The easiest ways to clean brass include washing it with hot, soapy water; scrubbing it with a tomato-based product such as ketchup; or applying a commercial cleaning agent. Simply dusting brass objects with a soft, clean cloth on a regular basis can prevent tarnishing and soiling.
In terms of material availability, hot water and soap offer the easiest and most readily available cleaning solution for brass. This is also the ideal solution for lacquered brass, as other cleaning agents can damage the sealant.
For tough stains or tarnish, tomato-based products offer a simple solution. Leave a thin coat of ketchup or spaghetti sauce on the brass for about 60 minutes, then wipe it off and wash the object with soap and water. Other high-acidity products from the pantry, such as vinegar, can also clean brass. Tarnish deposits are charged when they come into contact with substantial amounts of acid, which makes tarnish easier to remove.
One of the fastest ways to clean brass is to apply a commercial cleaning product manufactured specifically for brass. Products like Bar Keeper's Friend can be kept on hand to polish and shine brass objects on a regular basis. These products might be quicker than natural solutions, but they are also more expensive.