Brass 101, Brass Care -

Brass Cleaning Tips

Clean Brass

All brass that does not have a varnish/lacquer must be polished from time to time, just like fine silver. It is a simple process that should not be a deterrent from buying unlacquered brass. Jefferson Brass Company has traditionally never lacquered its brass products until now. Instead they enthusiastically promoted a "living finish," which allows you to polish when you want a high gloss look, or not polish when you want a more aged/antique look. When you buy a piece of Jefferson Brass and chose polished as the finish, it is unlacquered, which means that it will require you to clean the brass from time to time to maintain its brilliant shine. Depending on the piece and how much it is handled, you can tell when it needs polishing because its original glow will begin to turn an aged, golden color. How to clean brass:

  1. Buy the best metal polish your local hardware store has to offer. Products we have used and like very much are Cape Cod, Wenol, and Wrights Copper Cream. That's right--copper cream! There is a high copper content in each Jefferson Brass piece. We find that most metal polish suitable for brass is excellent. The key to easy brass cleaning is to buy the best on the market. It makes your life much easier, will last longer, and you will love the rich patina that only freshly polished brass affords.
  2. Use an old soft cotton tee-shirt and follow the directions on the bottle of polish.
  3. Buff dry with a clean cloth, again using an old soft cotton tee-shirt because brass is soft and will scratch.
  4. To remove candle wax, soften accumulated wax with hot tap water, remove the wax with a soft sponge, cloth, or fingernail, and clean with warm soapy water.

Indoor pieces that are not handled often will need polishing 3-4 times a year depending on the atmospheric conditions in your area. Exterior pieces, like door knockers, will need polishing every month to keep them in the bright, high gloss condition you received them.

A question that we often hear is, “How can I tell if my existing brass in my home is lacquered?” Simple. Using a soft cloth, apply metal polish to a section of the piece. If the cloth turns dark/black after rubbing, your piece is unlacquered, and you can proceed with polishing. If there is no color on the cloth, stop! You do not want to polish lacquered brass because chemicals in the polish can break down the temporary protective coating.

1 comment

  • Marthann

    Love Wright’s Copper Cream for my collection of old copper pots & pans. I also use it on the bottoms of Revereware we got as wedding gofts 37 years ago. They look brand new!

    I wonder if I can use it on old, unvarnished brass candlesticks?

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