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How To Clean Brass Easily at Home

easilyhow to clean brass

Easy and Effective Ways of Cleaning Brass Jewelry

Unique and attractive in so many ways, brass jewelry only continues to become more popular with each passing year. Fortunately they are a number of safe and effective ways of removing dirt and tarnish from brass that you can easily do on your own at home. The proper care and cleaning of brass jewelry will help to bring out the shine of what can only be described as one of the most unique types of materials used for creating stunning jewelry. Here are some of the easiest options on how to clean brass easily that are sure to produce the best results in the shortest amount of time. 

For example, not surprisingly most of the ingredients needed to clean brass can be found right in your kitchen or bathroom. The first step in cleaning brass properly is to remove any oil, dirt or pollutants that may be present. This will ensure more favorable results and faster cleaning overall. Not surprisingly, this first step often results in brass becoming clean right out of the gate. Simply use warm water and a little bit of mild liquid dish soap to pull away any unwanted oil, pollutants or dirt from the surface of the brass.

Typically speaking, a toothbrush can be a great tool for getting into small detailed areas of your brass jewelry when cleaning with soapy water. Once you have thoroughly cleaned brass jewelry in this way, it is recommended to rinse the piece thoroughly with fresh clean water. As a final measure use a soft nonabrasive cloth to dry the metal thoroughly after a complete rinse. Once the cleaning phase of the process is complete it is then easy to remove tarnish and then polish as desired. Here are a few examples of ways to use items found around your home to clean brass in a natural and nonabrasive way.

Worcestershire Sauce is Not Just For Dinner

Many may be surprised to find that Worcestershire Sauce as well as even ketchup can be incredibly effective at removing tarnish and for polishing brass. Either one of these items gently spread on a brass piece of jewelry when rubbed with a soft toothbrush can produce impressive results. Letting the mixture stand for a few minutes and then thoroughly rinsing off any residue will shine brass surprisingly well. Depending on the desired level of shine or cleaning needed, multiple applications can improve results. As a final step always thoroughly rinse and dry each piece of jewelry that is made of brass in order to enhance its long-term beauty.

Pucker Up your Jewelry with Lemon Juice

Another great way to clean brass jewelry at home using simple ingredients is to make use of widely available and easily sourced lemon juice. Just pour a cup of water into a container and then squeeze about half a lemon's worth of juice into the water. You can even add a little bit of salt as a way to enhance the cleaning power of the mixture. One teaspoon of salt is typically adequate. Once you have the mixture ready to go, simply submerge the jewelry pieces into the mixture for as long as is necessary to get the desired results.

Using this method is unique as you can actually watch the brass become clean overtime. As soon as the submerged pieces have achieved the desired level of shine or cleanliness, simply remove them and rinse under fresh clean water. As always, dry each individual brass jewelry piece thoroughly before storing away for later use. Another strategy is to simply rub brass with a raw lemon. This can best be accomplished by cutting a lemon in half and then sprinkling a little bit of salt on the exposed part of the lemon. The next step is to rub your brass jewelry piece with the salted lemon following the natural grain of the metal.

Salt and Vinegar

Again, when the desired level of shine or cleanliness has been achieved, simply rinse thoroughly with fresh clean water to remove any lemon residue and then dry completely. Another method of cleaning brass jewelry is that of using a salt and vinegar mixture. As a note of caution, this type of cleaning solution is best used outdoors because of the potentially pungent smell it produces. Simply combine a cup of white household vinegar with about 1 tablespoon of salt. This mixture can be heated on a stovetop or in a microwave oven. It should be warm but not excessively hot.

Ammonia

With the mixture ready to go submerge your brass jewelry and use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub each item as required. Even letting jewelry pieces soak for a little while can produce somewhat better results. As with all other cleaning solutions, always rinse each item thoroughly and dry completely. While somewhat of a caustic solution, ammonia can also be a great way to clean brass. Try mixing approximately eight parts of water with one part of ammonia. Submerge your brass jewelry in the mixture and again use a soft toothbrush to carefully clean each individual item. Follow up with a thorough freshwater rinse and pat dry.

Final Steps

While optional, there is a final finishing step that is worth considering. This involves using a soft nonabrasive cloth to apply a little bit of olive oil to recently cleaned and dried brass jewelry. Alternatively, Renaissance Wax can also be used to produce the same results. Either of these methods will add a protective layer to your jewelry and extend the beauty of its finish. As an added note, when cleaning brass try to polish in the direction of the metal’s natural grain. Avoid circular motions and be careful when cleaning brass that has embedded gemstones or jewels.

Also keep in mind that brass is known to show water spots and that is why drying immediately following cleaning is always a good idea. In addition, experts recommend having genuine antique brass pieces cleaned professionally whenever possible. This will help to retain the beautiful patina that is so prevalent in aged brass. Consider these simple and highly effective ways of taking great care of your brass jewelry pieces over the short and long-term.

Also see our tips on how to clean silver jewelry or how to clean gold jewelry

Jack Flowers, author

Jack Flowers is the Director of Global Operations at JewelryLab and manages global product quality control, customer support, and retail partnerships. Having processed thousands of orders over the past few years, he brings a unique insight into jewelry quality, care, and cleaning through direct customer feedback and recommendations.

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