How to Polish Brass

Brass is one of those things that you need to take care of very well. A lot of homes have door handles or window locks that are made of brass. Even though brass is more common in older homes, you can still find a myriad of brass objects in your home or in items that you may inherit. In this case, you’ll need to know how to polish brass, and if you read on, you’ll learn two methods of doing so.

How to Polish Brass

How to Polish Brass – Method 1

This first method is the traditional method of cleaning and polishing brass by using brass polish and some advanced techniques to make your brass really shine. 

Important Note: Before you start polishing anything, you need to make sure that the item you’re polishing is pure brass and not just brass-coated or brass-plated. If you are not working with brass, these methods can actually ruin the item you’re working with. So, to test whether or not an item is brass, go grab a magnet from your refrigerator. If the magnet sticks, you are not working with brass, and you need to figure out what it is before going any further. If it does not stick, it is brass and you can continue with either of the methods listed in this article.

What You Will Need:

  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Soft cloths
  • Varnish remover
  • Brass Polish
  • Lacquer
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • Newspaper
  1. First, take your bucket of soapy water and dip one of the cloths into it. Take the cloth and wipe it over the brass in order to get any dirt, grime, or oil off of the object. Sometimes, this is all it takes to get the shine back in a brass object, so if it does, you can stop here.
  2. Lay out some newspaper over your work area.
  3. Then, take one of your paintbrushes and apply varnish-removing chemical on the brass. Check the warning label on the chemical to see if you should be wearing gloves or eye protection when you use it.
  4. Apply the brass polish to another cloth, and slowly rub it into the brass. Take your time; if you go too fast, the polish will look uneven.
  5. Use yet another cloth (yes, this process takes several cloths), and buff the brass so that it shines.
  6. Because you stripped the lacquer before, use another paintbrush (or, for smaller objects, cotton balls can work) and apply the lacquer so that the brass has a protective layer. This will help the brass maintain its shiny appearance. 

How to Polish Brass – Method 2

This second method of polishing brass is one where you can use common household items in order to get your brass items looking as good as new.

What You Will Need:

  • 1/2 a lemon
  • a teaspoon or so of baking soda
  • a small bowl
  • Soft cloth
  1. Make a mixture of half a lemon and baking soda. Stir it together until it makes a lemony paste.
  2. Take your soft cloth (some people recommend using fingers as well; that depends on your preference) and apply the paste to the brass. Gently rub the paste in one direction for several minutes until you feel satisfied with how much elbow grease you’ve put into this round.
  3. Rinse off the paste and dry. At this point, you need to evaluate the shine. If it’s not shiny enough, then repeat steps 2 and 3 until it has the natural shine that you’re looking for.
  4. After you’ve established that you are finished, then rinse the brass thoroughly, making sure that there is no paste left in the crevices on the object.
  5. Dry it off, and you now have a shiny looking brass object, with little to no fuss or cost.