How to Remove Brass Lacquer

Updated February 21, 2017

Lacquer is a protective coating that keeps your brass utensils, faucets and other items from tarnishing and deteriorating. The substance is clear and applied with a brush or cloth. Lacquer doesn't last forever and eventually starts to break down, especially if the brass item is not kept dry. Before applying a new coat of lacquer, remove the old lacquer and clean the brass object's surface. If you don't remove the old lacquer, the new coating won't adhere properly.

Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda and 1 qt. of water in a pot. Place the pot on a stove or hotplate burner.

Bring the pot to a boil. Use tongs to place the brass item in the boiling water. If the item is too large to fit, only place half of the item in the boiling water. Let the item sit in the water for 15 minutes. The lacquer coating will start to peel off. If removing lacquer from a large item, submerge the other side of the item in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Rinse the item with hot water from a sink.

Apply 2 tbsp of acetone to a cotton or wool scrub pad. Scrub the brass item with the pad to remove any stubborn lacquer coating.

Dry the item with a soft cloth or rag.


You can also use a commercial lacquer remover to remove the lacquer coating from your brass items. Apply 2 to 3 tbsp of remover to a cotton or wool scrub pad. Scrub the brass item thoroughly. Use cotton swabs to remove lacquer from small crevices. Wear latex gloves to keep your hands dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Pot
  • Stove or hotplate
  • Tongs
  • 3 soft cloths or rags
  • Acetone
  • Cotton or wool scrub pad
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.