To care for an antique brass floor lamp, remove dirt and grime with a soft cloth and a gentle brass cleaner. Coat the brass with a thin layer of mineral oil to allow the brass to age without tarnishing. If you prefer a high-shine finish, spray on a thin coat of lacquer. Periodically, examine the wiring for signs of damage. If you spot tears or breaks, bring the lamp to an electrician for rewiring to reduce the risk of fire.
Both homemade and commercial brass cleaners are effective when cleaning an antique brass lamp. If the lamp has minimal dirt, start with soap and water. For tougher dirt and tarnish, combine salt with lemon juice or vinegar. Rub the solution all over the base of the lamp and allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes. Wipe it off with a soft, dry cloth.
After the initial cleaning, brass lamps require little extra maintenance. A mineral oil coating enables the lamp to take on a natural burnished look over time, while a lacquer finish keeps the lamp looking new indefinitely. If the lamp sits in a dusty area, wipe it down periodically with a microfiber cloth. Replace the light bulb as necessary, using a lower wattage to avoid overloading the antique wiring.