Brass can be a beautiful metal finish if you keep tarnish off with a good brass cleaner. But one tip to keep in mind is that a brass surface that is Lacquered, cannot be cleaned with some commercial brass cleaners without damaging the lacquer. If your brass surface is truly brass, not lacquer, you can use certain household products to clean and polish it. Here are a few of those brash cleaning products, along with methods for using them.
Buffing with Fabrics
A soft toothbrush will work to apply your cleaner to brass that is not lacquered. Flannel, or other soft fabric, can then be used to buff the brass after the cleaner has been wiped away. For brass that has been lacquered, a damp cloth will usually remove fingerprints and smudges.
Ketchup, when applied to your brass finish and allowed to dry, will often remove tarnish. You will only need to remove the dried ketchup with a soft bristle brush.
Tomato Juice Cleaner
Simple tomato juice will remove tarnish and smudges from brass if you use it to cover the brass surface, allow it to sit for 2 or 3 hours, then rinse it off with clear water, then dry and buff the brass.
Milk, either reduced fat or whole, can remove tarnish if you first dilute milk with water (2 parts milk, 1 part water) and submerge your brass in it, wait 2 or 3 hours, then rinse off the milk with clear water, then dry and buff the brass. A good substitutes for milk that will also work well is yogurt.
When mixed with vinegar (2 parts vinegar, one part water) this solution is another household item that can remove brass tarnish. As mentioned in instruction above for using milk and tomato juice, just allow your brass to sit, submerged, in the vinegar-water solution for several hours, then rinse with water, and dry and buff with a soft cloth.
Cream of Tartar Cleaner
A paste of cream of tarter and lemon juice, when used to scrub the surface of your brass, can be an effective cleaner. When finished cleaning the brass, rinse off the paste, dry the brass, then buff it.
Removing Lacquer Finishes
If you find that you have difficulty polishing lacquer surface on your brass because of marks embedded in your lacquered brass surface, you can remove the lacquer. All it takes is to place these brass pieces in a solution of boiling water into which you have added washing soda and baking soda. After the water has boiled a while and the lacquer is gone from the surface of the brass, you can remove the brass from the solution and use a dry, soft cloth to dry and polish it.
Protecting against Tarnish
Cleaning tarnish from brass, while it can be easy and effective if you use the right cleaner, is only one way of keeping your brass looking shiny and new. But you can reduce the number of times you need to clean your brass by simply protecting it against tarnishing. One way to do this, is to polish your cleaned brass with a light coat of olive oil.