When it comes to home décor, brass accents are a hot trend right now. From light fixtures to hardware on cabinets and cupboards, as well as many other small details around the house, brass accents can add an elegant, vintage feel to any space. But what most people don’t know is that having brass in your home also requires special care. This type of metal is especially prone to developing a yellowish tint known as “oxidation.” Meaning, it easily gets stained or discolored over time from exposure to moisture, oils and chemicals. Therefore, if you have brass in your home or are considering adding some accent pieces with this material soon, we offer some helpful tips on how to clean brass.
What You Need To Know Before Cleaning Brass
While we covered the differences between brass and copper above, there are a few other things you should know before cleaning brass: – It can be mildly toxic – Like copper, brass is mildly toxic. However, since it’s more commonly used in home décor, it’s more likely to be exposed to children and pets, which can result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, and skin irritation. – Not ideal for everyone – While brass looks great and can make a beautiful statement in any room, it isn’t ideal for everyone. It can stain easily with water, chemicals and oils, which can make it a real challenge to maintain and clean. Therefore, if you or a loved one has sensitive skin or is at high risk for allergies, it’s best to steer clear of brass as an accent piece. – Exposure to water can be damaging – Brass is a very soft metal, which means it’s easy to scratch and dent. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using it for items that are exposed to water or high-traffic, like shower heads and faucets. – Can be cleaned or polished – With the appropriate techniques, brass can be cleaned or polished to a beautiful finish.
Step 1: Identify the Type of Brass
The first step to cleaning brass is to identify the type of brass you have. This can help you choose the best cleaning method for your particular piece. – Copper – Copper is a softer metal compared to brass, which means it can be easily scratched. It’s most often mixed with other metals, like bronze, to create a more durable finish. – Bronze – Bronze is the most common type of brass. It’s a combination of copper and zinc and can be found in many items, including door knobs, light fixtures and accessories. – Gunmetal – Gunmetal is a variation of brass that’s composed of copper, tin and silver. It’s a dark, matte finish that’s commonly used for decorative items like paperweights, candle holders, jewelry and other small accent pieces.
Step 2: Use Baking Soda & Dish Soap
If the item is not extremely valuable, you can use baking soda and dish soap to clean it. Simply sprinkle some baking soda on a damp cloth and rub it over the brass. Then, wipe it clean with another damp cloth that has dish soap on it. For items that are extremely valuable, we recommend using a brass cleaning product. You can find them at most hardware stores or online.
Step 3: Try Vinegar & Salt
To clean brass, mix together equal parts white vinegar and water, along with a generous amount of salt. Vinegar is a great cleaner, and salt is an abrasive that can help remove stubborn stains. First, sprinkle salt on a soft cloth. Then, dip the cloth in the vinegar/water mixture and rub it over the brass. The salt will help remove any stubborn stains, and the vinegar will act as a gentle cleaner to wipe it clean.
Step 4: Try Rubbing Alcohol
If the item is not extremely valuable, try using rubbing alcohol to clean it. Simply pour some rubbing alcohol into a bowl or cup, then dip a soft cloth in it and rub it over the brass. The alcohol will act as a solvent to break down any build-up on the surface of the brass. Then, it can be wiped clean with a fresh, dry cloth. For items that are extremely valuable, we recommend using a brass cleaning product. You can find them at most hardware stores or online.
Step 5: Conclusion
Brass is a beautiful, durable metal that can add a warm, vintage feel to any room. While it can be a great choice for many décor items and accessories, it’s important to know that it requires special care to prevent yellowing and build-up. With the right cleaning techniques, you can easily clean brass and keep it looking great for years to come.