Remove tarnish from brass by washing the brass with mild soap and water followed by the application of a mixture of lemon juice and table salt. Protect the polished brass with a light coat of olive oil. Before starting the process, use a magnet to ensure you are dealing with pure brass.
- Ensure the piece is not brass-plated
Many inexpensive pieces are not pure brass, but consist of brass plated over iron. To test, touch the piece with a magnet. If the magnet sticks, the item is not pure brass. Wash it with soap and water, but do not apply the salt and lemon juice.
- Wash the dirt away
Fill a sink with hot water and mild soap. Use a cloth to wash the piece to remove any accumulated dirt.
- Polish with lemon and salt
Cut a lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Remove the seeds, and add salt to make a tarnish-removing paste. Apply the paste to the item, allow it to sit a few minutes, and wipe away the paste and the tarnish. If some tarnish remains, apply more of the paste.
- Protect the item with olive oil
Apply a thin coat of olive oil to the item, and polish it with a dry cloth. The oil protects the brass from oxygen in the air to prevent more tarnish from forming.