Brass is a metal alloy made from copper and zinc. The gold tones of brass hardware are often paired with dark, weathered and deep stains on antique furniture. Brass tends to corrode or tarnish with age, so it often is coated with clear lacquer to protect it while letting its beauty show through. Sometimes brass hardware has been painted. When the lustre of brass has dimmed, or you want to remove paint from its surface, its colour and texture can be restored with proper cleaning and polishing.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Warm water
- Liquid dish detergent
- Protective gloves
- Plastic scrub brush
- Paint stripper
- Two clean, dry rags
- Paint scraper
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Mixing bowl
Remove the brass hardware from your piece of furniture, using a screwdriver.
Fill a washtub 2/3 full with hot water and add six drops of liquid dish detergent. Put on your protective gloves. Scrub the hardware in the soapy water using a plastic scrub brush. Remove as much of the dirt and grime as possible.
Rinse the brass hardware with water after scrubbing. Let it dry for at least three hours.
Apply paint stripper on all parts of the hardware, using a clean rag. Let the stripper sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Scrape a small area of the hardware with your paint scraper to see if the stripper is done working. If you can strip the finish down to metal, the stripper is done. If not, apply more paint stripper and wait for another five minutes, then strip off the finish. Rinse the hardware with warm water after stripping.
Combine your baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Use your tablespoon to mix the ingredients until it forms a thick paste.
Dip a clean, dry rag into the paste. Apply it to the brass hardware to polish it, using gentle pressure and circular motions.
Rinse the hardware thoroughly with clean, warm water. Check crevices and joints to make sure all the paste is removed. Wipe the hardware with a dry towel.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure that you wipe all parts of the brass hardware dry after the entire restoration process to prevent the formation of water spots.
- Do not strip brass-plated pieces, as it may discolour the hardware.
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