DIY Sarah

Craft, Decor, Art, Garden, and Dessert

How to Polish Brass


Step one,

soak and scrub in a hot, soapy water solution.


Step Two

Then soak in a vinegar, salt, and water solution. The piece will come out kind of red-ish. I had to soak in 2 stages in order to get the whole lamp done.


Step Three

After the lamp came out all red looking, I took a cotton rag (old t-shirt or sock) and used this metal polish to restore the shine.


Here you can see one side is polished and the other isn’t. It shines up so nicely from the red color.


And ta-da, the once brown lamp is brass once again.

A few tips:

  • I used about a quart of vinegar for 2 gallons of water
  • Really hot (boiling) water worked much better/faster.  I think the hot water is key.
  • Check your polish to ensure it leaves a silicone residue to protect the finish.  Otherwise you will have to use a wax or silicone tarnish prevention sealer

Other Methods:

I tried several methods to remove the tarnish and the soaking in a salty vinegar solution really worked the best.
1) The ketchup method:


Things got sticky and ketchup is basically just vinegar and salt anyways.

2) Baking soda and lemon juice
It fizzes a lot so be careful. The baking soda gives a good amount of grit to scrub with without harming the brass but scrubbing is way more difficult than soaking. I used the post-fizz paste on a toothbrush to get into the groves which was useful on some other brass pieces with deep groves.

Advice, antiques, Revamp
  1. 6/20/2013 | 5:24 pm Permalink

    Don’t mind the backdrop of our half finished kitchen, and ugly backdoor.

    • 6/21/2013 | 10:01 am Permalink

      yeah..also the ugly pictures because there isn’t enough light in the kitchen at night… We’ll get there 🙂