How to Tarnish Brass Hardware


Brass hardware adds a classy and cozy feel to any establishment. Unless, of course, it's bright, cheesy and chintzy-looking. That doesn't have to be the case. You can tarnish brass hardware with a simple remedy and turn your place from cheesy to cozy in a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Brass darkening solution (see Resources) Soft cloth Rubber gloves Newspaper Container, bucket or spray bottle
  • Remove and clean the hardware. Unscrew any knobs, hinges, pulls or whatever other brass items you wish to tarnish. Rub off any smudges, dirt and fingerprints with a damp cloth. Place the hardware on a piece of newspaper or other protective surface in a well-ventilated area.

  • Apply the brass darkening solution by soaking. Pour a small amount of the solution into a small container or bottom of the bucket, enough to cover any hardware you wish to soak in it. Soak the hardware, using gloves to extract the pieces after a few minutes to check on the progress. The longer you leave it soaking, the darker the tarnish will become.

  • Apply the solution with a saturated cloth. Dab a small amount of the solution on a soft cloth and rub on the hardware. Again, the more you apply, the darker the hardware will become. Start sparingly.

  • Spray it on. Special care should be taken if you wish to spray the solution on the hardware. Wear a surgical mask and definitely go outdoors and upwind. Fill a spray bottle with a bit of the solution and spray it on the hardware as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pick the method that works best for you. Do not use all the methods on a single piece of hardware or you will end up with a messy black blob. This solution works best for brass that is not covered in a lacquer. If a piece is covered in lacquer, soak the piece in a lacquer thinner and use a fine grain sandpaper or scouring pad to rub the lacquer off. This will make the surface more receptive to the brass darkening solution.
  • Make sure you want tarnished brass before you begin. You cannot reverse this process. Do not drink the brass darkening solution.

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  • Photo Credit Photo by Ryn Gargulinski
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