Brass Faucet Cleaning and Polishing

polished brass bathroom faucet
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-20
What You'll Need
Distilled vinegar
Liquid detergent
Brass cleaner
Soft cloth

Some people enjoy the look of tarnish on brass pieces, as it can add character and charm. But, if you aren’t going for an antique look, tarnish can be a real challenge to remove. Luckily, you can keep your brass bathroom faucet looking vibrant, clean, and new with a few tips for regular maintenance.

Disclaimer: Before cleaning with any of the following methods, make sure you wear gloves. Not only are some brass-cleaning methods abrasive to your hands, but also the oils on your skin can leave behind fingerprints that are difficult to remove.

Routine Wipe-downs

Keeping your faucet clean isn’t hard, but it does take regular effort. Make sure you make the cleaning part of your daily or weekly chores to avoid tarnishing.

Normally, a damp cloth is all it takes to shine up your faucet. Abrasive cleaners can actually damage brass, but if the damp cloth alone doesn’t cut it, try a mix of warm, soapy water with the cloth. Also be sure you dry the brass completely once you’re finished cleaning; this will prevent water spots and further damage.

Keeping the brass faucet dry will also prevent spotting and buildup. It’s smart to keep a dry cloth next to the sink so that you can dry off the faucet after you’re done using it.

Store-bought Brass Cleaners

When a damp cloth won't cut it, you can find special formulas in most hardware stores that promise to remove tarnish. They can range from inexpensive to high-end. You will need to read the directions on the bottles carefully before using them. Some of these products are designed to clean light tarnish, while others will require several steps to remove heavier buildup.

The Ketchup Trick

The citric acid in ketchup does wonderful things for cleaning your brass bathroom faucet, and it shines without much effort.

Use a soft, dry cloth that is free of lint to apply it. Put a small amount of ketchup on the cloth and gently rub it on the brass fixture. Then, with a clean cloth, rub the ketchup off completely. You may need to rinse the residue away with some water. Make sure to dry it afterward.

Homemade Polish Paste

Another easy-to-make brass cleaner can also be found in your kitchen cabinet. One teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar, and about 3 tablespoons of flour will make a paste that you can use to polish metals such as brass.

Dissolve the salt in the vinegar and then add the flour until a paste forms. Use this concoction by rubbing it onto the faucet or other fixture. Then, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Wipe it away with a damp cloth. Your bathroom faucet will be as clean and shiny as the day you installed it.