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How to Protect Brass

Brass, a combination of copper and zinc, can oxidize and tarnish. This dulls the look of a piece and can cause irreparable damage if not treated. Follow these steps to main your brass furnishings.

Remove the old lacquer by using a paint stripper. Acetone works well. Be sure you follow all directions on the container and work in a ventilated space.

Check the tarnishing. If your piece isn't very tarnished, regular tarnish removers from the grocery store or hardware store should do. You can use lemon juice and salt to remove small amounts of tarnish. Rinse off the tarnish removers with soap and water when you finish.

For severely tarnished brass, you will need a chemical kit. Apply a neutralizing agent and clean the brass with mild soap and water several times to be sure there is no residue left.

Dry and buff your brass. A jeweler's cloth is gentle and non-abrasive. Your brass should sparkle again.

Apply 3-4 layers of a UV-resistant clear lacquer or high-gloss urethane. Let the brass dry and buff it between coats.

Things You Will Need

  • Well-ventilated space
  • Paint stripper
  • Tarnish remover
  • Soap and water
  • Soft cloth
  • Clear lacquer

Tips

  • Brass subjected to the elements is likely to need more frequent care than indoor brass.
  • Recoat your brass about once a year or so.

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