How Do You Clean Brass Candlesticks?

There are many options for cleaning brass candlesticks, depending on the severity of the tarnish or grime. Most of the tools for the job can be found around the house, making it a fairly easy process as long as the candlesticks are solid brass. Solid brass items can be cleaned with soapy water, and a mild acid, such as tomato juice, can be used for stubborn stains. Several commercial cleaning products are also available.

  1. Make sure the candlesticks are solid brass

    Before cleaning brass candlesticks, it is important to determine whether they are pure brass or plated. Brass-plated items can be damaged by vigorous cleaning. An easy way to check is to place a magnet against the candlestick. Solid brass does not attract magnets, so if it sticks, it is brass plated.

  2. Use soap and water

    Mix soap with hot water, dip a clean microfiber cloth in the mixture, then simply rub the candlesticks down. Be sure to cover all the surface completely. If there are hard to reach areas, use a toothbrush. Once the candlesticks are clean, rinse the soap off with warm water, and use a clean cloth to dry them off.

  3. Use tomato products

    For severe stains or tarnish, Bob Vila recommends applying a thin layer of ketchup, tomato paste or tomato sauce. Let it sit for roughly one hour. Repeat Step 2 to clean it off.

  4. Make a paste

    If tomato products do not work, try making a paste of salt, flour and vinegar in equal portions. Apply it to the candlesticks, and let it sit for an hour. Repeat Step 2.

  5. Use a commercial cleaner

    If household items do not clean the brass candlesticks adequately, consider using a metal polish or cleaner. There are products formulated specifically for brass, and most are readily available at grocery stores, home centers and hardware stores.