing, brush it with a fine layer of mineral or linseed oil.
  • Try to avoid touching gold and brass items too much. Oil from your hands can hasten the tarnishing process and reduce the life of your brass jewelry.
  • When dealing with industrial metal cleaners, always wear gloves and protective glasses or goggles. Many brass cleaners often emit toxic fumes, so be sure to wear a respirator and keep all windows open.

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