Q:

How do you take tarnish off of brass?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

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Full Answer

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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