Cleaning Brass, Maintaining Brass, Cleaning and Maintaining Brass

A Guide to Cleaning Brass

In this article, we will explore the best options and provide you with a guide to cleaning brass. Brass, with its warm golden hue, has been a favoured material for decorative objects and jewellery for centuries. But without the proper cleaning and maintenance, this lustrous metal can lose its shine and appeal over time. Whether it's tarnish, dirt, or fingerprints dulling your brass objects, fear not! I'll guide you, in cleaning brass, ensuring it retains its brilliance for years to come.


Table of Contents

1. What is Brass?

Before diving into cleaning methods, it's essential to understand what brass is and why it tarnishes. Brass is an alloy primarily composed of copper and zinc, with varying proportions of each metal determining its properties. Copper is the primary contributor, usually over 51%, to brass's reddish hue, while zinc enhances its strength and corrosion resistance.

If you would like to know more about Brass, click HERE


2. Why does Brass need cleaning and maintaining?

Tarnish, the green / brown / black substance, occurs on brass due to oxidation, a chemical reaction between the metal and its surroundings. Exposure to air, moisture, and pollutants, such as sulphur compounds, leads to the formation of tarnish, which appears as a dull, dark layer on the surface of the brass.


3. Before you clean Brass?

Before embarking on your brass-cleaning journey, take note of a few precautions to ensure the safety of both yourself and your brass items:
  1. Test in an inconspicuous area: Before applying any cleaning solution or method, test it on a small, hidden portion of the brass to ensure it doesn't cause damage or discolouration.
  2. Protect surrounding surfaces: Lay down a cloth or towel to protect nearby surfaces from any potential spills or scratches during the cleaning process.
  3. Wear gloves: If using commercial cleaners or homemade solutions containing chemicals, wear gloves to protect your skin from irritation.
  4. Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation in the cleaning area, especially when using chemical cleaners, to avoid inhaling fumes.

With these precautions to keep in mind. But now let's explore various methods for cleaning brass:


4. Method 1 to cleaning brass: Liquid Polish

The first method in cleaning and maintaining brass is to use a liquid brass polish, which is specifically formulated to clean and shine brass surfaces, making it a convenient option for restoring lustre to tarnished items. Here's how to use it effectively:
  1. Apply a small amount of brass polish onto a soft cloth or applicator pad.
  2. Gently rub the polish onto the tarnished brass surface, using circular motions to cover the entire area.
  3. Allow the polish to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Buff the brass with a clean, soft cloth to remove the dried polish and reveal the shine.
  5. Repeat the process if necessary for heavily tarnished items, ensuring thorough coverage and buffing for optimal results.


5. Method 2 to Cleaning brass is: Ultrasonic Cleaning

The second method in comprehensively cleaning and maintaining brass, is to use an Ultrasonic. Ultrasonic cleaning is a highly effective method for cleaning brass items, particularly intricate or delicate pieces. This technique involves using high-frequency sound waves to create millions of tiny bubbles in a cleaning solution, which then implode, releasing energy that effectively removes dirt, grime, and tarnish from the brass surface.

To use ultrasonic cleaning for brass:

  1. Purchase or rent an ultrasonic cleaner specifically designed for jewelry or small metal items. These machines are available at jewelry supply stores, online retailers, or some professional cleaning services.
  2. Fill the ultrasonic cleaner with a solution formulated for metal cleaning or plain water, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations.
  3. Place the brass items in the cleaning basket or tray, ensuring they are fully submerged in the solution.
  4. Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner and set it to the recommended cleaning cycle duration. The machine will emit high-frequency sound waves that create microscopic bubbles, effectively cleaning the brass surface.
  5. Once the cleaning cycle is complete, remove the brass items from the ultrasonic cleaner and rinse them thoroughly with water.
  6. Dry the brass with a clean, soft cloth to prevent water spots and reveal the shine.

Ultrasonic cleaning is particularly useful for intricate brass items with hard-to-reach crevices or delicate features, as the gentle yet powerful cleaning action can effectively remove dirt and tarnish without causing damage to your brass items. 


6. Method 3 to Cleaning Brass:  Professional Brass Cleaning Services

The third method to comprehensively cleaning and maintaining brass is to take your items to a professional metalsmith or jeweller. For valuable or antique brass items requiring expert care, professional brass cleaning services offer a convenient and safe solution. These services utilise specialised equipment, techniques, and cleaning products to restore brass items to their original lustre while minimising the risk of damage.

To use professional brass cleaning services:

  1. Research and select a reputable cleaning service with experience in cleaning brass items. Look for reviews, recommendations, and certifications to ensure quality and reliability.
  2. Contact the cleaning service to discuss your specific needs and obtain a quote for the cleaning job.
  3. Arrange for the brass items to be either dropped off at the cleaning facility or picked up by the service, depending on their offerings.
  4. Trust the professionals to clean the brass items using their expertise and specialized equipment.
  5. Receive the cleaned brass items and inspect them for quality and satisfaction.
  6. Follow any care instructions provided by the cleaning service to maintain the brass items' shine and condition over time.

Professional brass cleaning services are ideal for valuable or delicate brass items that require expert care and attention to detail. While they may involve higher costs compared to DIY methods, the peace of mind and superior results they offer can be well worth the investment, especially for cherished or high-value brass pieces.
These additional methods provide alternatives to DIY cleaning and offer professional solutions for effectively cleaning and restoring brass items to their former glory. 

7. Conclusion

Whether you choose liquid polish, ultrasonic cleaning or professional services, these options ensure that your brass treasures receive the care and attention they deserve, resulting in beautifully polished and gleaming surfaces.

Brass items add warmth and elegance to any space, but proper maintenance is essential to preserve their beauty. By understanding the nature of brass and employing the right cleaning methods, you can keep your brass treasures gleaming for generations to come. The key to keeping your brass objects looking as good as new, is regular upkeep and gentle care to ensure your brass shines bright for years to come.


More Blogs by Rahaima

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.