Believe it or not, brass is a metal that has been known since prehistoric times, so much so that even zinc had not been discovered at that time. It is based on an alloy between copper and calamine, a zinc mineral. It is easily machined, molded, cast, malleable, and highly resistant to oxidation, corrosion, saline conditions, high temperatures, and is an excellent conductor of electricity. Did you know all this?
For all these reasons, this gold-colored material is used in the manufacture of costume jewelry, decorative elements such as lamps, the minting of coins, and even the manufacture of armaments, welding, wires, electrical terminals, musical instruments, is part of the construction of ships, door knobs, and the list goes on!
It is possible to touch and observe brass everywhere. However, despite all its qualities, over time, it inevitably loses its luster and becomes dull, making its cleaning a must. Before, we told you how to clean stainless steel and the keys to polish silver, in this article we will reveal how to clean and polish brass and give it back the characteristic and distinguished shine that makes it so sought after. Give your old items a new life!
Cleaning and maintenance of brass with household products
The continuous use, dust and daily dirt makes it stain and gradually lose its shiny appearance, that’s when it’s time to clean it in depth and you can do it with natural allies such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon. Read on to learn how to use them properly.
How to clean brass objects with soap?
Before starting the cleaning of very dirty brass, it is vital to know if it is made entirely of this metal or if it is only plated. To find this out, bring a magnet close to the object, if it sticks, then it is not made entirely of brass, only its sheet metal. Conversely, if it does not adhere, it is completely made of brass.
In case it is, the best way to remove the dirt is to washing it with a mixture of hot water and dishwashing soap, rubbing gently so as not to scratch the surface with a sponge, scouring pad, or toothbrush long enough until the dirt has been removed. It should then be dried with a clean cloth and carefully polished using a professional polish or a homemade extract made with natural ingredients such as salt, toothpaste, or baking soda.
How to clean brass with baking soda and lemon
This is a cleaner and disinfectant widely used in household chores, and because of its roughness, it is perfect for cleaning oxidized brass and dislodging grime. To take advantage of it, create a paste with a tablespoon of baking soda and the juice of half a lemon, then apply it and leave it on for 30 minutes, rinse with warm water, and dry with a microfiber cloth to polish it.
Clean the brass with white vinegar, flour and salt.
In a plastic container, mix equal parts of flour, salt and white vinegar (it is possible to replace the vinegar with lemon juice), stir until a homogeneous pasty product is obtained. Once this is done, spread it over the surface and wait for it to take effect for at least one hour. To finish, remove the residues with warm water and dry well.
Lemon and salt, ideal for disinfecting and polishing
You probably already know this, but we like to emphasize that lemon is an excellent cleaner, removing grease and rust due to its acidity and antibacterial properties. In addition, it has a fresh odor and is non-corrosive to these materials.
After washing the brass with soap and water, as usual, squeeze the juice of a lemon in a bowl and add a heaping tablespoon of salt, mix well and soak a cloth with it, rub the entire surface with it and allow it to act for a few minutes. Finally, remove the cleaner with warm water and pat dry.
Note: If you do not have lemon at home, substitute it with hot vinegar.
Ketchup for cleaning chrome plated brass
If you have silver-plated brass objects at home, believe it or not, you can do it with tomato sauce! The acid it contains is effective in removing tarnish from brass and various metals. Apply a coat of ketchup to the brass, let it sit for an hour, and wash it off with soap and warm water when finished. And that’s it!
Removing dirt from brass with Coca-Cola
This method, although efficient, is not as fast as the others. It is recommended to fill a plastic bucket with cola, introduce the objects and let them soak for a couple of days. After this time, they are scrubbed to remove oxidized residues and rinsed with lukewarm water.
Polishing of brass with toothpaste
Yes, as with silver and steel, toothpaste is another powerful ally for restoring the shine to brass when it has begun to tarnish. You will only have to spread a little toothpaste on the object, rub with a brush or sponge, leave it on for 15 minutes and wash as usual.
And if nothing works, try these chemicals:
It is possible to remove what the homemade recipes failed with commercial products such as bleach, ammonia, or salfumán. See how to use it:
- Bleach: Also known as chlorine or bleach, this aqueous solution is a powerful oxidant, capable of disinfecting, decolorizing and dissolving organic matter. When it comes in contact with dirt or greenish stains on brass, it decomposes them. The appropriate method is to mix boiling water and bleach in a container, submerge the brass piece for a couple of hours; after this time, rub to remove the remains and rinse with plenty of water.
- Ammonia: It is a preferred disinfectant and kitchen cleaner, and is also an ideal substance for cleaning metal objects. However, it is irritating to the eyes, mucous membrane, and skin. For this reason, caution should be exercised in handling for cleaning. Put on gloves, goggles and a protective mask, pour water and ammonia in equal parts in a basin, put the objects inside and let it act for an hour, rinse with clean water, and dry.
If you cannot dip, moisten a rapo with the mixture and clean it.
- Etching: also known as muriatic acid, hydrochloric acid, or salfuman, you have probably already heard of it, but you should know that it generates dangerous chemical reactions when combined with other chemicals. Be cautious, ventilate the area, keep away any living being (plants or pets), and wear gloves, goggles, and a mask before handling. It is very easy to use, pour a little salfumán on the oxidized brass object, and you will see how in a few minutes, this oxidized layer will come to off.
So, if you have at home hardware, handles, knobs, candlesticks, kitchen utensils or decorative elements made of this material, put into practice any of these tricks and leave them as good as new and keep them in good condition for much longer simply and economically.