How to Clean Lacquered Brass

Updated February 21, 2017

Lacquered brass is easy to care for because of the protective coating the lacquer provides. It prevents tarnish and oxidisation, and keeps the brass shiny. Improper cleaning, however, can damage the lacquer, causing it to flake or chip away. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners and use non-abrasive cloths. Gentle cleaning and a good polishing will help keep the protective lacquer coating in good condition for many years.

Mix about 1/4 a capful of gentle laundry detergent in warm water.

Moisten a soft cloth in the cleaning mixture.

Wipe down the brass piece, rubbing in gentle circles. Do not scrub hard. If scrubbing is needed, repeat the process gently, dipping the rag and rubbing the soiled spot over and over again until it is removed.

Dip a cotton swab or cotton ball in the cleaning solution.

Clean any crevices or areas that can't be reached with a cloth using the cotton swab or cotton ball.

Dry the brass piece thoroughly using a clean rag. Don't wait too long to dry it, or you could end up with water spots on the piece.

Rub a very thin layer of wax on the brass piece using a clean, dry cloth.

Wipe the wax away and polish the brass piece by rubbing in light, gentle circles with a clean cloth.


Use an old T-shirt or an old pair of socks to clean the brass.


Don't chip away at loose edges of lacquer unless you plan on stripping and relacquering the whole piece.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cotton cloths
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Woolite or other gentle detergent
  • Polymer-based wax


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