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Cleaning Brass

Whether you are a bartender looking to keep his taps clean or a housewife with beautiful brass faucets, you want them looking their best. Unfortunately brass's biggest enemy is the one thing that it cannot escape - AIR. So, unless you live in a vacuum, you are going to need to clean your brass fixtures on a regular basis.

Keeping it Easy
The more regularly you clean your brass, the easier it is to clean each time. For instance, try keeping a spray bottle filled with liquid ammonia on hand. A light spritzing, followed by a wipe down with a soft cloth will ensure that your brass stays nice and shiny.

However, if it has been a while since you last cleaned your brass, the tarnish could be a bit more of a problem. This is often the case for family heirlooms and such. They are often not used on a regular basis.

If you are cleaning antique brass with a store bought cleaner, make sure to read the label and ensure that it is safe for that kind of brass. You don't want a harmless mistake to ruin an irreplaceable item. Also, some heirlooms made of brass have a mellow color derived from time. For many collectors this is desirable and therefore you want a cleaner that will protect that look.

To polish antique brass, first wash it in hot, soapy water to remove any grime, wax or dust that may have collected on the surface of the item. Using a brass cleaner on these materials could have corrosive and disastrous effects.

Next, moisten a soft cloth with boiling linseed oil and lightly rub down the surface of the brass. This will remove any extra dirt and grease.

At Home Solutions
If this doesn't work, you may have to make a rudimentary cleaning paste out of three items. Use equal parts of each ingredient for the mixture:

  • Vinegar
  • Flour
  • Salt

Mix these ingredients to form a paste. Apply this paste to the item and let it sit for a couple hours. Once this is done, clean off the paste with cool distilled water, and wash it again with boiled linseed oil. If any of the paste is left on the item it could eat away at the surface and ruin the piece over time.

If this still does not work, repeat the process again until it has the shine you desire from your antique brass.

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