How do I clean brass items and accessories at home?

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How do I clean brass items and accessories at home?

Temple Bells - Arati and Sundaresh's Residence:   by Sandarbh Design Studio
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Brass products have quickly taken their place as a popular home décor material. We all love to decorate our house with candle stand, expensive statues, idols of God, lampshades, door knobs, bells, and many other decorative accessories made of brass because of its luxurious shine. Giving off a golden illusion, it not only elevates the decorations but also adds a touch of opulence. Even the professional interior designers and decorators love to use it to add glamour into the home décor. However, being an alloy of copper and zinc, over the period of time it loses its sheen. The metals in brass have the natural property to get oxidised when exposed to sun and moisture present in the atmosphere. Here are some simple tips for you to clean the brass accessories to retain its shine. Have a look!

1. Check the authenticity of brass metal before you start cleaning

Mittal Residence, Colaba, Mumbai :  Terrace by Inscape Designers
Inscape Designers

Mittal Residence, Colaba, Mumbai

Inscape Designers

Before you start cleaning the accessories, it is important to check the authenticity of the item. It could be of solid brass or just brass-plated steel. It is simple to check the metal with magnet. You can even use the fridge magnet for it. If the magnet slips through the surface of metal, it is of pure or solid brass. If the magnet sticks or shows even a bit of resistance then it is just brass-plated and not of pure brass. Magnet sticks because of the presence of iron in it and what you see on the surface is not tarnish but rust formed due to iron reacting with moisture in air.

If it is brass-plated, never clean it with abrasive and harsh cleaners or chemicals. It might damage the brass coating and will expose the steel.  

2. It’s time to clean up the brass items of your home with these cleaning tips

Temple Bells - Arati and Sundaresh's Residence:  Artwork by Sandarbh Design Studio
Sandarbh Design Studio

Temple Bells—Arati and Sundaresh's Residence

Sandarbh Design Studio

Brass items require regular cleaning to maintain its sheen. The dullness of the surface should be removed using homemade or chemical-based brass cleaner easily available in market.

If there is a protective coating on the surface (lacquer) then it can be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth. Ensure that it is damp and not wet.

If it is brass-plated, clean it with soft cloth dipped in soapy water and dry it with clean dry cloth.

Brass fixtures in bathroom and kitchen like faucet, handles, shower, etc, regular maintenance is needed. Regularly clean it with a spray of liquid ammonia then wipe dry with soft cloth.

Precaution to be followed: Liquid ammonia evaporates fast and forms a gas. Keep the windows open and exhaust on when using the solution. Remember to wear gloves when cleaning with it.   

3. Make your own cleaner for cleaning the brass accessories

Kitchen Breakfast counter:  Kitchen by Geometrixs Architects & Engineers
Geometrixs Architects & Engineers

Kitchen Breakfast counter

Geometrixs Architects & Engineers

Cut a lemon into half and sprinkle salt over it. Rub the surface of brass with it, squeezing lemon and sprinkling more salt as required. Now wipe with soft cloth. Next do buffing, i.e. rub the brass surface gently with clean dry cloth till it shine.

Another homemade cleaner can be made by mixing half a lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Apply this paste on the surface of brass and let it dry for half hour. Rinse the surface, wipe it dry and do buffing till you see the shine.

Toothpaste is quite effective when it comes to cleaning the brass surface. But use the normal toothpaste and not the gel type. Take a little toothpaste on a soft cloth and rub the surface with it. Clean and dry with soft cloth and end it with buffing.

Clean the surface with a paste of flour, one teaspoon of salt and one and a half cup vinegar. Rub the surface with it and leave it to dry. Rinse with warm water, dry with soft cloth and do buffing.

4. Ready to use chemical cleaner for cleaning the brass accessories

Classic Revive - Prestige Oasis:  Doors by KRIYA LIVING

Classic Revive—Prestige Oasis


There are lots of ready to use cleaner available in market. It comes with instructions to use. Just get it and use to clean and make the brass accessories shine. These brass cleaners usually contain soft detergents and solvents that can remove the dullness from the surface. It even has mild abrasives that polish the surface and oils that prevent oxidation.

However, while using chemical cleaner, use soft cloth. Avoid scrubbers, brush or steel wool. It will permanently damage the surface.

5. Finishing touch with protective coatings after cleaning the brass items

The mural apartment:  Dining room by S Squared Architects Pvt Ltd.

It is always advisable to finish up the cleaning of brass items with protective coating on it. It will create a protective cover on the surface that will prevent the tarnishing of the brass surface.

Apply a thin coating of linseed or mineral oil after cleaning the brass surface.Spray it with a clear coating of polyurethane sealer.

Dust the brass items and apply a coat of wax on it once a week.

To retain the shine for long, coat the surface with lacquer finish. Once lacquered it can be cleaned easily and doesn’t require wax coating.

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