How to Shine and Clean Brass Items at Home




Introduction: How to Shine and Clean Brass Items at Home

About: We love to create new things or improve functionality and look of existing ones. Often something that looks good does not necessarily work good and something that works good looks miserable. We make our produ…

We love brass metal! It looks beautiful, it feels great in your hands and it has fascinating physical/chemical properties. On our ElegantUtility shop on a few of our customers have asked us how to keep our brass products shiny. So, here I would like to put instructions for several our favorite easy available, safe and effective methods for cleaning and keeping your brass made items shine as new!

Easy available using just household items methods:
1. Toothpaste
2. Vinegar and flour
3. Lemon juice
4. Hot vinegar

Commercial polisher/cleaner:
5. Flitz

Step 1: Brief Outline

I picked 6 brass cylinders total. 5 to use for each method and one to compare with cleaned pieces at the end.
These cylinders have been hand machined from the same piece of brass on the same day and have been stored together in the same place.
At the end of our Instructables we will compare all cylinders.
So, what do you need? It depends on which method or methods you decide to use to clean and shine your item.

Let's get started..... :)

Step 2: Method 1 - Toothpaste

Pick any toothpaste but preferably not 100% gel. First, wash your brass item with soap and dry with a paper towel. Then squeeze a bit of the toothpaste onto a small piece of soft cloth. Polish brass rubbing toothpaste on the entire surface of the item. When done, clean and dry with a piece of paper towel or soft cloth.

Step 3: Method 2 - Vinegar and Flour

In even proportions mix 2 tbs of flour, 2 tbs of water and 2 tbs of vinegar. Apply a thick layer of the mixture to the problematic areas (or entire surface) and wait until completely dry. During this time the vinegar will dissolve dense spots and the flour will absorb all the dirt. Take a piece of a soft cloth and take off dried layer. Wash with soap and dry immediately.

Step 4: Method 3 - Lemon Juice

Take half of a lemon and squeeze it into a small bowl. Dip a small piece of cloth into lemon juice and polish brass surface in gentle circular motions. Wash the item with warm water and dry immediately.

Step 5: Method 4 - Hot Vinegar

If brass has heavy dark spots, they can be taken off using hot vinegar. Add 4-5 tbs of regular vinegar into a small metal container. Heat it to the tolerable on touch temperature. Dip a cotton pad or a small piece of cloth into the vinegar. Rub onto brass surface in s circular motion. Wash the item with water and dry immediately.

Step 6: Method 5 - Flitz Polisher

About Flitz, it is a great product to use as a polisher and cleaner not only for brass. Flitz cleans and polishes. It is non-abrasive, non-toxic. It protects surface for up to 6 months in freshwater and up to 3 months in salt water.
How to use it on brass:
Squeeze a bit of Flitz paste onto a piece of soft cloth. Rub the entire surface of the brass item, polishing it.
When done, clean or wash your item and dry it with paper towel or piece of cloth.

Step 7: After Notes

We have done all the above methods and they all work just fine. It is a bit hard to show on the pictures the exact difference in shines for each piece of the brass compare to the uncleared one but they all 100% shiny and cleaner.
Couple things to note:
Two brass cylinders that were cleaned using vinegar and flour method and Flitz method also look as if they were polished as well.
The toothpaste and Flitz are more on the alkaline-base side of pH scale. This is to note if acidity is an issue in choosing cleaning methods for your particular item.

So it is a matter of your preference which method to use but all of them give back life and shines to brass metal.

Step 8: One More Picture to Compare

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    6 years ago

    Another thing that works amazingly well is KETCHUP. I know I didn't believe it, until I tried it. And its cheap. Just coat the brass with the ketchup and let it sit for 30 - 45 minutes, then wash and dry.

    This is what I do now to get the heavy tarnish off. I it once or twice then finish with some good brass polish for a high shine. It saves a ton of time and effort. Then to keep the shine I'll put on a light coat of clear laker.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you fior your comment and letting us know about another easy available and amazingly effective Ketchup method for cleaning brass and keep it shine.
    Thank you!