What Is Brushed Brass?

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Brass is a type of metal. It is used in many everyday products, from door knobs to gun casings to musical instruments. Understanding what brushed brass is and how to clean it is important basic information that everyone should know if they are considering a brass product for their home.

Identification: Brass

Brass is a combination of copper, zinc and, in many cases, lead. Its color can range from a dark red brown to a silvery and light shade of yellow. Color is dependent on the amount of zinc present, with lighter shades indicating more zinc. Solid brass can be found in antique items, but today is rarely made. Many products today consist of a base metal, such as lead, coated with brass. The brass is then either polished or given a textured appearance before being sent to companies for distribution and sale.

Brushed Brass

To give brass a brushed appearance, tools and machinery are used to create a pattern of very fine lines either vertically or horizontally. Many products are then sealed with a protective coating to prevent wear and tear. However, no finish lasts forever, and eventually, the brushed finish can become damaged.

Products

There are several products that use brushed brass finishes. Everyday products include light fixtures and plumbing fixtures. Brass is also commonly used in musical instruments, door knobs, plumbing pipes, screws, firearm cartridge casings and architectural trim, though many of these would not have a brushed finish.

Care for Brushed Brass

Whether the finish is brushed or polished, all brass needs to be cleaned at some point. Products that feature an antique brass finish should not be cleaned using abrasive cleaners, as these will cause scratches in the surface of the finish. Polished brasses and lacquered brasses should be cleaned using water and a soft cloth, because solvent-based or abrasive cleaners will damage the finish. Polished but unlacquered brasses are high-maintenance, and abrasive cleaners will cause scratches. Over time, unlacquered brasses will develop a tarnish.

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