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How to Clean Brass

Brass CleaningPhoto from Unsplash

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How to Clean Brass

Brass is a versatile metal used for a wide range of objects, including jewelry, pots, cutlery, vases, lamps, and more. Its popularity is due to the addition of zinc, which strengthens the metal to give it a hard surface and gives it a beautiful golden appearance.

To maintain this stunning look, regular polishing is necessary. Without proper care, brass can become dull or develop verdigris (green oxidation). Cleaning it periodically can prevent this. But how should you clean brass items properly? Here are several convenient tips for removing green oxidation from brass.

Is My Item Actually Brass?

Before you start cleaning brass objects, it’s important to ensure you’re actually dealing with brass. But what if you’re unsure? Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, typically has an orange, yellow, or golden-yellow color. This distinguishes it from copper, which is always red-brown. Bronze, another copper alloy that includes tin, appears darker with red or pink hues. In some jewelry, brass can look bright gold, white, or gray.

To determine whether your item is solid brass or merely brass-coated iron, use a magnet. If the magnet sticks, the item is iron or steel with a brass coating. If it doesn’t stick, the item is solid brass. Read on for tips on what to keep in mind if you’re dealing with a brass-coated object.

Now that you know how to check your item is the relevant metal, read on to find out how to clean brass.

Required Products

  • Brasso: Brasso is an effective metal polish that effortlessly restores tarnished, greasy, and dirty metal fixtures in your home. It’s easy to use and requires minimal effort to achieve a shiny, well-maintained appearance. Brasso is also suitable for use on a variety of other metals.
  • Shield Household Rubber Gloves: Standard reusable latex rubber gloves, designed for household tasks.
  • Contract Microfibre Cloths: A good all round microfibre cloth that offers excellent value for money.
  • Bamboo Cotton Buds: Environmentally friendly, plastic free alternative to regular cotton buds, made from pure cotton tips and bamboo stems.

How to Clean Brass

To achieve a brilliant shine on your metal items using Brasso, follow these easy and effective steps:

  1. Put on gloves to protect your hands from Brasso.
  2. Shake the can of Brasso well before opening it.
  3. Use a clean cloth to apply a small amount of Brasso.
  4. Conduct a small patch test to ensure Brasso doesn’t mark or stain the surface.
  5. If the patch test is successful, proceed with this method.
  6. Apply more Brasso to your cloth as needed.
  7. Wipe the surface in small, circular motions with Brasso.
  8. Regularly buff the treated surface with a clean cloth to check your progress.
  9. Repeat the steps until the entire surface is cleaned.
  10. Remove any excess Brasso with a clean cloth and buff the surface. Use a cotton bud to remove excess Brasso from crevices. If Brasso is left to dry, it becomes harder to remove and may leave a residue, preventing the sleek finish you desire.

Tips and Tricks

Before diving into polishing with Brasso, consider these essential tips to ensure both safety and effectiveness in your work:

  • Always do a patch test – Make sure the product is suitable for the material you’re cleaning.
  • Always use clean cloths when working with Brasso – This will limit the transfer of dirt.
  • Always wear gloves and a mask – Brasso can cause skin irritation and inhaling the fumes may lead to drowsiness.
  • Use small amounts of Brasso at a time, and add more product as you go – If you use too much Brasso you run the risk of it dripping everywhere as you use it, especially the liquid form, this is wasteful.
  • Brasso is flammable so keep it away from live flames.
  • Don’t leave a job half done – Once you start using Brasso to clean a surface, you should finish cleaning the surface in one go. If you leave the surface to dry, you’ll have Brasso residue. And as a consequence of this, items might not look shiny and evenly cleaned.
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