Brightening Brass for the Holidays

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Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and lots of other end-of-year celebrations are on their way, and whether it is just your small pod of family, or you’re having a socially-distanced gathering, you’ll want your home, and its surfaces, gleaming. 

Lots of homes have brass in them, whether doorknobs, chandeliers, or candlesticks.  Cleaning brass isn’t hard, but you do want to first make sure the items you’re cleaning is, indeed, brass. To do that, test it with a magnet. Magnets won’t stick to brass, so if your magnet adheres to the metal, just wash with warm, soapy water.

Warm, soapy water is also the first stem to cleaning brass. You’ll want to remove all the dust and oils before your clean your item with a brass cleaner like Brasso, Bar Keepers Friend, or Blue Magic. These products will remove tarnish and help your brass gleam. Once all of the tarnish is removed, apply a thin layer of mineral oil and buff the item dry.

Natural Brass Cleaners

Do you enjoy the science of DIY natural cleaners? There are several natural ways to clean brass, too. 

White Vinegar, Salt, and Flour:
· ½ cup white vinegar
· 1 teaspoon salt
· Add enough flour to make a paste
· Rub onto brass surface with a soft cloth
· Work paste into hard to reach areas and crevices with an old toothbrush, cotton swab if your fingertips don’t reach.
· Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how heavily tarnished
· Rinse under warm water and buff dry

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda:
· Squeeze half a lemon into a bowl
· Add one teaspoon baking soda
· Stir until paste forms and bubbles settle
· Apply paste using a soft cloth
· Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how heavy the tarnish is
· Rinse off
· Reapply and repeat as necessary
· Buff dry with a clean cloth

Lemon and Salt:
· Cut lemon in half
· Sprinkle fine salt on cut side of lemon
· Use salted lemon surface to scrub brass (this is messy – put a plate underneath to catch lemon drips and pulp)
· Rinse under warm water and buff dry

Ketchup, Tomato Sauce, or Tomato Paste:
· The mild acid in tomatoes removes tarnish on brass and other metals
· Ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomato paste all work equally well
· Rub tomato product onto the brass item with a soft cloth
· Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how heavy the tarnish is
· Rinse off with soap and water and buff dry

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