How to Remove Corrosion From Brass

Brass is a metal alloy made from a mixture of copper and zinc. Known for its soft golden color, it is an affordable alternative to gold itself, and is used to make products ranging from musical instruments to jewelry. In the home, brass can be found in items such as lamps, hardware and decorative metal trim. Over time, brass tends to build up a black coating called "tarnish." Tarnish is a type of rusting, or corrosion, that is caused by exposure to the air. Fortunately, it is simple to remove this corrosion using readily available household products.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag or towel
  • Paint stripper
  • Fine steel wool (0000)
  • Mild detergent
  • Brass cleaner
  • Polishing cloth

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Disassemble the item as much as possible to make it easier to reach joints and closed spaces. This will enable a more thorough cleaning.

Remove any old wax or polish coatings using a rag and paint stripper . Apply a small amount of paint stripper to the rag and gently rub it onto the brass object. This coating must be removed before the corrosion under the seal can be removed.

Use fine steel wool to remove any corrosion from the brass. Scrub the surface of the item with steel wool until until all rust and corrosion are gone.

Use water and a mild detergent to remove any remaining residue from the item. Dip a rag into the water-and-detergent mixture and use it to clean the item thoroughly. Use another rag or a towel to dry the object before proceeding.

Apply a small amount of brass cleaner to a polishing cloth and wipe it over the surface of the brass. The brass cleaner provides a seal to prevent future corrosion and damage to the item.

Tips & Warnings

  • When using paint stripper, it is important to work in a well-ventilated area to protect your health.
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