How Do You Refinish Old Brass?


Quick Answer

To refinish old brass, remove the existing coating from the old brass items, apply brass polish, clean the items and apply a protective coating. Brass items include plumbing fixtures, door knobs and hinges, lighting fixtures and a variety of decorative accents.

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Full Answer

When working with brass attached to something else, detach the brass from that item to prevent damage to the other surface. Remove any protective acrylic coating or dirt with a polyurethane stripper and an extra-fine steel wool. Use a cloth to apply brass polish to the brass. For hard-to-reach areas, use an old toothbrush to apply the brass polish.

Dampen a cloth with water and dish detergent, and clean the brass thoroughly. Dampen another cloth with water, and wipe off any residue. Allow the brass to air dry, or dry it with a cloth. Make sure to remove all streaks and marks on the brass.

Add a layer of exterior polyurethane sealer, varnish or polymer-based car wax to protect the brass from harsh elements. Allow for the protective layer to dry completely before use. Use non-abrasive polishes on brass-plated items to avoid damage to the layer. It is difficult or almost impossible to refinish steel or metal items with a brass plate finish if the metal starts to rust through the top finish.

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