Removing paint from brass usually requires using a chemical cleaner, such as acetone or ammonia, and following up with a scraping tool to remove the loosened paint or lacquer. Many of the materials required have hazardous properties, so proper eye and skin protection should be worn at all times.
All polishing removes some of the brass. Before removing any paint, examine the brass closely, and take note of any damaged or corroded pieces. Determine the composition of the brass before cleaning it, since that indicates what type and intensity of cleaning methods are usable. The composition of brass can be tested using a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the brass object, then it is only steel that has been coated with brass; a magnet does not stick to solid brass. Solid brass can handle more rigorous cleaning methods.
When applying the stripping agent to the brass item, use a stiff bristled brush or roller to apply the chemical stripper. Once the chemical has been allowed to sit on the brass according to the manufacturer's instructions, remove the loosened paint with a broad scraping object, such as a trowel or paint scraper. Finally, wash off the residue of the chemical stripper and leftover paint with mineral spirits or mild soap and water.