How to Clean Brass Plates


You might not polish the brass of a sinking ship, to use an old colloquialism, but you sure do polish the brass around the house if you want that detail-oriented pop. To do so, you have your pick of chemical-based and all-natural cleaning methods. Despite different approaches, both methods cater to non-lacquered brass.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft-bristled brush or paintbrush with natural fibers
  • Ammonia-based household cleaner in spray bottle
  • Nonabrasive cleaning cloths
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Ketchup, vinegar and salt or lemon juice

The Solvent Solution

  • Gently brush the surface of the unlacquered brass plate with a soft-bristled cleaning brush or paintbrush with natural fibers to remove dust and loosen debris.

  • Spray a few spritzes of ammonia-based household cleaner such as window cleaner onto a soft, clean, dry cloth. Gently rub the surface of the brass plate in a circular motion while applying very light pressure.

  • Rinse the plate under clean warm water and dry it very thoroughly with another clean, soft, nonabrasive cloth. Make sure the plate is entirely dry or you risk tarnish and discoloration.

Au Naturale

  • Brush the surface of the plate as you would with the ammonia method, then submerge it in a solution of warm water and mild dish detergent. Wipe the plate down as you would a dinner dish, then give it a quick dry.

  • Apply your choice of ketchup, an equal mix of salt and vinegar, or pure lemon juice to a clean, nonabrasive cloth to dampen it, then coat the brass with the solution.

  • Remove the homemade cleaner with a fresh, soft cloth, using a low-pressure buffing motion. Give the brass plate a once-over with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Dry it thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth.

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