Did you find some old tarnished brass pieces and now want to know how to clean and polish brass?
Honestly, I’ve not been much of a brass person. I’ve always been drawn to silver. But recently I’ve been finding cute brass pieces at estate sales, and I can’t help myself from snatching them up.
Since they’re older brass items, they aren’t bright and shiny. They’re tarnished or dull. So they’re definitely in need of a good clean and polish.
It’s actually very easy to clean tarnished brass but does require a little elbow grease. Especially if your brass is really dark and tarnished.
Tarnished brass looks blackish with a green or blue hue.
Taking the time to clean brass and restore its shine doesn’t take too long, is very rewarding, and it lasts a long time!
Check out how easy it is to clean and shine your brass pieces…
Supplies to Clean & Polish Brass
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How to Clean & Polish Brass
Step 1: Clean your brass items
Don’t skip cleaning your brass before you polish it. You need to remove all of the dirt and grime first.
I found that washing my brass with mild soap and warm water was a good start, but my darker and more tarnished items needed a deeper cleaning.
To really clean your brass, add a little Bar Keepers Friend and rub it on with a sponge. Scrub until the dirt and grime loosen, then rinse with warm water.
If your brass items have an etched pattern or grooves, it’s best to use a toothbrush to get into those small spaces.
Once your tarnished brass is clean, give it a final rinse and then wipe dry.
Step 2: Polish your brass pieces
After your cleaned brass is dry, it’s time to polish it.
I used Brasso to polish my brass. It’s an amazing product for polishing various metals. I highly recommend it.
But….boy does it stink!!!
Every time I squeezed a little out, my nose hated me. I’d literally have to take a second to get my bearings before I started polishing my brass.
So I’d advise polishing your brass in a well-ventilated room. Your nose will thank you.
You’re gonna want two soft cloths. One to apply the Brasso and the other to remove and buff any excess.
First, squirt a fair amount of Brasso onto your soft cloth. (Be warned, it stinks!)
Then take and wipe it onto your brass. You’ll probably see results immediately.
Continue to gently rub Brasso onto and around your brass piece.
I found that I needed to apply Brasso to new areas, once I could no longer see the white polish on my piece.
You might need to rub a little harder, or go over your brass a second time, depending on how dark and tarnished it is.
Here is a before and after image showing a bucket that I polished only the right side, and one candlestick that was polished.
The bucket needed a lot more elbow grease than the candlestick. I used a toothbrush to get into the cavities on the top and bottom.
*Note: if your brass has small black spots, you might not be able to completely remove them. A few of my pieces had little black pitting spots that I wasn’t able to entirely remove. If that’s the case, the metal would need to be replated. Or, if you’re like me, just accept them as part of the character of the piece.
Step 3: Final step to clean and polish brass
After you have finished polishing your brass and returned it to its natural luster, gently wash it one more time. Then take a clean soft cloth and completely dry it off.
Step back and appreciate your newly shiny brass pieces.
Wasn’t it super easy to clean tarnished brass? And the transformation ~ AWESOME!
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