Brass is used in many ways, including cookware, instruments, and jewelry. Brass jewelry is quite popular, and although it is beautiful and more affordable, it can tarnish easily. Also, much like any jewelry that you might wear consistently, it can get dirty and become dull.
Luckily, there are many ways to clean brass jewelry from the comfort of your home. We’ll show you how to clean brass jewelry using three easy methods.
How to Clean Brass Jewelry at Home
Many people enjoy having some patina on their brass jewelry. Patina is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over the brass as it reacts to oxygen in the air. Also known as tarnish, patina is a way of the metal trying to preserve itself by creating a layer of protection. This layer is often a black or dull gray color.
While it may not seem very appealing, vintage brass pieces with this tarnish are highly prized. Here is how to clean brass jewelry without removing the patina:
Soap and Water
While there are some unique ways to clean brass jewelry, sometimes the simple soap and water can also help you.
- Mild liquid soap
- Warm water
- Soft cloth or brush
- Add the mild liquid soap to warm water.
- Using a soft cloth or brush, remove dirt on the jewelry.
- For a deeper clean, scrub the jewelry while submerged in the solution.
- Rinse the soap and water off and dry it with a soft cloth.
Brass Cleaning Solution
You can purchase cleaning solutions that are specifically made for cleaning brass. These will usually help you avoid scratching brass and maintain its beauty.
💡 Keep in Mind: Most brass-cleaning solutions contain dangerous chemicals, including some that can cause cancer upon long exposure, such as bentonite and oleic acid. So, you will need to work in a well-ventilated environment or respiratory protection if the environment cannot be ventilated.
- Brass Cleaning Solution
- Soft cloth
- Assess the dirty areas in the brass.
- Pour a small amount of the solution on a soft cloth and rub it on the desired areas.
- Once the dirt is gone, take a clean section of the cloth and polish the area.
How to Clean Tarnished Brass Jewelry
While some want to keep the tarnish in their vintage jewelry, you might not want to do that. If so, here is how to clean brass jewelry at home and remove patina.
Lemon juice can remove light tarnish because of its acidic properties.
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
- Soft brush
- Squeeze the lemon juice into a glass and add water. If you want a deeper clean, add the salt.
- Mix the ingredients well and completely submerge the jewelry in it.
- Leave the jewelry in the mixture for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Using a soft brush, gently remove tarnish.
- Rinse the jewelry with water and wipe dry gently.
Another home remedy for cleaning brass jewelry is ketchup. Like lime or lemon, tomatoes are also acidic.
- Tomato ketchup
- Soft brush
- Apply the ketchup directly onto the jewelry.
- With a soft toothbrush or your finger, scrub the tarnish off the jewelry.
- You can leave the ketchup for a couple of minutes for a deeper clean.
- Gently cleanse the ketchup off with water and wipe dry.
- Repeat the process if needed.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar is another acidic ingredient you can easily find in your cupboard.
- One part baking soda
- Two parts vinegar
- Cloth or soft brush
- Mix the baking soda and vinegar. The mixture will fizz, it is completely normal.
- With a cloth or soft brush, rub the paste all over the jewelry and leave it for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Rinse the paste off and dry the jewelry.
How to Clean Brass-Plated Jewelry
Brass-plated jewelry is created by applying a thin layer of brass over the surface of another metal, which is usually steel or zinc.
💡 Take Note: It is hard to distinguish between brass-plated and solid brass jewelry. But, it is important that you can identify brass-plated jewelry since it will affect the way you clean it.
To find out if your jewelry is made of plated brass, you can use a magnet. If the jewelry is attracted by the magnet, it is likely plated brass. Solid brass should not react to magnets, but steel and zinc do.
Be extra careful when cleaning brass-plated jewelry. Harsher cleaning solutions can scratch off the plated brass. Also, you might need to get your jewelry replated since the brass can wear off over time.
Lemon and Salt
- Half a lemon
- 1 tsp of salt
- Take half of a lemon and cover it in table salt.
- Rub the salt-covered lemon on the tarnished jewelry, squeezing it as you go to release the juice.
- Rinse with warm water and dry.
FAQs About Cleaning Brass Jewelry
Cleaning brass jewelry can be tricky. We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions to help you.
Can you use toothpaste to clean brass jewelry?
Yes, you can use non-gel toothpaste to clean brass jewelry. To do so, apply toothpaste onto a soft toothbrush and gently scrub the jewelry.
💡 Caution: Don’t use this method should be too frequently since it can scratch brass jewelry.
How do you clean badly tarnished brass?
If your brass jewelry is badly tarnished, start by washing it in hot, soapy water. This will remove any dirt from the piece of jewelry.
After that, you can use any of the solutions we’ve previously listed.
For a deeper clean, you can leave your jewelry soaking to remove all the tarnish. If you finish cleaning your jewelry and there is still some tarnish, repeat the process.
Can coke clean brass?
No, this is more of an urban legend. Cleaning your brass jewelry with coke can damage it and make it more difficult to clean it afterward.
Soda contains phosphoric, citric, and carbonic acid. These acids are great for removing rust and stains and breaking down mineral build-up. However, these acids also corrode metals, such as tin, iron, and steel.
Does ketchup clean brass?
Yes. It’s weird but true. Just like lime, lemon, or vinegar, any tomato product is also acidic. You can use ketchup and even tomato sauce and a soft cloth to clean your brass jewelry.
Does WD-40 clean brass jewelry?
Yes. WD-40 is one of many polishes and metal cleaners on the market. This product will clean and polish your jewelry at once.
But it’s worth noting that WD-40 can be dangerous to your health, so use it with caution. Wear protective gear and work in a well-ventilated area.
Coat the jewelry with a layer of WD-40 and let it sit for about 15 to 30 minutes. Once the time is up, use a clean cloth to rub the product away and buff it.
Keep Your Brass Jewelry Beautiful
Although brass jewelry can tarnish and get dirty, it’s uniquely beautiful and should be cared for. Especially if it is a piece of jewelry that you particularly love and has sentimental value. As long as you gently clean your brass jewelry on a somewhat consistent basis, it will last you a long time.
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