When antique brass is exposed to air, it oxidises and causes the surface to tarnish. Handling brass can also cause a build up of grease, grime and dirt. Antique brass should be treated with care because cleaning it with abrasive materials or harsh chemicals can cause it to blacken. You should used gentle methods to clean antique brass and avoid ammonia-based substances. Do not soak antique brass in any caustic solutions, as this may remove any engraving.
Tip 1 - Soap and Water
Use a soft cloth with hot soapy water to clean off dirt. Wear rubber gloves when you are cleaning to protect yourself from hot water. Do not use steel wool or a scouring pad, as this may damage the brass.
Tip 2 – Yogurt
Yogurt is a natural cleaning agent that will remove grease. Coat the brass item in yogurt and set it aside for a few minutes. Remove the yogurt with warm water and a woollen cloth.
Tip 3 – Ketchup
Ketchup is a mild acidic sauce which contains vinegar, making it ideal for cleaning antique brass. Coat the item in ketchup and leave for a few minutes. You may wish to rub ketchup into any areas that have a great build up of dirt. Remove the ketchup with a soft cloth and warm water.
Tip 4 - Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has a low PH, which makes it an effective cleaning agent. Rub the surface of the antique brass gently with a little lemon juice and a soft cloth. Make sure you rinse the item well after as lemon juice is acidic and can corrode delicate items.