The 5 Best Ways To Clean Brass Hardware

If you identify as a bon vivant, exquisite decor definitely tops your list of must-haves and, more specifically, brass items. If the theme is Victorian, vintage, or even classic contemporary, brass hardware is the perfect taste. In fact, we dare say that it speaks volumes about your taste. Now, not only does brass hardware set you apart and work as eye candy in your space, but brass items are also durable enough to last ages (via Airy Kitchens).

Notwithstanding the praises we just listed out, they do go through wear and tear, even much faster without proper maintenance. If you use brass hardware for frequently used items like door handles, kitchen utensils, cabinet handles, and the like, cleaning them at least twice a week or immediately after use for the hardware that applies should be your top priority. But the tricky part with brass hardware is that the good old combo of soap and water would not always get the tarnish off. And, if you apply force, you also risk scratching off the topmost layer and ruining the whole design, says Popular Mechanics. Now that you're in a fix, how do you clean brass hardware? Well, not to worry, today, we will be sharing a collection of the top tested and proven methods of cleaning brass hardware.

1. Rub hardware with lemon juice and baking soda

Lemon and baking soda are quite popular in the baking and cooking niche. However, not only do they work well in your batter mixes and drinks, but they are also excellent products for restoring your hardware's sheen, says GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning. According to Live Science, baking soda contains a mild alkaline substance that melts grease and rust easily, while lemon contains high acidic contents. This mixture will tear down every anomaly on your brass hardware. So, grab a lemon and some baking soda for this process.

Start by measuring a quarter cup of baking soda and a half cup of lemon juice. Mix thoroughly to make a thick paste. With a soft brush (or toothbrush), apply the mix over the solid brass hardware and leave for 30 minutes before wiping off. This will create enough time for the mixture to penetrate and melt the stubborn dirt (via Clean Heart Maids). It's important to keep a close eye on your hardware and wash off the mix completely because the acidic content may affect the shine you want after. For an even better sheen, apply some olive oil using a soft cloth or a microfiber towel. 

Don't have some baking soda around? A good alternative is applying salt on the lemon cut, says Ricca's Demolishing Corp. Rub the lemon-salt flesh on the brass hardware and repeat the techniques above to get the tough stains off.

2. Clean with some tomato ketchup

Did you know ketchup could also clean your brass hardware? Sounds credulous but according to Country Living, tomatoes and ketchup contain a mild acidic content that works to remove dirt and tarnish on brass hardware. Let's put this to the test, shall we?

Pour some good-quality ketchup into a bowl. This will help you work faster, reduce wastage and, of course, simplify the process for you (via Tips Bulletin). Then, gently apply a generous amount of the ketchup to the hardware using a soft microfiber cloth. Be wary of any abrasives or hard sponges because they'll scratch the surface of your hardware, says Royal Sprout. We'd advise you to work in bits, paying special attention to the corners before moving to another area or piece. A good way to get through the corners is by using a toothbrush during application. Once the ketchup has covered all parts of the hardware, leave it to sit in for about half an hour. To clean off, slowly wipe away the ketchup from the hardware surface using a soft cloth or towel.

3. Clean with toothpaste

Applying toothpaste to your brass is one of the best ways to restore its look. According to Martha Stewart, the whitening agent in toothpaste could help restore your brass to its brilliant shine. But of course, not just any toothpaste would do. Try picking out gel-based toothpaste to avoid abrasions on your brass hardware. To get started, Instructables recommends washing the brass hardware with mild soap and water. This will prepare the surface for the toothpaste addition. Thereafter, dry thoroughly with a clean towel. 

Following this process, take out a large quantity of toothpaste and apply it to your brass using a soft cloth. Leave to sit in for 10 to 15 minutes to get the dirt and tarnish off the surface. Then, rinse off thoroughly with a soft wet cloth. It is quite important because the residue will stick to the brass and may be difficult to remove when dry. 

If the stains are still obvious, repeat the process and apply a little more pressure this time to get rid of them from your brass. Clean off your brass surface with a clean towel to see your hardware looking all radiant again.

4. Clean with yogurt

Got some spare plain yogurt in your fridge? According to the experts at Kitchn, plain yogurt contains a high amount of lactic acid that melts down the tarnish and makes it easier for you to clean off with a wipe.

Apply a generous amount of yogurt to your brass piece using a cloth or brush. Cover up the entire piece with the yogurt to allow an even finish after the process, then leave your brass to soak for 3 to 4 hours. This will leave the yogurt completely dry on the brass surface. Rinse the yogurt from the brass under running tap water and clean it with a dry cloth. That's it; you will have the brass shining once again.

If you're out of yogurt, another go-to drink that'll restore your hardware is Coca-Cola. The internet is raving with different Coca-Cola cleaning hacks, and applying brass hardware is one of them, per Airtasker Blog. According to Vintage Cash Cow, carbonated drinks generally contain a quantity of carbonic, phosphoric, and citric acid, which work well in removing rusts and dirt. Apply the cola on the brass surface using a cloth or by soaking it in (if it's quite small and detachable), writes Mano Mano. Leave it sitting in the Coca-Cola for a while before rinsing off (you'll be wowed at the result).

5. Apply salt, flour, and vinegar mix to the hardware

Our last recommendation would be a triple dose of cleaning agents, which is a surefire way to get the job done. Vinegar is quite rich in acid, while salt is a good abrasive (via LifeHacker). Thoroughly dissolve equal parts salt in the vinegar while stirring continuously in a bucket, says Fantastic Cleaners. Add some flour and mix all three ingredients before applying them to your hardware surface. It may get a little messy here, but ensure all the surface is well-covered. Insert the hardware in the bucket and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Then wipe totally dry with a soft cloth to restore its shine, writes the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Alternatively, you could also boil up the vinegar in a stainless pot, writes Love to Know. Leave to cool a bit before inserting the hardware into the warm vinegar. Leave to sit in as well and remove after a while, and ta-da!