How To Clean Brass Using WD-40

Brass accents can be a bold and beautiful addition to the home, adding a pop of warm color that's uniquely different from the standard cool finish of stainless steel or silver. Like with gold accents, brass offers an inviting glow to a space and can help tie a room together with an antique or contemporary aesthetic. However, when incorporating brass items into your home, it's important to know that it requires regular upkeep, unlike gold, as its finish will naturally tarnish over time. While some may prefer the greenish hue of tarnished brass, it is still important to clean your brass pieces and WD-40 is something you likely already have at home that can make cleaning and polishing your brass items quick and simple.

Successfully cleaning brass using WD-40 is simple and can restore the shine to your items. To begin, coat your brass item with WD-40 and allow it to set for 15-30 minutes. After the allotted time, gently clean the item by using a dry cloth to remove the dirt, grime, or tarnish from the surface. With your cloth, shine the item, rubbing the WD-40 into the brass finish in a circular motion. Not only will this process clean your item, but it will also leave a shiny, polished finish on the exterior.

Why WD-40 works so well

Though there are a number of methods for cleaning and polishing brass items that reportedly work well, WD-40's chemical makeup makes it particularly effective at restoring the warm glow to your items. Made from a mixture of lubricating oils, WD-40 is specifically designed to lubricate and protect metal surfaces. When used on brass, it serves multiple purposes: the oils help to loosen grime and dirt, making it easier to wipe away, while also leaving a thin protective layer that helps prevent future tarnishing. Additionally, the product contains solvents that aid in breaking down tougher residues, further facilitating the cleaning process. 

While using WD-40 is a great option for cleaning and polishing your brass fixtures, accents, and items, it is only recommended to use it on true brass items. Using WD-40 on items that are not pure brass can damage the finish of the exterior. Sometimes, items are simply painted or stained to look like they are brass, but are in fact made of a blend of other metals. To test whether your item is pure brass and a good candidate for a WD-40 cleaning, all you'll need is a magnet. True brass is not magnetic. If your magnet adheres to the surface of your "brass" item, then it's not pure brass. If this is the case, you should avoid using WD-40 to clean or polish this item and resort to another gentle method of cleaning, such as soap and water.