How To Make Your Own Copper And Brass Polish

Copper and brass are two wonderful metals to include around your home. Unlike steel, they help provide color and warmth to a room, adding more interest. They can be used anywhere in the home, from lamp bases, door knobs, hinges, decorative items, faucets, and even larger installations like kitchen sinks.

The tricky part of these metals is keeping them clean and polished. The main benefit of stainless steel is just that — it's stainless, and won't tarnish or get spotty. Copper and brass, on the other hand, are almost guaranteed to do both of those things. There are plenty of products made for polishing them to perfection, but these can get expensive over time. Plus, if you run out, you don't want to be left with dirty hardware in a pinch. No need to look for fancy specialty products — you can make your own copper and brass polish with a few simple materials from your kitchen cabinets.

Natural acids

There are a variety of brass and copper cleaning methods that don't require chemicals or store-bought cleaners, and some of them are as simple as one ingredient. The green color on the metals can be removed with acids like lemon juice. If the tarnish isn't that bad, just dip a cloth in some lemon juice and give it a firm polish.

If you want a bit more cleaning power, you could also combine the lemon juice with salt. All you have to do is heavily salt the flesh of a cut lemon, and rub it onto the tarnished brass or copper. The salt adds some grit and scratchiness, but not so much that it'll mark whatever you're cleaning, instead gently buffing out the tarnish — just be careful not to rub too hard. You could also mix lemon juice with baking soda in a one-to-one ratio until it forms a thick paste, which you can rub on with a rag. Let this sit for no more than 10 minutes, and wash it away with water.

White distilled vinegar on its own is also acidic enough to eat through the tarnish, but it takes a bit more time. For this method, simply soak the brass or copper item in question in a bath of white vinegar for a few hours, or overnight, and rinse clean with water.

Salt, flour, and vinegar

A popular method for cleaning more heavily tarnished copper and brass also uses salt and white distilled vinegar, along with all-purpose flour. As with the previous methods, the salt and vinegar are acidic and abrasive, which works to remove the tarnish. However, those two ingredients on their own need to be scrubbed on, which risks scratching the item in question, and can be time-consuming if there's a lot of tarnish. The flour helps bind it into a paste you can let sit on the brass or copper.

For this method, simply combine one part of each ingredient until you get a spreadable paste. Spread this onto the tarnished item, leaving it for roughly an hour. Next, give the paste a gentle scrub, rinse it with water, and dry it with a cloth. If you want a simpler version of this hack, you can try tomato paste or ketchup, which also contains plenty of natural acid.