How To Clean Brass

Cleaning Brass OrnamentsBrass is an allow of zinc and copper which is commonly used around the house for decorative fixtures and ornaments. It does however have a tendency to accumulate dirt and grease deposits and also tarnishes quite noticeably over time. Fortunately it is quite easy to restore the shine to your brass bedstead, door knobs or ornaments, but some care does need to be taken to ensure you don’t end up damaging the item.

First, find out if the object actually is brass and not just a brassy-looking other metal. You can do this with a magnet – if it sticks to the item then the object is only brass plated or contains no brass at all. Make sure you don’t use any abrasive cleaning methods on a brass-plated item as this will wear the plating off quite easily.

Next decide if you do actually want to clean your brass! While dirt and grime are hardly desirable, many people find that brass which has tarnished with age often produces a quite attractive patina finish which can look very pleasing, especially on antiques. Speaking of which – if the piece you’re cleaning is an antique or otherwise potentially valuable it might be worth having it professionally cleaned instead of doing it yourself, to make absolutely sure you don’t damage it.

To start cleaning, wash the brass off with warm, soapy water. If you’re only dealing with dirt and oil rather than tarnishing, mix a mild detergent in with the water (don’t do this if your piece is only brass plated)! Use a soft cloth rather than a brush or anything more abrasive. You can use a toothbrush to get at any hard to reach spots if you need to, but make sure to scrub very gently. In fact you can also use toothpaste as a mild polish for brass so check the bathroom first if you’re going on a cleaning spree!

You’ll need to remove the lacquer coating from the brass before you can properly polish it. To do this, put down some newspaper to protect the work surface and then use a paintbrush to apply a paint or varnish-removing chemical. Don’t forget to ensure the area is well ventilated, and make use of these chemicals safely.

Now you can polish the brass. If you haven’t got any polish to hand (and don’t feel like raiding your bathroom cabinet!) you can make a good homemade polish using a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar with a cup of flour. Once you’re done, make sure the brass is completely dry and then reapply a lacquered surface; this gives a protective coat to help preserve the shine. Lacquer is best applied in a thin layer using cotton balls or a soft paintbrush. Wipe up and drips before they dry to avoid spotting, and let each section dry completely before touching it. Then just wipe the brass off with a soft, dry cloth to bring out the natural shine and you’re done.

Brass is a beautiful, versatile metal that has plenty of utilitarian as well as ornamental uses, particularly in plumbing and boiler systems. For a range of brass sheets, angles and other components cut to size from a leading online metal suppliers, visit www.clickmetal.co.uk today.

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