How to Clean Brass Bathroom Fixtures

Updated February 21, 2017

Brass bathroom fixtures look fantastic, but over time they can become tarnished and difficult to clean. Brass tarnishes easily when exposed to the air, therefore most brass bathroom fixtures have a layer of lacquer on them for protection. Cleaning brass bathroom fixtures frequently is the key to maintaining the fixtures and preventing damage. Once damaged or severely tarnished, brass fixtures must be repaired by a professional in order to restore them to their original condition. If the fixture's lacquer appears to have damage, consider a professional cleaning before attempting to repair the fixture at home.

Wipe the brass fixtures with a soft cloth dampened with mild soapy water. Mild soaps to use include dish detergents or gentle hand soaps (without added lotions).

Remove any stubborn spots or build-up from the brass fixtures with a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice. Dilute the vinegar in a small amount of water before applying it to the bathroom fixture.

Rinse the fixtures with cool water after using vinegar or lemon to prevent damaging the fixture's lacquer. Wipe the fixture dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.

Test any brass polish on an inconspicuous area of the fixture to assure the polish will not damage the lacquer. Not all fixtures require regular polishing, as the polish may damage the protective lacquer layer.

Polish fixtures with brass polish tested in Step four, or with a polish suggested in the fixture manufacturer's cleaning instructions.


To determine if a bathroom fixture is made of brass, place a magnet against the fixture. If the magnet sticks to the fixture, then that fixture is not brass. Brass is not magnetic. Make a habit of wiping brass bathroom fixtures with a soft cloth often, preferably daily. This will help prevent stains and build-up on the fixtures, and reduce the chance that the fixture's finish will become damaged. Consult the manufacture regarding cleaning instructions for your specific style and model of bathroom fixture.


Never use abrasives or harsh cleaners on brass fixtures, as they could badly damage the finish. Test any cleaner on a hidden portion of the fixture before using it for cleaning to assure it will not damage the fixture. Do not use ammonia, rubbing alcohol or silver polish on brass fixtures, as these chemicals may also damage brass fixtures.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Dish soap, hand soap or other mild soap
  • Vinegar or lemon
  • Brass polish
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