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How to Refinish Antique Brass Beds

Lisa East Hunter

Antique brass looks best when it is polished to its original shine. Unfortunately, brass requires a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good. Polishing antique brass can be chore, one that some brass owners prefer to leave to professional restoration companies.

If you feel brave enough to tackle the project of refinishing your tarnished brass bed, you'll need some simple tools combined with elbow grease.

  1. Remove the old lacquer with paint stripper. Apply the paint stripper with a good quality paint brush and allow it to sit on the surface of the brass bed according to manufacturer's instructions, usually five to10 minutes.

  2. Rub the paint thinner into the surface of the brass using steel wool. Apply gentle pressure and work in a circular motion. Use extra-fine-grade steel wool to avoid harming the antique brass.

  3. Remove the paint stripper with water and damp rags. The paint stripper should be completely removed from the surface of the brass.

  4. Apply good quality brass polish in a circular motion. You will see the polish beginning to work. Continue applying polish until all traces of tarnish are removed.

  5. Buff the antique brass bed using clean rags. Rub until the surface is returned to its original shine.

  6. Protect the antique brass by applying either good quality wax or a polyurethane coating. If choosing wax, apply multiple coats to provide adequate protection. Polyurethane can also be applied to the brass surface for similar protection.

  7. Warning

    These stripping, polishing and resealing methods are intended for solid brass. If you suspect that your bed may be brass plated, consult a professional to find out before proceeding.