4 Non-toxic Ways To Clean Brass

Brass figurines became a popular collectable in the mid-century and are now having a comeback as a trendy décor object. Since most brass collectables are about 50 years, sometimes older, the brass has probably aged. And it can age beautifully, that darker sometimes green look is called a patina. Some people like to leave the patina but if you want your brass to be shiny and bright, you can clean it! Here are 4 non-toxic ways to get your brass shiny and new!
Before you get started you need to know a few things: 

  • Is it solid brass or plated brass? Sometimes it will say on a little label. If not, grab a magnet and see if it attaches to the metal. If it sticks, it’s plated, if it doesn’t its solid brass. 
  • If your object is plated, you’ll want to be extra gentle with whatever application you try because you might clean the plating completely away. 
  • Do not use abrasive scrubbing pads or steel wool, brass scratches easily. 
  • Clean your object with warm water and dish soap first and buff dry with a soft cloth.

4 Non-toxic ways to clean brass:

1. The easiest way to give your brass some glow is to:

  • Take a lemon and cut it in half. 
  • Sprinkle some salt on the cut side of the lemon. 
  • Rub the lemon and salt all over the brass object. You can add more salt if needed while doing this. 
  • After getting a good coating all the way around, wait a few minutes, give it a wipe down with a soft cloth. You can rinse it, but be sure to fully dry the object because any residue will leave marks.

2. Create a paste for more tarnished objects 

  • Start with 1 tbsp of baking soda or cream of tartar in a small bowl. 
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the baking soda and mix until a paste if formed. 
  • With a dry cloth, buff the paste all over the object. Try to do an even coating, the thicker the application the more tarnish will be removed. 
  • Set a timer for about 25-30min for a solid brass object and 10mins for a plated object
 ( you may want to do a spot check at 5 mins just to be safe) 
    • Rinse off the object with water, do not leave any paste. Fully dry after cleaning. If you let any water dry on the object a stain will appear.
    • Do a second application for a shorter time if you want more tarnished removed.

3. If you’ve got more time try

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar, flour and salt until a nice paste is formed. 
  • Apply the paste with a cloth in a buffing motion and get a full even coating. 
  • Let it sit for about an hour for solid brass and half the time for plated. 
  • Rinse, dry and buff. 

4. If you don’t have lemon or vinegar try ketchup! 

  • Apply the ketchup with a cloth in a buffing motion. 
  • Let it sit for at least an hour.
  • Rinse, dry and buff.

To keep your brass in primo condition after cleaning apply a mineral oil, like linseed, in a buffing motion.
You can find all of these lovely brass collectables, and more in Nostalgia!