How to clean badly tarnished brass

Reasons for the tarnishment of brass

Before studying the reasons for the tarnishment of brass, let us have a view on the word tarnish. What is meant by the word “tarnish”? Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over metals, such as copper, brass, aluminum, magnesium, neodymium. As the outermost layer of metals undergoes a chemical reaction, the corrosion is formed. The only reason for tarnish not from the sole effects of oxygen in the air.

Methods of cleaning brass

There are many ways to clean solid brass. Your approach should depend on the level of dust, dirt, or tarnish that has built up. Here are a few tips and techniques which helps you to clean brass:

  • With cloth and toothbrush

Start with warm, soapy water and a microfiber cleaning cloth: go thoroughly over the entire surface with a cleaning cloth, use a clean toothbrush to get to any tip. Wash with warm water and dry well.

  • With ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomato paste

For tougher cleaning jobs, pull out the ketchup, tomato sauce, or tomato paste. Just rub a thin coat on the brass, then sit for an hour or more, and then clean the piece with the help of warm and soapy water.

  • With paste of salt, flour, and white vinegar

Another option for the cleaning of brass is to make a paste of salt, flour, and white vinegar in equal parts. Apply the paste on the brass and let sit for an hour. After that, wash it with warm water and dry leather.

  • With natural cleansers (salt and lemon)

An alternative combination of natural cleansers is salt and lemon. Simply cut a lemon from the center in half and remove the seeds. Coat the chopped half of the lemon with table salt and rub on the brass surface, mix the lemons again with salt as required. Once you cover the entire surface, shine it with a clean, dry cloth. You can also make a paste using two parts cream of tartar powder to one part lemon juice—rub the paste on the brass, and then sit for 30-40 minutes, after that time wash it with warm water, and buff.

How to make natural brass polish at home :

Of course, you don’t have to buy your brass polish. You probably have everything you need to make your own brass polish in your kitchen. Your ingredients will be all-natural, but fair warning: Hartman says, “The procedure is the same, but it takes a lot more elbow grease.”

By using lemon and baking soda

Mix half a lemon juice with a teaspoon of baking soda and stir until it becomes a paste. Apply the paste with a soft cloth. If the tarnish is too heavy, let the piece sit with the paste on it for 30 minutes. Wash with warm water and dry. Repeat if necessary.

By using lemon and salt

Cover half a slice of lemon with a teaspoon of table salt. Rub the lemons on the tarnished piece, squeezing it as you go to release the lemon juice. Wash with warm water and dry.

By using flour, salt, and white vinegar

Take equal parts or all three ingredients (flour, salt, and white vinegar ) and mixed them to make a paste. Apply a thin layer of that paste to the tarnished brass and leave it for an hour. After that time, rinse it with warm water and dry. 

By using ketchup, tomato sauce, or tomato paste

When you think of cleaning brass, you probably didn’t think ketchup would be included, but – surprisingly – it is! The reason for this is the acid that is present between tomatoes. This acid helps to remove tarnish on brass and other metals; that’s why applying a tomato-based product can work wonders on your brass. Ketchup, tomato paste, and tomato sauce all work equally well. Apply a layer of tht paste to your brass and leave it on for an hour. Then wash it with warm water and dish soap. Then dry it.

Here are some things to notice :

1.Determine if the Object is Brass or Brass-Plated

The easiest way to know if something is completely brass then put a magnet on it. If it doesn’t stick, then it is pure brass. If it persists, it’s just brass-plated – and if the object is just brass-plated, you actually need to clean it with hot water and soap. Polishing is not only necessary on brass mounted objects, and in fact it can actually stop the mounting, it could actually scratch the plating off. That’s why it’s important to find out if there’s only one brass plating before working on a brass cleaning project.

2. Polish the Brass Regularly

To remove discoloration, use a specially formulated polish for brass. Apply according to the instructions on the bottle using a soft clean cloth (Sorensen prefers a cotton swab like an under-shirt). Though Hartman rubs in polish with very fine steel wool, she warns that you should never use any steel wool that’s thicker than grade 00, to avoid scratching the surface. And always wash the brass before you start polishing, before polishing. All you need is warm water and mild dish soap. Use a soft, damp cloth to apply soapy water, and clean it until all debris, dust and dirt have been removed.

Avoid from these common mistakes

There are a few areas of concern that you should be aware of when it comes to polishing and cleaning brass:

  • Abrasive scrubbing items

Avoid using highly abrasive scrubbing cloths, metal-bristle brushes, or steel wool; these will scratch and damage the surface of the brass.

  • Coating of oil

A thin coating of linseed oil or mineral oil can be applied to clean brass with a soft terry towel. With the help of doing this, we can avoid from tarnis.

  • If objects are lacquer protected

Many brass objects are protected with a lacquer finish and these objects should only be cleaned with warm and soapy water. If this type of object is heavily tarnished then firstly you need to remove the lacquer with a paint or varnish remover. After doing this, clean and polish the brass by using one of the tips and techniques discussed above, then re-lacquer the object.

  • Avoid touching

Avoid touching your brass items as much as possible. The oil in your skin can get worse quickly and can damage your brass items.

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