Brass antique furniture adds class to any room. Brass was used in furniture, house hold decoration and hardware in olden times as it resembled gold. An antique brass piece in your home is a novelty and taking proper care of it will render it an heirloom for generations to come.
Step 1 – Determining the Metal
Treatment for solid brass and brass plating is going to be very different. Solid brass can withstand acid cleaning and brass polishing but a brass coated metal will change color and look like copper. The easiest way to find out is to use a magnet, if it sticks then it is a brass plated metal. But sometimes the plating can be on a non magnetic metal. To be sure use a knife in a region which is not visible and press down. If there is a yellow scratch then the metal is brass, otherwise it can be any other metal.
Step 2 – Cleaning Away Dirt and Debris
First thing first, remove any dust from your furniture. Remove and solids such as caked mud. Use a small brush if you have to in hard to reach places such as carvings, etc.
Step 3 – Cleaning With Soap Solution
Once the dry cleaning is done, prepare a soft soap solution in lukewarm water. Use a soft cloth and go over your brass antique furniture. The solution can be made from dish washing detergent or hand soap, just make sure that they are not the kind with lotion in them. Dry the brass immediately.
Step 4 – Wiping with Lemon Juice/ Vinegar Solution
For tougher, hard to remove spots or discoloration can be removed by using a mildly acidic solution. For this you can mix either lemon juice or vinegar in water by a ratio of 1 to 9 (i.e. nine parts of water to one part acid). Rub the solution on to the brass using a cloth until the discoloration is reduced or the spots removed. If your antique furniture has wooden parts, avoid contact of acid with wood.
Once you are done use a cloth soaked in plain water, with the excess wrung out, to remove any remains of the acid solution. If the solution is left in contact with brass for a long time it can cause damage to lacquered brass and non lacquered brass will discharge copper. Another important tip is that not to use mild acid solution on your brass on a weekly basis. You can polish it regularly but keep the acid cleaning for once or twice a season.
Step 5 – Polishing the Brass
To finish off use brass polish to shine your brass. You can add a lacquer layer to it if you want. Usually polishing well will give you the desired look. If your furniture is brass plated instead of solid brass, go for a regular metal polish instead of brass polish. These polishes come with their own instructions, read them before applying. Avoid contact of the polish with any other material.