Polished vs Lacquered Brass? Brass 101 - here are easy tips and tricks to clean, polish, and maintain brass.
Refresh your stocking hangers, wreath hangers and trivets each holiday season with a quick wash in hot water using Wright's copper cream found in most hardware or grocery stores. Gently dry using a very old, soft cloth to prevent scratching the brass. Followed by a quick once over with any good metal polish, and your Jefferson Brass products will sparkle like new! No need to do anything with the lacquered ones other than wipe them with a clean soft cloth. Do Not polish lacquered brass as it will break down the protective coating. How to tell if you have lacquered or polished pieces? Apply a tiny amount of polish in a small area, and if the cloth turns black after gentle rubbing, your brass is polished. and you can begin the annual cleaning.
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:
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.